Tip: I’ll admit I’ve not canned or preserved food, other than freezing. I don’t take a lot of big risks. Pressure cookers scare me. Botulism scares me! 😀 Quick pickling doesn’t scare me; in fact, it’s a fun and simple way to use ingredients you may already have and the zesty results are scrumptious. Look for new ways to use familiar ingredients, including pickling them!
Quick (3-day) Pickled Berries
1¼ cup sugar
1¼ cup water
3 Tbsp light-flavored honey
½ cup white Modena vinegar (apple cider- or white wine-vinegar can be subbed)
1 tsp fennel seed
1 Tbsp black mustard seed, lightly crushed
Other spices optional for your own taste preference
1½ lb gooseberries*
Rinse and dry the berries. Note: My gooseberries were frozen whole and just needed a quick rinse with cool water.
Combine sugar, water, honey, vinegar and spices in a small saucepan; bring to rolling boil. Add berries and watch closely as the liquid returns to boil. Simmer gently until just soft, approximately 1-2 minutes.
Remove berries with a slotted spoon and divide equally between 2 pint-size mason jars. Vigorously simmer the remaining liquid with spices about 5-7 minutes. Carefully divide this syrup, pouring into the jars to cover the berries. Immediately place lids on the mason jars; store in fridge. The pickled berries will be ready to eat in three days. Serve with grilled fish, roasted pork, sprinkled on a salad or noodle bowl or in a fruity cocktail.
*Substitute firm blackberries, firm blueberries, underripe strawberries or even flavorful red or green grapes (cut grapes in half).
Quicker Pickled Onion
1 small red onion**
1 medium-size fresh lemon
3-4 Tbsp nonpareil capers (in brine)
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Slice red onion (or any veg you sub) as thinly as you can, using a very sharp knife or a mandolin.
Remove zest from lemon (I prefer using a fine grater); set aside.
Cut lemon in half; squeeze juice from both halves; set aside.
Drain and roughly chop capers; set aside.
Place onion, lemon zest and chopped capers in a bowl. Add lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir together and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Serving suggestion – Garnish sandwiches, bagels w/cream cheese, scrambled eggs, grilled fish, pasta or potato salad or enjoy in a savory cocktail.
**Try this with fennel bulb, celery, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus or a mix of any firm veggies you may prefer.