Fall weather is descending fast around here marking the start of my favorite part of the year. This stretch from mid-September through to the end of the year brings so much of what I love about food and cooking. The big holiday feasts are always the main events of the season, but there are so many smaller events and activities before those that keep me plenty busy. Today’s activity comes from the desire to hold onto the bright, beautiful flavors of summer before they disappear until next year. Already, my freezer is stocked with blanched vegetables (beans, corn, etc.) that take well to freezing, but for those that are best when raw it’s time to break out the pickling jars again.
I read about this technique of pickling mixed vegetable slaw a few months back on Smitten Kitchen, and it jumped to the front of my mind when I did a clean out of the fridge to find a big bell pepper, a lone carrot and a whole bunch of radishes from past CSA shares that have been languishing. To that I added a couple small bell peppers that my backyard plants managed to produce despite looking pretty worn out, as well as a red onion to complete the medley of vegetables for this slaw.
The vegetables I just listed are by no means a restrictive list and you should experiment with whatever you have on hand. Just about any other crisp vegetable (cucumber, snap peas, fennel, etc.) will take well to pickling. This slaw is very versatile, you can put it in sandwiches, a topping for tacos, or serve it as a side to a nice steak or pork chop or even fish. These are refrigerator pickles, so you don't need to mess with any canning procedures, just pour the brine in, seal and put in the fridge. These will keep for about about a month in the refrigerator, but I doubt you'll find them hanging around that long once you take that first taste!
The recipe below is adapted from this one on Smitten Kitchen.
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1 small red onion
2-3 bell peppers (depending on size)
1 large jalapeno pepper
1 medium sized carrot
12-15 radishes (depending on size)
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs kosher salt
1/2 tbs mustard seeds
1/2 tbs pickling spice
Using a sharp knife or a mandolin (this whole thing is WAY faster and easier with a mandolin slicer. I doubt I would make this recipe without one) slice all the vegetables into a very thin julienne cut, around 1/8 of an inch. Place the sliced vegetables in a bowl and toss until well mixed then pack into your pickling jars. I needed 2, 24 oz jars to fit everything in.
Meanwhile, heat the water, vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard seeds and pickling spice in a small pan until boiling. Simmer just until the sugar and salt are dissolved then remove from the heat. Allow to cool to around room temperature and the carefully pour over the vegetables until the jars are full to the top.
Seal and refrigerate the jars, the pickles should be ready to eat within a day or two and will keep in the refrigerator for around a month