Pickled Baby Vegetables
The term ‘functional food’ is often ascribed to foods that contain added benefits that go beyond basic nutrition (I can see your ears pricking from here). So this means, for example when we’re talking about pickled vegetables, we get the nutritional benefits of the vegetables, PLUS the extra Superman benefits of fermentation. There are many versions of fermented foods across cultures, from Japanese Kimchi to French sausages. Although, with popularity and mass production, there has also come the half-hazard tendency of many companies to opt for methods that prolong shelf life, over methods that preserve and encourage all of the amazing things that form from fermentation. Fermentation is not a science, but an art form. So be weary of big companies trying to sell you a few cucumbers in brine, because that does not a gut loving pickle make.
This is why I opt for creating my own. The method is simple, with a few small nudges and a bit of peace and quiet the vegetables do all the work. The process produces a live culture known as Lactobacillus which does wonders for your gut, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is even known to aid in the prevention of certain types of cancer.
The beautifully tangy taste comes form the live bacteria munching away all the sugars and lactose that may be present in the vegetables. So generally, the sourer the taste the greater the quantity of good bacteria jiggling around in there.
Adding spices such as turmeric, celery seeds and mustard seeds, not only create a lovely flavour but additionally bring their own nutritional bodies to the table. I used baby vegetables because they looked irresistible, but you can use whatever size you like.
Pickled Baby Vegetables
1 cup mexican sour cucumbers – halved lengthwise
1 cup baby zucchinis - halved lengthwise
1 cup baby bell peppers – deseeded and quartered
1 cup baby yellow squash - halved
sea salt/kosher salt
1 small onion – thinly sliced
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
¼ tsp ground turmeric/ ½ tsp fresh
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Place the cucumbers, zucchinis and squash into a bowl with a handful of sea salt and let sit for 1-2 hours.
Then rinse and remove all the excess salt.
Combine with all the other vegetables and set aside.
Add the apple cider vinegar, honey and spices to a small saucepan and bring to simmer. Stir well making sure all the honey and spices are dissolved.
Remove from the heat.
Place all of the vegetables into a large pickling jar and pour the hot brine over the top, making sure they are all submerged.
Seal the jar and refrigerate once the brine has cooled down to room temperature.
The ideal amount of time to let ferment is at least three days.