Here’s something I do a lot, like my juicing-without-a-blender post last week, that I do so regularly and unthinkingly that I didn’t realise I’d never written about it on my blog! This is where all the soft or sad or straggly vegetables end up that aren’t juicing material. Like the Mooli I bought last week in a fit of curiosity that softened to a flaccid sadness in my veg drawer as I pondered what to do with it. Nothing for it but pickle by this point, and off we went.
Of course you can pickle almost any vegetables (wouldn’t recommend raw potatoes or pickled mushrooms, but I’m sure someone somewhere in the wonderful world of the Internet has tried). I often have a ‘rolling pickle’ in the fridge, a jar of vinegar and various flavours, that I toss oddments of veg into – the half a pepper curling around the edges, the grated stalky bit of a cauliflower head, the outer cabbage leaves sliced thinly, and just add to it as the week goes on.
My favourite pickling juice is a combination of white wine vinegar, raw garlic cloves, a teaspoon each of salt and sugar, some herbs, a little mustard and black pepper – but it really depends what I’m making. Sometimes rice wine vinegar and nigella seeds are a nice change, fennel seeds can add sweetness, cumin for a curry-accompanying pickle, chilli for heat – the possibilities are endless.
Here’s my recipe for mooli pickle – you can replace the mooli with anything you like.
200ml white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
4 fat cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (or mustard)
Finely ribbon your mooli – you can use an ordinary vegetable peeler to make ribbons, then for thinner strips, stack a few on top of each other and slice thinly – better to do it slowly and carefully than try to rush this part. If you have a julienne peeler, spiralizer or mandolin, knock yourself out, but the humble veg peeler will do a grand job. As you get near the end of your veg, lay it on a flat surface to peel it rather than trying to hold it in your hand – far easier and less risk of sliced fingers!
Pop the veg in a jar and add the remaining ingredients. Screw the lid on tight and shake gently to distribute the salt and sugar. Label, and pop in the fridge. As a general rule I try to use mine within 28 days if stored in the fridge, so label it accordingly. And feel proud of yourself, you just gave that sad vegetable another month to live. Happy pickling!
Jack Monroe. I’m on Twitter & Instagram @MxJackMonroe
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