Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Deceptively Simple Guide to Pickling

It's been hard to keep this blog here at Kushi. When you're eating, sleeping, and breathing macrobiotics, at the end of the day, the hardest thing is to sit down and consider... "What's missing? It must be MORE MACROBIOTICS!"

One thing I set out to learn was how to pickle. May says I eat so many pickles, I'm going to pickle myself. She's probably right. I'm mummifying myself with every slice of briny daikon. Forever young, I want to be forever young...

When we pickle here, we don't use cucumbers. Here are some of the things we pickle:

broccoli stems ++ daikon radish ++ onion slivers ++ cabbage slices

To pickle, slice into matchsticks or THIN slivers (as thin as you can get them).

If you plan on making umeboshi vinegar pickles, do a salt rub... about 2-3 tsp for a 2-3 quart batch.

Submerge in a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part fermented pickling mixture. These include:

shoyu ++ tamari ++ umeboshi plum vinegar

NOTE: if using tamari, I'd do maybe 3 parts water to 1/2 part tamari. For instance, 3 cups water, 1/2 cup tamari. It's much, much stronger than shoyu. If you pickles are still too salty, you can certainly do a rinse.

After thinly slicing your vegetables, submerge them completely in the liquid brining mixture. If in a hot climate, pickle 24-48 hours at room temperature. If a cold climate, 3-4 days should be good. It's very important that none of the vegetables are above the water level, as they can mold and rot in an aerobic environment. Translation: Keep them under.

After your time is up, you can store the pickles (preferably IN the brine) in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. Placing the pickles in the cold environment of the fridge slows the pickling process and keeps them from going bad.

Pickling encourages the growth of a kind of bacteria that the American diet is strongly deficient in. We eat pickles here at KI once a day, after dinner. It's the highlight of my culinary day. I hope you enjoy and have good pickling experiences!

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