Sunday, 19 January 2014

Home made small batch mixed vegetable pickles!

I was flicking through Jamie Olivers latest cook book (that I got out from the library) and found this wonderful idea to pickle all those left over bits of vegetables that end up lurking in the fridge in that not-enough-for-a-meal-but-too-good-to-be-thrown-to-the-chooks-yet way.

He calls them House Pickles! I think they are just wonderful!

Here's what I did...

This is the page from his book, "Save with Jamie".
He talks about having bits and bobs left over from salads that just sit in the fridge until they finally go off and you throw them into the compost or maybe to the chooks... (has this man been looking in my fridge??)

Its a pretty simple concept: Put a mixture of 1 part cold water to 2 parts vinegar into a sterilised jar (leaving enough room for the veges) and add 1 heaped tablespoon each of sugar and salt, stir, and add spices and herbs to taste - pop in the veges, seal and leave in the fridge for up to eight weeks.

The idea is that you can add random left over veges whenever they become available.
The bit of cucumber and carrot left over from the salad, the 1/4 red onion from the sandwiches, the capsicum from the Mexican meal last night...

You can eat them when they are fresh, that is as soon as you start your pickle and they will be crunchy and sharp. Or you can leave them for a week or two and they will mellow and get softer.

I made up a batch of these with random leftover bits in the fridge just before Christmas and when we went on holiday for a week, it was perfect with our ploughman's style lunches that we were having.
The House Pickles are in the bowl front right

I have found that the vinegar loses its potency after six weeks or so. So now I have two jars on the go and as each one runs out, I wash and sterilise the jar, refill it with the vinegar/salt/sugar/water/herb/spice mix and add veges as they come to hand to my "adding to" jar.
The other jar gets used as the "eating from" jar - until it runs out - and then I start again. Its been a wonderful way to pickle without all the hassle and its sooooo good to be able to use up all those pesky bits of vege that just sit around looking sad!
I have been experimenting with different vinegars, combinations of herbs and spices. Jamie recommends a hot and spicy and a mellow and sweet jar... Mine are pretty random so far... I call it the "whatever's in the pantry" flavour!
The red onion tends to stain the white vinegars pink so if aesthetics are important to you - use red wine or balsamic vinegar or pop them in a jar of their own. I have found pickled carrot to be a new treat for us along with pickled capsicum! Yummm!
These would make great house warming gift too I reckon!
Thank you Jamie!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for using up every last scrap of vege
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for not buying something new
Time cost: 10 minutes - and that's stretching it!
Skill level: Basic pour and chop
Fun-ness: Yummy fun!


Evi said...

Hi Kara, I haven't been visiting here or anywhere much in recent months so completely missed all your interesting posts! But, oh my you have been busy!!!
I wish I'd seen your Christmas tag idea though, as I needed some back then. I think that same idea could be used for other gift tags too and I intend to encourage my youngest to have a go.
Thanks for the tip.
Have an awesome 2014!!!

Practical Frog said...

Hey Evi! Good to "see" you again! I haven't been visiting much either at the moment - so much to do and so little time to do it!
The tags were quick, easy and quite effective (despite the bad photography!) Your kids will have no problems making them!
2014 has been great so far! Best wishes to you and yours too!- K xx

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