It is one of the oldest methods of food preservation with over 4,000 years of history. You probably have had some form of it when eating gherkins, achat, acar, or even sauerkraut. Pickled foods are a great way to enhance a meal with those refreshing sour and savoury notes. On top of that, they work as excellent pallets cleansers.
With the pandemic still ongoing and keeping us at home longer, why not try making your own concoction of pickled goodies? At the end of the day, it’s a lot cheaper, more fun, and great for your body and the environment (if you are all about sustainable grocery shopping, do check this article out).
Allow us to break down some reasons on why you should start pickling with some tips on how to get started:
1. In a pickle?
Pickling refers to the preservation of food or other perishable items in a vinegar, brine, or similar solution (picture it as a wet version of curing). This means you can practically try it out on any type of vegetable or fruit.
Don’t like raw onions? Why not try pickled onions instead; it tastes completely different and yet very delicious. Mix it up by having some pickled goodness into your salads. Your imagination is the limit. In America, they even pickle watermelon rinds! Keep reading on and we will show you how easy and fun the pickling process is.
2. Health Benefits
It goes without saying that pickles are good for your health. After all, you are still eating fruits and vegetables. On top of that, the brine is great for hydration and reducing cramps, making it the perfect recovery drink (or a good pick me up from a hangover). Pickling with just salt and no vinegar encourages the growth of probiotics. Introducing these good bacteria into your body would result in a much healthier gut, better skin and cardiovascular health.
3. You Are What You Eat
Why would anyone want to introduce bacteria into their body? Well, there are already 40 trillion bacteria living in our gut as we speak! Don’t worry, not all of them are bad. However, what we eat greatly influences which bacteria grows more in in our body. Pickling ensures the growth of only “good” bacteria through the process of fermentation; as the protein gets broken down, lactic acid and carbon dioxide is produced, making the environment hostile for other bacteria growth. This also ensures longer shelf life for pickles.
4. What Are You Waiting For?
Pickling is so easy that all you need are the following: filtered water, salt, vinegar, jars, jars, and more jars (if you want those probiotic benefits, you can skip the vinegar). That’s it. No long lists. The only additional ingredients you need are time and creativity. As far as flavour is concerned, the usual suspects are peppercorn, thyme, and garlic.
Why stop there? You may try adding cardamom or star anise into your mixture. Glam it up with some fun slices by using slice cutters to get crazy shapes (it also has the added benefit of allowing faster absorption of brine). Depending on which recipe you follow, allow for anywhere between 2 days to a week for the pickling process to complete.
Pickling is just one of the many at home activities that would be a sure hit for any households. You may even impress your guests the next time they come over for dinner with your own special recipe. Whatever the case may be, doing it at home is great for you body and the environment (after all, our jars are dishwasher safe).