Why you should pickle and some top tips
Why did you get into pickling?
I have been something of a pickle cruncher for pretty much my entire life. Seriously, I was virtually eating pickles in the womb. Well, my Mom was – it was her biggest craving while I was snugly baking in her tummy (and crab curry apparently but that is a tale for another day). There is something about their crunch and tang that makes your tongue go all funny at the back and your cheeks sweat a little that I just love. Because of this pickle brine that runs through my very DNA, our household goes through the tangy little suckers like nobody’s business and let me tell you – great pickles don’t come cheap! This crunchy craving was seriously affecting our bottom line. Seriously, go to the supermarket and see for yourself. Daylight robbery. This is part of what makes good old fashioned pickling so damn satisfying. My entire stash of zucchini and radish pickles cost me approximately R40 and I came out with six jars, stuffed to the rim.
I have also always been into the home industries vibe. I love the idea of making my own pickles, jams, condiments and I am also pretty choosy about what I put into my bod. So many condiments these days are packed with unnecessary evils that I simply will not eat. This has made me more adventurous and industrious. There is something so therapeutic about spending a chilly winter’s day in my kitchen, chopping and boiling and bottling while my sister sits on the table next to me and tells me all her goss.
How do you choose what to pickle?
I usually just cruise down to the shops and see what’s the prettiest thing I can find and what’s in season. I usually buy a kilogram or two, then I go home and do some research on what kinds of spices and flavours I am going to marry with said beautiful fruit/veg.
Your top tips for pickling?
1. Always soak your chosen vegetable in ice water for 20 minutes before you pickle it. This stops the hot pickling liquid from over cooking the slices and making your pickles more vegetable spread than pickle.
2. Prepare all the jars before you get going. There is nothing more irritating than being ready to put all the elements together and then not having clean and sterilised jars ready and waiting.
3. There are so many ways of chopping things these days. Experiment with different shapes, sizes and textures.