My favorite way to prevent wasting produce is to pickle. Mostly because I am obsessed with pickles but also because you can pickle most anything and it lengthens the shelf life of whatever that anything is. I am a pretty picky pickle eater though. I can’t take the sweet ones or ones of the “bread and butter” variety. Why are they called “bread and butter” anyway? I wish someone was there to take a picture of my face every time I’ve eagerly bitten into a pickle only to accidentally find that it wasn’t sour at all. It was sweet and…something that I can’t even think of a word for. My pickle preferences aside, it is definitely all a matter of opinion. Some people love those sweet things. I’ll stick with the sour. For this particular pickling project, I had a head of cauliflower that was starting to get those little brownish black spots, a few wrinkly jalapenos, and some not so crunchy anymore carrots. My first thought was a spicy escabeche but, then my mind wandered to giardiniera. Both are essentially the same thing but, what you flavor the brine with and what vegetables you use can sway it in one direction. Or speaking Spanish or Italian could too. This one is kind of a combo because I had ingredients for both and I don’t speak Spanish or Italian. Some of the vegetables are blanched and some are not, it has jalapenos but also cauliflower, dill but also Mexican oregano, and bay leaf but also garlic. One ingredient they both don’t have that both usually do is a bit of oil. I wanted to create a fat free low sodium snack this time, so I cut back on the salt as well. So, don’t waste that produce! Pickle it up!
No Waste Pickles
1 lb. carrot
1 head cauliflower
1 yellow onion
20 cloves garlic
1 bunch dill
1 t dill weed
1 T Mexican oregano
1 T black peppercorns
5 Bay leaves
1 Q white wine vinegar
3 C water (approx.)
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Prepare your vegetables in whatever shape you please. Just keep in mind the vessel you want to store them in.*
Place your prepared jalapenos, onion, garlic, dill, dill weed, and oregano in your vessel.
Bring the white wine vinegar, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt to a boil in a separate pot.
Meanwhile, blanch your cauliflower in the pot of boiling water until it is at your desired crunchiness. Then place them in your vessel. Do the same with the carrots in the same water afterwards. You can skip this blanching step if you like super crunchy pickles. I prefer this way to make them just a tad softer, like the escabeche you get from a taco shop.
Once the vinegar reaches a boil and the salt is dissolved, pour it into your vessel.
Finish it with the water until all the vegetables are covered. This should be about 3 cups.
Let cool to room temp before covering and refrigerating at least 8 hours. The longer it pickles, the more pickled it will be. This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Any container will do. You don’t need mason jars because you aren’t canning them for shelf stableness. Well, you can, but I’m not explaining that here. I use a 3.5 quart square container (pictured) because this recipe makes a whole lot of pickles. You can use multiple containers too. Just divide the vegetables, flavoring, and brine among them and finish with water to cover.