Extending the Seasons

 
 
As the summer draws to a close we say goodbye to all of the fresh, flavorful vegetables of fall and begin looking towards the deep, rich and often layered flavors of autumn and winter. If you’re not quite ready to relinquish your summer vegetables, then one of the best ways to preserve the flavors of summer during the upcoming chilly months is to pickle your fresh vegetables.
 
           Pickling is a tradition that is said to be over 4,000 years old and it arose from the need to preserve vegetables before refrigeration was available. The goal of pickling is to preserve food product by storing it in a vinegar-based solution which inhibits the growth of bacteria. Most recipes require the use of pickling spices which include mustard seed, cloves, garlic and cinnamon, all of which are also known to further inhibit the growth of bacteria.
          One of the added benefits of pickling vegetables is that it makes the already vitamin- and mineral-rich vegetables even better for you, as the pickling process adds Vitamin B to the pickled vegetables.
 
 
Pickled Vegetables:
 
Yield: 1 qt.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
 
2 pounds Fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, celery, cauliflower, red peppers, jalapenos, or pearl onions
2 ¼ cup Water
½ cup Apple cider vinegar
¼ cup Granulated white sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Sea salt
1 teaspoon Pickling spices
1 teaspoon Whole black peppercorns
8 sprigs Fresh dill
½ teaspoon Crushed red pepper
 
  1. In a sauce pan, combine water, vinegar, sea salt, sugar, pickling spice, peppercorns and crushed pepper. Bring to a simmer for five minutes.
  2. While brine is simmering, wash and dry vegetables, then cut into ¾ slices or florets.
  3. Allow the brine to completely cool after simmering, then pour the brine over the vegetables and fresh dill.
  4. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for three to four days before serving.
 
Enjoy your pickled summer vegetables as part of a healthy salad, include them in your little one’s lunch box, or simply leave them on the bar as a snack when entertaining.
 
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