Two of my favourite vegetables to buy and forget about are fennel and radishes. I see them in bunches at markets and cant but grab them for a mid week salad. Except I forget about them or couldn’t be bothered slicing them up so they inevitably wilt and become sad specimens in my crisper. So my solution? Pickle them! I adore pickled vegetables and when done at home they can be a great addition to a quick salad and can be complimented easily with many other ingredients.
So how do you pickle at home? It’s as simple as creating a pickle brine, bringing it to the boil and immersing the cut vegetables into it, placing them in a jar and a day or two later you are good to go! When it is this easy it is definitely a great solution to throwing out your produce. Of course, fresh produce is always lovely but a bit of a pickle never hurt now and again!
Another great pickled veg mix is the Italian Giardiniera mix. Carrots, capsicum, cauliflower and zucchini are all floreted and sliced to create a colourful combination great as an anti-pasto compliment or just on the table before a meal. Buono! The old school mix sometimes slices the carrots with a serrated slicer or includes beans but I like to julienne them on a mandolin just for presentation on the other side of the jar. But do what takes your fancy and enjoy!
What do you eat your pickled vegetables with?
Pickled fennel loves: orange segments, fresh grated beetroot and apple, green beans and prosciutto
Pickled radish loves: lettuce and tomato in a salad, a peppery touch to salad sandwhiches or with ham
Giardiniera mix loves: salamis and prosciutto, grilled vegetables or just tossed through a lettuce salad
These are just my favourites, by all means experiment and enjoy! Just try and make them last once they are in the fridge. I can often be found with a fork in hand eating them from the jar standing in front of the open fridge door. But shhh….don’t tell anyone!
Basic Pickle Mix (makes approx 2 litres, enough to pickle all the vegetable mixes)
1l white wine
1l white vinegar (you can use apple cider or brown malt vinegar if it takes your taste buds fancy)
1 cup of white sugar
1 tbsp salt
1-2 bay leaves
2-3 dried chillis (optional if you like a little spice – I didn’t have them in the mixes below)
Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil until sugar dissolves
Remove from heat and pour over vegetables
Allow the vegetables to steep and add to jars, these will keep in fridge for about 2 weeks if you use utensils to remove from jars, avoid the temptation of wandering fingers!
NB: Sterilise jars in boiling water to ensure freshness and to keep the pickles for longer
1-2 Large fennel bulbs sliced finely on a mandolin and steeped in mix above
3 small zucchini
Julienne all vegetables, keeping zucchini to the side, cut cauliflower into small florets
Steep in hot liquid, add the zucchini when cooled to keep the green colour
Remove green from whole radishes, cut in half for small and quarters for large, steep in mix above