TriBeCa CSA’s first cooking workshop was a huge success! Tricia Williams, member and chef/owner of Food Matters, taught the group the basics of pickling and its probiotic health benefits. Pickling is a great way to use vegetables that may go bad before you can cook and eat them and a delicious accompaniment to many dishes. Not to mention that pickles make a great healthy snack!
Adding home made pickled veggies to your diet introduces healthy bacteria (probiotics) in the most natural way, by eating them!
Here are some of the helpful tips we learned:
When toasting spices don’t overdo it! As soon as you start smelling the aroma it’s probably done. If the spices turn brown they’re burned and will not taste good.
Use cider vinegar and sea salt whenever possible for their added health benefits.
In the workshop we learned 3 types of pickling: Cold picking, hot pickling, and salt-only pickling (meaning no vinegar was used).
Cold and hot pickling are basically the same technique, the only difference is that the pickling brine is put over the vegetable when it’s cold or hot, respectively. Cold pickling takes longer to achieve the same results as hot pickling, but it is gentler on the ingredients. Delicate, softer items like string beans and tomatoes should be cold pickled so as to avoid turning them into mush, but harder, denser ingredients such as beets and carrots benefit from the speed of hot pickling.
As for salt-only pickles, their lack of vinegar allows for “good” bacteria to flourish, leading to a pickle rich in pro-biotics. Eat a few pickled carrots instead of taking that supplement every day!