Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sweet Asian Pickles

Do you know those tangy and sweet pickled vegetables served at Asian restaurants? This recipe is so easy (only 3 ingredients) and explodes with a tangy sweet punch of flavor.  My kids love sweet pickles from the pickle guy at the farmer's market.  And, I love those Asian pickled vegetables served as sides in restaurants. Truthfully, I can eat a whole bowl of those delicious crunchy pickles.  

We bought these lovely Kirby cucumbers at the farmer's market, which do not have seeds.  If you cannot find Kirby, you can use Persian cucumbers which don't have too many seeds.

Slice the pickles and sweat the pickles in a bowl to draw out the cucumber's liquid.  Just sprinkle a bit of salt, massage into cucumbers, and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.

After sweating the pickles, you will see liquid form at the bottom of the bowl.  The pickles also shrink a bit in size and look less firm.

I packed my pickles in old jam jars, which is great for recycling.  When not used as pickle jars, these jars are great as extra glassware for serving drinks.

I decided to pickle some carrots and string beans, too. The options are really limitless.

 After a day or two in the fridge, your pickles are ready to serve. This recipe passed the Kid-O-Meter with flying colors.  Great way for everyone to eat more veggies! They are handy to have in the fridge for adding to salads, for a snack or to compliment an entree.  We recently packed these pickles to eat at the beach as a healthy snack.

I reviewed a few online recipes and was drawn to the simplicity of the recipe from the "Mummy, I Can Cook" blog, but adapted by reducing the sugar.

Sweet Asian Pickles

Vegetables - I used 6 kirby cucumbers, 1 carrot and a few string beans
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspons of kosher salt

1. Combine and stir the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and simmer on low heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

2. Slice the cucumbers and sprinkle with the salt. Massage the salt into the cucumbers to sweat. Let the cucumbers sit for about 10 minutes. You will see the cucumber juices form at the bottom of the bowl.

2. Rinse the cucumbers to remove the salt.  You may want to taste a cucumber at this point to ensure you have rinsed off all the salt.

3. Pack the pickles and veggies into jars with a tight lid. I used old jam jars.  

4. Pour the sugar and vinegar mixture over vegetables to cover.  Seal jars tightly and place in refridgerator for at least 12 hours before serving. The taste of the pickles evolves as they sit in the brine. 

I prefer my pickles to sit in the brine for 2 days to get a really nice strong flavor. Hmm, what can I pickle next?

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