Taking inspiration of summer season ending, I officially introduce (or rather re-enter *) a new section to the blog devoted to recipes for preserving food in jar and glass bottles! September is the month of the slow transition into fall and is traditionally the perfect time to start preserving food to eat it all fall and winter long. In this wide and international recipe family come all sorts of jams, jellies, chutneys, ketchups, relishes, pestos, fermented food … in short all the preparations you need to fill a jar with an element to preserve and a preservative, is that a syrup or oil, brine, salt, alcohol,vinegar… What a neverending field of investigation, right? Preserved food is also perfect for picnics and general al fresco eating: they can be prepared in advance, you open the jar and voilá! In this blog there are already a few recipe in this direction like *apricots in lavender syrup or this * Lemony ruibarb jam (perfect for spring ). You can also browse all my *pestos recipes I am been posting here.
I plan to expand the section each month and start today with this “hit” I experimented during my social eatings: Courgettes pickles, perfect for pairing a table of cheese or paté. I love pickles – huge fan, I admit, I always think it’s a shame that burgers end up almost exclusively with that famous cucumber pickles on top when there is a whole world of possibilities with this method of preservation! Also interesting match to add a kick to ham sandwiches or a green salad. Courgettes are still available in markets and in season for a relative short time yet, so I suggest trying to give a twist to your next burger with these green sticks, flavored with wild fennel! About my passion for this mediterranean herb, Foeniculum volgare, I could write another post, it is one of the most used herbs of my kitchen since years, so you can imagine my joy when, once I moved to Mallorca, I discovered that here is kind of a regional treasure (literally it grows anywhere, on the streetsides, in the fields, in the gardens …). It is a pleasure to go to any market and find giant bundles of this aromatic! When I was still living just in Madrid I always bought it and froze it to always have on hand. It matches delicious with aubergines, cabbage, pork and oily fish (which is the only I’ve been eating lately) and it gives a different touch to burgers, meatballs or croquettes. The traditional recipe for homemade pickles are flavored with dill, but I thought give a try with fennel for a Mediterranean scent.
Discover Picniquette Pickles recipe!
Pickling is a question of proportions basically, between vinegar and water, salty, sweet and hot. I tend to consider this a “personal” proportion. I also know that pickles is not for everyone. I experimented there is a lot of people who actually don’t like at all any vinegar taste…well not mee!
For preserving reasons is also extremely important that vinegar presence in each jar is at least half or two thirds of the amount of water.
For about 2 small courgettes you need a medium jar to fill with
250 ml of apple cider vinegar
125ml of natural water
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cane sugar or honey
a bunch of fresh wild fennel and its yellow flowers
10 grains of mustard seeds
10 pink peppercorns
thin slices of 1 garlic glove
optional spicy touch:
1 jalapeno or red hot chili in slices
1. Cut the zucchini for its long, rod-type (you can also cut them into slices like normal cucumber pickles)If you cut into sticks you should remove some of the seeds inside, I don’t throw it, no no no, I just upcycle them for soups or broths)
2. Boil the vinegar with water, salt, sugar or honey and spices.
3. In the meantime arrange the zucchini sticks in a jar (sterilized *), vertically to fill with fluid, like in the pics.
4. When salt and sugar are dissolved pour the liquid over the zucchini until they are submerged. Close the container, let cool in the fridge and restock. They can be eaten from the day after and stay in the fridge once opened, about a week.
* If you prepare the jar to long time-preserve follow the normal and *necessary sterilization and pasteurization processes, like for jams & co.
Pics © Picniquette