Pickling fuglies is great!
Pickling the veggies that arrive in your Good & Fugly boxes is a wonderful way to preserve their freshness and enhance their flavour. Not only will you save yourself from throwing anything out, but you’ll also get some great new snacks and treats that the whole family will delight in.
The process of pickling involves fermenting or preserving vegetables in a brine solution or vinegar. Never pickled vegetables before? Never fear! It’s actually easy, and we’ve got a complete guide to walk you through all the steps:
1. Choose Fresh Vegetables: Select fresh and firm vegetables out of your Good & Fugly box. There will be something in there every week. Common popular vegetables to pickle include cucumbers, carrots, capsicum, cauliflower, beans, radishes, onions, and cabbage. Make sure you rinse the vegetables thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
2. Decide on Pickling Method: There are two primary methods for pickling vegetables: lacto-fermentation and vinegar pickling. Lacto-fermentation uses a saltwater brine to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, while vinegar pickling relies on an acidic vinegar solution for preservation.
3. Gather Supplies: For both pickling methods, you'll need:
- Clean glass jars or fermentation crocks with airtight lids
- The fugly vegetables
- Water (for brine)
- Salt (non-iodized, preferably pickling or sea salt)
- Optional seasonings like garlic, dill, mustard seeds, peppercorns, etc.
- Alternatively, instead of the water, for vinegar pickling, you'll need vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar) and sugar.
4. Prepare Brine: For lacto-fermentation, prepare a brine by dissolving 2-3 tablespoons of salt in 4 cups of water. For vinegar pickling, use a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water. You can adjust the saltiness or vinegar strength to your taste.
5. Prepare Vegetables: Wash and trim the vegetables. Depending on their size, you can leave them whole, slice them into spears or rounds, or even shred them. If you prefer a crunchier pickle, you can blanch or briefly soak the vegetables in an ice bath before pickling.
6. Add Seasonings (Optional): Add herbs, spices, and other seasonings to the bottom of the clean jars or crocks before packing the vegetables. Common options include dill, garlic, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns. Be creative and experiment with different flavour combinations.
7. Pack the Jars: Pack the prepared vegetables tightly into the jars or crocks, leaving some space at the top. Make sure to submerge the vegetables entirely under the liquid. You can use a clean stone or a weight to keep the vegetables submerged.
8. Seal and Store: Next, seal the jar with an airtight lid and leave it at room temperature for several days to weeks, depending on your preference and the ambient temperature. Check the jars daily and release any gas buildup.
NOTE: Extra Step For Vinegar Pickling: For vinegar pickling, heat the vinegar and water mixture in a pot, adding sugar and any desired additional spices. Bring the mixture to a boil and then pour it over the vegetables in the jar, covering them completely.
9. Refrigerate or Process: Once your vegetables have reached the desired level of fermentation or pickling, transfer the jars to the refrigerator for lacto-fermented pickles. They will continue to develop flavour but at a slower rate. For vinegar pickles, do the same thing, but first let the jars cool to room temperature before storing them in the refrigerator.
10. Wait and Enjoy: The pickled vegetables will be ready to eat after a few days for vinegar pickling and a few weeks for lacto-fermentation. But you don’t need to rush with eating them! Properly stored pickles can last for several months in the refrigerator. Enjoy them at the perfect moment to add some great flavour to your day.
Finally, and most importantly, get creative with all of this! Pickling is not an exact science, and you can adjust the seasonings, saltiness, and acidity to suit your taste preferences. Get the whole family involved, come up with favourite recipes, and enjoy your Fuglies as delicious homemade pickled vegetables!