Ever wondered what to do with the large empty bottle left once you’ve finished that last pickled cucumber?
How about making your own quick pickles, or as I call them, quickles?
They are a breeze to make, and if eaten in moderation, have significant health benefits, including aiding digestion, anti-oxidant properties, supplying essential vitamins and minerals, and protecting the liver and gall bladder.
Since salt is an essential ingredient in preparing pickles, they should be eaten in moderation, particularly if you are prone to hypertension.
A serving of pickles can provide up to half your recommened daily sodium intake.
The method employed in making these pickles, does not involve sterilisation of bottles, so they do not have a significant shelf life. Rather, they ought to be consumed within three weeks of being made, but since they are so delicious, that is no hardship.
Rather than pickling cucumbers, cauliflower forms the base of this pickle menage, followed by carrots and red or yellow pepper.
Quickles make a great addition to an appetiser spread with cheese, charcuterie, fresh tomoatoes and crackers or flat breads.
They also work well with grilled and braaied meats.
Ingredients, selection and preparation
1/2 a head of cauliflower (about 4 cups): cut into 20mm to 30mm florets
5 medium carrots (about 2 cups): peeled and sliced diagonally 5mm thick
1/2 a red or yellow pepper (about 1 cup): cut into large dice
2 cups (500ml) apple cider vinegar
1/2 cups of white sugar
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
5 medium cloves of garlic: lightly crushed and peeled
3 x 5mm slices of fresh peeled ginger
1/2 small onion: peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 small red or green chilli (optional): sliced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black, brown or yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Put the spice mix ingredients into a medium saucepan and dry toast them until slightly darkened and fragrant, two to three minutes.
Mix the vegetables together and divide between a few suitably sized jars thoroughly washed and cleaned glass jars, pressing down to fill them quite tightly.
Add all of the pickling medium ingredients to the saucepan, as well as a cup (250ml) of boiling water, and bring to the boil.
Divide the hot pickling liquid between the pickle jars, and top off the jars with more boiling water if needed.
Screw the lids onto the jars while hot.
Allow jars to cool completely, then store in the fridge for up to three weeks.