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Shio-Zuke Pickles (Japanese Quick Salt-Pickled Vegetables)

This recipe is courtesy of CSA member Jay Chen.

You can make Japanese shio-zuke pickles with many types of firm vegetables, but I'm partial to cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower.  Sprinkled with salt and pressed, they lose moisture, intensifying their natural flavor and providing an irresistibly squeaky, crunchy texture.  My husband and I eat these straight out of a bowl as finger food, but they're also excellent as a palette cleanser for for oily fish--sort of like ginger for sushi.

The batch in my fridge currently contains carrots and cauliflower from the 7/22 pickup:

•3 medium carrots
•1.5 - 2 cups of cauliflower
•2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
•1 4" piece of dried kombu (if you have it)

Scrub or peel the carrots, and slice them into diagonal coins with a knife or mandoline. Cut the cauliflower into small florets of approximately equal size. Place all the veggies into a Ziploc bag with the kombu (if you have it), and sprinkle the salt over them.  Seal the bag, and shake to distribute the salt.

After the vegetables are well-salted, open the bag slightly and remove as much air as possible from it.  Put the bag of veggies into a bowl or pot, put another bowl or pot on top of it, and weigh it down with whatever you have on hand; I put a cast-iron pan on top of my second bowl, with some canned food on top as extra.  What you're trying to do is help the salt penetrate the vegetables better, via the added pressure.  Leave your precarious tower of pots on a counter for at least an hour.

The longer you leave the pickles, the saltier they'll get.  Some people are good after an hour; others like to go for multiple days.  I'm happy with mine after about 2-3 hours; I'll periodically take apart the tower to taste test.  Once I'm happy with the flavor, I drain all of the pickling liquid from the bag, and move it into the fridge.  (Note: if your pickles are too salty, you can rinse them a little--but if you rinse too much, the flavor and texture will end up watery instead of crisp.)


Quick refrigerator pickles


This is a super quick way to make delicious pickles - the perfect way to use up those cucumbers that are slightly tough skinned. You can add any flavouring to these - simply add to the bottom of the jar before adding the cucumbers. I used Dill, garlic and some peppercorns. These only need 24 hours in the fridge before they are good to go. Don't forget to sterilise the glass jars you are using before you make the pickles. Place them in a 350˚f oven for 15 mins, and allow to cool before using.

This recipe is just a guide - you can adjust the amount of pickling liquid depending on how many cucumbers you have. It is easy to quickly whip up another batch if needed!

Quick Refrigerator Pickles
- Makes 3-4 jars, depending on jar size -

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

1 Clove garlic per jar
5-6 peppercorns per jar
a few sprigs of fresh dill per jar
3-4 cucumbers, washed and cut into spears (trim to fit the size of your jar if necessary)

Pickling liquid
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar (increase this if you like your pickles sweet)
1 Tbsp salt


Place the garlic, peppercorns and dill in the bottom of your jars. Add the cucumber spears - you want them to be fairly packed in. 

In a large saucepan, combine the water, white vinegar, sugar and salt over medium heat. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. 

Carefully pour the hot pickling liquid over the cucumbers, leaving about a 1/2 inch of space at the top. Place a lid on the jar, seal tightly, and allow the jars to cool to room temperature. Once cool, transfer to the fridge. Store in the fridge for at least 24 hours before using.