Week 38: Pickled Bitter Melon

Week 38: Pickled Bitter Melon

Despite repeated warnings I found online that bitter melon is most definitely an acquired taste, it was such an eye-catching, funky-looking item I kept seeing at the farmers market so I decided to pickle it. I have to say, pickled bitter melon is also an acquired taste and while I ignorantly expected the pickling to dull the – you guessed it – bitter taste, it didn’t fully do that and I don’t know if these are gonna be a huge hit amongst my fellow pickle fiends slash fans.

BUT it’s good to experiment every so often and bitter melons are cheap AF so this wasn’t a huge strain on my resources. Definitely tried to go with some Asian flavors here – rice vinegar, ginger – might tweak in the future with more salt and/or sugar but without further ado, here’s the pickled bitter melon recipe I made this week.

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Week 37: Pickled Sunchokes

Week 37: Pickled Sunchokes

Sunchokes – I had never used them for anything until now and of course, rather than cooking them, they got pickled. I was in somewhat of a rut deciding what to pickle next and not only did these speak to me in the produce section of Safeway (the powerful voice of desperation), but they were a pleasant surprise in how delish they turned out as pickles.

pickled-sunchokesInterested in learning more about using sunchokes in general? According to the packaging, sunchokes are “the tuber from the sunflower” and “have the nutty flavor of a potato, jicama and an artichoke. They [other than being pickled] can be eaten raw, prepared like a potato, or sautéed…” As you can see, a very versatile little item to have on hand.

This is the first recipe I’ve followed (almost) in full in a while (adapted from here) so full disclosure, I can’t take credit for the success. With the turmeric and mustard seeds, this pickle recipe is very reminiscent of the pickled zucchini recipe I tried back in Week 21. Also require a bit more prep time than other recipes in using salt to draw out moisture but totally worth it and have already polished off a jar of these with friends.
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Week 36: Pickled Watermelon Rind

Week 36: Pickled Watermelon Rind

After hearing multiple suggestions about pickling watermelon rind, I realized that (similar to pickled corn) I couldn’t go the whole summer without attempting a pickled watermelon rind recipe. The thing is, I’m actually not a huge watermelon fan so it was a little daunting for me to buy watermelon just for the rind…fortunately I have a roomie who loves this popular summertime treat so nothing will go to waste!

pickled-watermelon-rind
Mini watermelons: great if you like watermelon, not if you’re tryna pickle the rind

That being said, a warning to anyone else out there who rarely purchases watermelon – DO NOT use a mini watermelon for this pickling initiative. As you can see in the photo to the right, mini watermelons have very little of the white rind that you actually need for pickling. I incorrectly assumed they would have a higher rind to melon ratio that would suit my pickling purposes, so now I not only have over half of a giant watermelon left, but 4 mini watermelons that I originally purchased without this realization.

Anyhoo, I mostly followed a recipe from my Pick a Pickle booklet, but another super simple version can be found here, and a recipe more similar to standard veggie pickles (garlic, dill, mustard seed) can be found here. Pickle up the final tastes of summer with any of these pickled watermelon recipes and enjoy!

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Week 35: Pickled Corn

Week 35: Pickled Corn

I have a real theme going right now with pickled versions of popular combos. Last week’s pickled potatoes, for example, and now what is basically a pickled version of my favorite Chipotle (corn) salsa, minus the cilantro which I will definitely be adding next time I make this recipe.

Corn is such a summer vegetable staple so before the season is fully over, I knew it had to be pickled. This recipe really is more like a salsa but with the more pickled flavor of salt and vinegar. This recipe provided the most guidance (although I opted out of cooking the corn ahead of time to keep as much crunch as possible), but here is a fermented option (“sour corn”) which apparently is a big southern thing. If you’re corn-vinced there are better pickled corn options out there, well shucks, I’m all ears

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Week 34: Pickled Potatoes

Week 34: Pickled Potatoes

The vision behind this recipe was a deconstructed (pickled) potato salad using potatoes, celery, shallots (or red onion), garlic, dill and mustard (seeds and ground). I’m pretty pleased with the results, especially given the very limited inspiration I found online for pickled potatoes (a.k.a., they don’t really exist in other people’s pickle repertoires).

pickled-potatoes
Teeny! Tiny!

This pickled potato recipe was also inspired by a recent trip to where else but Ireland – I didn’t come across any pickled potatoes there but definitely potatoes in pretty much every other form imaginable. I hope you find these as spud-tacular as I did! Make them asap for your favorite spud muffin.

And a final note – how adorbs are these tiny potatoes from Trader Joe’s?! You could use any kind of potato for these (they’re basically fingerlings) but I’m a big fan of the aptly named “Teeny Tiny” varietal.
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Week 33: Pickled Tomatillos

Week 33: Pickled Tomatillos

I can’t think of anything to compare these to from what I’ve pickled so far other than a much better version of pickled tomatoes and what I imagine pickled green tomatoes might be like. These pickled tomatillos were surprisingly sweet and definitely keep a great crunchy texture.

This pickle recipe is super straightforward but I did notice that usually 1 cup per all liquids combined (water and vinegar amounts, typically) is pretty exact for 1 pint jar plus the produce inside for pickling. There was more liquid leftover than usual this time – but no matter! Just use it to pickle extra tomatillos or something else you think this combo would be good with.
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Week 32: Pickled Peaches

Week 32: Pickled Peaches

In my pickling journey, I was pretty much done screwing around with pickled fruits but this pickled peach recipe has restored my faith. Far and away the best pickled fruit to date, these are a good consistency and texture, the right flavor – not too sour, not too spicy…a.k.a. these pickles still resemble the original fruit – and definitely will be a repeat in my pickling repertoire.

There were way more recipes for pickled peaches than I expected and I definitely didn’t know they were such a big thing. I went a little rogue here but somewhat followed this Food Network recipe the most closely. There really is a huge range and variety here of what you can do here – spicy, super sweet, seasonally spiced, you name it. Try whatever you think you’ll a-peach-iate the most!

A few quick notes: the reason the texture of this is actually good is because I used very hard (not ripe at all) peaches. So they actually pickled more similar to a fruit like apples. Secondly, the process of scoring, boiling, cooling and peeling these peaces was pretty time consuming. If you’re like me and don’t actually mind the texture of peach skin, I would actually try this recipe without peeling next time.

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Week 31: Pickled Fava Beans

Week 31: Pickled Fava Beans

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. After finding no actual recipes for pickled fava beans (the closest thing I found was this equally delish-looking marinated fava bean recipe), I decided to go back to my mom’s tried-and-true quickle brine*, plus a few added accoutrements for more flavor. Fa-vary happy with how these turned out.

*Confessions of an avid pickler: I always have at least a 1-liter bottle full of this brine for pickling cucumbers or other veggies that are losing their fresh produce luster. So while I don’t have the exact broken down measurements of the smaller proportion needed for this recipe, I recommend just making a ton of the brine and keeping it for whenever the pickling mood strikes.

Helpful guide here on how to clean and prep fava beans. I actually skipped the recommended blanching to remove the outer coating since I figured the pickling would mask any flavor from the coating. They taste great to me!

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Week 30: Pickled Padrón Peppers

Week 30: Pickled Padrón Peppers

My family loooooves padrón peppers and after a recent visit with them, which included a meal at a Spanish tapas restaurant (where padróns are usually on the menu), I felt inspired to pickle these compact little bites. This pickle recipe would also work with any small, mild peppers.

Padrón peppers are pretty easy to find during the summer and generally lack much spice (about 1 in 10 are hot). More helpful details about growth and heat factors here. I was surprised that I couldn’t find many other pickled padrón recipes out there but this is a nice video tutorial for one recipe and this is a pickled Shishito pepper that I’m sure could be applied to padróns as well. The video recipe calls for a quick sauté before canning but I just pickled them raw. They were a little tough so next time I make them I’ll probably try the quick cooking technique beforehand.

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Week 29: Pickled Summer Squash

Week 29: Pickled Summer Squash

Another pickle recipe from my recently gifted Pick a Pickle book. These summer squash pickles are most similar to the pickled zucchini I made but call for celery salt, which is the first time I’ve used such an ingredient. VERY potent but definitely gives a nice flavor, plus you get the added goodies of bell pepper, jalapeño and onion in this pickle recipe.

You can play around with the spice from the jalapeño here – I put a whole one in the quart jar and 1/2 in each pint jar (1 seeded, 1 not). I also did both rounds and quartered chunks – the 2 small squash made perfect rounds to fill up the quart jar while I quartered the larger squash and divvied up into 2 pint jars.
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