PICKLED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
PEOPLE ARE MOVING FORWARD BY GOING BACK TO BASICS. FROM BAKING BREADS AT HOME TO ENJOYING CLASSIC COCKTAILS, THEY ARE NOW PICKLING AND PRESERVING
Why pickled food is gaining more real estate on diners’ plates
Presently, chefs everywhere are trying to convince diners to enjoy pickled fruits and vegetables. On its own, it can be a hard sell, but when served and plated with other items, they realize and appreciate what it brings to the table.
Apart from imparting a sweet and sour taste, the fermentation process allows for easier absorption of vitamins and nutrients. While the salt, a key ingredient in the pickling liquid, prohibits bad microbes from forming colonies, it allows the good microbes to flourish, thanks to a process called difFusión.
Vinegar pickles require the addition of vinegar to bring down the pH level of the solution. Fermented pickles, meanwhile, rely on good germs to produce an acid, which, in turn, lowers the pH level. This requires good temperature, little light, and, above all, time.
At my restaurant, The Test Kitchen, we predominantly use a quick pickle process and depending on the ingredient, we can achieve amazing texture and flavor within a window of just a few hours. A vacuum machine helps but is not necessary.
With only three ingredients (vinegar, sugar, and water), you can customize a pickle blend that suits your palate without having to worry about bad microbe growth.
Simple pickle solution: 1 part vinegar ½ part water ½ part sugar
Depending on how sweet you like it you can either add more or less sugar. The same goes for how sour you like your pickles: Add more vinegar to intensify the sourness or add more water to abate the sourness. In addition, customizing your own pickling liquid is as easy as adding a few aromatic ingredients, which can include garlic, lemon zest, fresh herbs, black pepper, mustard seeds, and spices.
Hopefully, these tips and tricks will inspire you to grab a jar and start pickling. Or at least, be open to eating pickled foods when dining out.