cardamom. Otherwise, he chooses
such lighter vinegars as champagne or
apple cider vinegar.
At TART, Shutta does a quick pickle on
shrimp for use in salads with a form of
poaching in which he heats champagne
vinegar flavored with chili flakes,
coriander seed, mustard seed, dried
oregano and dried bay leaf. He pours
the hot liquid over the shrimp and lets
it sit for five or six minutes. Then he
adds ice to cool it down, and stores it in
For beginners, Shutta suggests starting
with carrots for their heavy texture. “You
have less chance of making it mush and
it’s hard to over-pickle,” he says. It’s also
one of his favorite pickled vegetables
because of the crunch it offers.
Find the best local, seasonal ingredients
you can and a nice vinegar, which doesn’t
have to be expensive, says Joy at Bondir.
Then experiment with liquid ratios to
find the most balanced flavor result.
Stick with one item and pickle it many
times with different ingredient ratios,
keeping notes, says Christianson with
Urban Farmer. Then move on to the
next ingredient and experiment.
Sterilized containers and a clean
canning environment are important
to avoid contamination, says CIA’s
Kowalski. A jar that becomes moldy
on the outside indicates something
went wrong in the cooking or storage
process. Get rid of it. Also, if you open
the jar and notice a gassy aroma, it’s
best to discard.
The National Center for Home
Food Preservation is a good
place to learn more about pickling.
It includes many recipes for various
fruits and vegetables.
From the website, learn about:
General information on pickling
Selection of fresh cucumbers
Salts used in pickling
Other vegetable pickles
Pickles for special diets
Causes and possible solutions
for problems with pickled foods
Jody Shee, an Olathe, Kansas-based
freelance writer and editor, has more
than 20 years of food-writing experience
and writes the blog www.sheefood.com.