Today I read about the Animal Inside Out exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Real, dead animals. Skin peeled back, muscles and capillaries exposed but perfectly preserved. Visceral stuff, and oddly fascinating to me. It’s the animal equivalent of the famous Bodies exhibition and it got me excited – I’ve never seen a pickled elephant!
It also got me thinking, naturally(!) about pickles. I used to have a love-hate relationship with pickles as a child: loved the little cocktail onions that were so sour your face looked like a pickle when you ate one; hated the floppy pickled cucumber slices that would turn up in my cheeseburgers.
Now that I’ve ‘grown up’ I love pickles. Crunchy, salty, sweet pickles that satisfy those strange cravings when you want something toothsome, savoury, sweet and more-ish.
Simple to make, all you need to do is slice your vegetables or fruit to be pickled, place in a jar, bring to the boil all your pickling ingredients and pour over.
And lo, the easiest pickles you ever did make. Not sure it would work for an elephant though…
Pickles – adapted from the Momofuku recipe
I doubled this recipe below which yielded enough pickling liquid for two half litre jars and two smaller containers.
Vegetables / fruit for pickling
250g rice vinegar
1. Slice vegetables/fruit and pack tightly into jars
2. Bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to the boil and pour over jars
3. Seal jars.
- The pickles are ready to eat fairly soon after preparation. I found them at their best after a few days.
- I added a bit more sugar to the pickled cucumbers and it seems to have worked a treat. Nothing you can do to stop them turning from bright to algae green, so they still look like those McDonald pickles, but have a lovely crunch to them. Don’t slice them too thinly.
- The pickled daikon is my favourite as it’s so versatile. It’s turned up in Korean lettuce wraps, pork buns and is rather tasty on its own!
- The carrot sticks were, well, meh. Note to self to try pickling nicer carrots next time.