I had a GREAT time working on today’s Front Burner column, which is about refrigerator pickles. Seeing as how we are in the South, I’ll bet a lot of you are quite familiar with refrigerator pickles. But have you noticed, if you’ve been eating out a bit in the past couple of years, how popular pickled vegetables have become in restaurants?
The other night, a friend and I had a beautiful cheese plate at Local Roots Restaurant that included pickled carrot, rhubarb and onions. Along with sweet daubs of honey and peach, and salty nuts, the pickles were extraordinary. Talk about delicious layers of flavor!
And that’s what today’s column is about: How to make your own refrigerator pickles and how to pair them with foods at home. If you’ve ever made pickles, you probably know recipes can be adapted to suit your tastes so long as you don’t mess with the amount of vinegar in them (that helps preserve them and keep them safe to eat). But you can add more or less sugar and any kind of spices you like.
In the photo above, you’ll see three kinds of pickles I made last week: Sweet peppers and onions with garlic and hot pepper, which I seasoned with bay leaf and mustard seed; red onions with star anise, cinnamon and bay; and carrots and cauliflower with serrano chiles, bay leaf and mustard seed. I can’t wait to put those onions on a burger or serve them with some roasted pork. And I want to chop the pickled veggies finely and add them to some pasta or potato salad. Or just eat them out of the jar!
I’m sure there are a lot of people reading this who know a heckuva lot more about pickles than I do, so please share your knowledge. What veggies or fruits do you like to pickle and what do you serve them with?