Appetizers · Snacks · Vegan

Turmeric Pickled Vegetables

Have you ever read a word to yourself, only to say it out loud in conversation at a later date and realize you’d been hearing it incorrectly in your head for an indefinite amount of time?

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This happens to me way more often than it probably should. Not with big, difficult words either. And I always feel ridiculous when I finally hear the correct pronunciation, dumbfounded as to how I ever interpreted the word any other way. Take “turmeric” for example. For the longest time, I didn’t realize the word is spelled with two r’s. I would always read it as “too-mae-rick.” Whoops.

That’s a mild example. I’ve had much worse misinterpretations of other words. Anyways, I now know it’s pronounced “ter-mer-ick.” At least I hope.

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The other thing I didn’t know until oh, two weeks ago, is that turmeric is a neon-orange root that looks somewhat similar to fresh ginger on the outside. I have been cooking with the dried powder for years now. What was I thinking? That there are literally ditches of cheeto-colored powder on the side of the road in the far east? I consider myself a detail-oriented person, but then I realize how little curiosity I cultivate over things like these and start to wonder.

My last roommate had a “disorder” as she called it, when if at a restaurant or grocery store she saw something she’d never heard of, she had to buy it. And she really did. Our fridge had some pretty interesting cheeses in it, and our drawer for tea and coffee was so full of exotic dried leaves it would hardly shut.

I think I somewhat understand how she’d feel, because when I saw fresh turmeric root in the store the other day I threw it in my basket without a second thought. I have been on the strangest pickle kick lately. Like eating dill pickle spears and sauerkraut out of the jars twice a day. Who knows, but it’s certainly upping my vegetable and probiotic intake so I won’t fight it.

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When I was in high school I had a good friend from Moldova. Every time I’d go to her house after school, her mom would immediately sit us down at the table and bring us plates of all the different things she had cooked during the day. My favorite by far was her preserved vegetables. I can hardly describe the flavor… they weren’t “pickly” per se, just good. More than once she had to go down to the basement and open up a new jar for Sara.

Her medley of veggies always had lots of peppers, cauliflower, and all sorts of other things my high school self never knew could be preserved. Probably because of my recent uncontrollable pickle cravings, I started thinking about this Moldovan Mama’s jars of garden goodness and decided I wanted to try making something similar.

I bought a big head of yellow cauliflower, because it was on sale for half the price of white cauliflower. (I think it might take some time before I venture to buy the purple heads I’ve been seeing- eek.) I also grabbed a bunch of radishes, because I’d just read a recipe for tacos with pickled radishes and that sounded good to me. I always have red bell peppers and carrots in my fridge. A jug of white vinegar later and I was ready to brine some colorful things.

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Do you know how easy it is to make pickles? Seriously how can they charge $4-5 for the average jar of bread & butter pickles at the grocery store? It’s as simple as bringing water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and any spices you’d like to a boil over the stove, and pouring it over whatever vegetables you have. Let it cool and you have homemade pickles for probably a quarter of the cost and hardly any time at all.

Like I said, you can flavor your pickles with any spices, herbs, or seasonings you’d like. I thought that fresh turmeric I picked up would be perfect grated into the brine for my cauliflower/radish/carrot/bell pepper mix. It tints the whole jar the color of flames. You may either think this is awesome like I do, or you may not want to come anywhere close to these vegetables. I guess it just depends on what kind of person you are. I also threw in a clove of garlic and some crushed whole coriander seeds which offer a really bright and refreshing flavor.

By the way, if you didn’t already know, turmeric has roughly 9837598 health benefits. My great aunt, who is in her late 70’s and spends the majority of her days traveling to different corners of the world, swears by turmeric. Read more about it here.

I’ll admit, these Turmeric Pickled Vegetables are probably one of the weirder recipes I’ll post. If you’re apprehensive, then just take this recipe as a guide for pickling vegetables in general. As long as the water/vinegar/salt ratio stays the same, you can add or deduct whatever else to suit your tastes. What I will say is that I have made this recipe as written twice in the same number of weeks. Meaning I have eaten over a gallon of pickles in the last fourteen days.

What can I say? They’re just addicting! If you’re a crunchy, salty, snack lover, you must try to make these Turmeric Pickled Vegetables. Your body and tastebuds will thank you!

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Turmeric Pickled Vegetables
Yields 2 quart-sized jars

Colorful crunchy veggies in a golden brine with all the anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting properties of fresh turmeric. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups cauliflower florets*
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup radishes, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 4 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 small clove garlic, smashed
  • 2 tsp. fresh turmeric root, grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare your vegetables and divide them between two 4-cup mason jars. Set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, pour the liquid into the two jars over the vegetables, leaving about a half inch of space at the top.

Allow the jars to cool at room temperature for 1 hour before securing the lids. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill until cold before enjoying. These pickles taste best after 36-48 hours in the fridge.


*Feel free to use any sturdy vegetable in this brine. I’ve just listed my favorite combination.

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