Experimenting with pickling lots of other veggies besides cucumbers is a great way to take advantage of the cooler weather. Peas, radishes, carrots, hopefully some zucchinis, should they last until December. And more zucchini. Have I told any of you that I can’t get enough zucchini?
Soon the weather will permit planting garlic. In fact that time might be now. All other herbs are perking up, even the freesias have leafed out, and should stay that way all winter long. As you should be able to tell from my Climate Resources page, winter temps hover around 65 as the high and 40 the low. Tucson features winters that all gardeners would die for. Some of us even grow spring veggies like tomato in greenhouses all winter long. But that isn’t to say I’ll be doing that.
Here are a few of the recipes I’ll be using. Try them with me and we’ll compare notes!
1. How To Make Easy Pickled Vegetables (via Averie Cooks)
After adding carrots to my basic overnight garlic pickle recipe, I decided I needed to dive into the abyss of pickling, because there is 1000X more delicious food to be had besides cucumbers. This picture from Averie Cooks brilliantly exemplifies my excitement.
Averie includes a few different veggies, but I’ll be sticking with carrots. In Tucson the growing season for herbs and leafy veggies, including carrots, stretches all the way to spring. (When a freeze looms, we cover our crops.) But, there will be an abundance of beautifully colored carrots in farmers markets very soon. Don’t make them because they LOOK like fall, make them because they’ll be as delicious as this picture makes them out to be.
2. Spicy pickled radish (I prefer the naturally smokey taste of chiltepin over jalapeno) (via Tasting Table on Youtube)
This recipe excites me because it calls for 10 large radishes, and that is exactly what I have growing right now. Whether they turn up large or small, I’ll still have greens to add to pickles for that spicy radish flavor. Greens can be used for flavor, or to keep vegetables submerged below brine.
Chiltepins are super spicy and the capsaicin lingers for up to 4 hours if eaten straight. When cut in half and added to pickles, this smokey flavor permeates through everything, and the two flavors, spicy radish and tepin, will meld beautifully. When properly canned, wrap them up and give as a gift this holiday!
3. How To Make Sugar Snap Pickled Peas (via AllRecipes on Youtube)
Having never tasted a pickled snap pea, I’m raring to go make these! When it gets too cold for the zucchinis, my plan for a cover crop is peas, because legumes fix (add) nitrogen in the soil. Then, when the spoils of the plan come to fruition (there’s a pun there!), I’ll make these.
Lemon zest is a great addition, it will add a crisp flavor to compliment the tarragon. I’ll admit, limes are tempting to use, but we should all strive to go by the recipe the first time we attempt something new. When we absolutely can’t, make it work the best you can, and you might be surprised. When you’ve successfully finished there, enjoy the crunch time!
4. Spicy Squash Refrigerator Pickles (via A Farmgirl’s Dabbles)
Send what you think will help the most; prayers, good vibes, an email explicitly detailing how you hope my zucchinis will last at least until mid-December, whatever. I’ll take it! Because when it comes to pickles, my second favorite at the moment are zucchini pickles. Not too long ago I wrote a review of the pickles at Cafe Passe here in Tucson. Bear with the grainy photo, it was a pleasant surprise to me at the time, and I didn’t have a proper camera. But more the point, I have been longing to make zucchini pickles ever since.
When these are finished, I’ll finally be able to tell if the slight nuttiness of those pickles is inherent to the squash, or specifically to their recipe. Farmgirl’s recipe adds coriander, which is described (by a separate source) as having a nutty component to the flavor. You can understand my excitement at having a few zucchini’s on the plant RIGHT NOW.
Please discuss your thoughts about these recipes below. Your thoughts will help me decide what I like best about all these pickled veggies, and what we can improve on, if anything at all.