Can you believe that just 1 year ago I announced the release of my cookbook, The Complete Guide to Pickling? More than 6,000 copies have sold over the last year, and I’ve received such amazing feedback from readers. I’m particularly thrilled that I can continue to share some of my favorite recipes from the 125-strong collection. Thanks to Clean Plates, you can now learn more about—and how to make—my Cultured Curtido (Cabbage Slaw) recipe.
Learn to make fermented and quick curtido
Until I wrote the The Complete Guide to Pickling, I rarely pickled onions on their own. I dropped slices into other pickle jars, from refrigerator zucchini to canned bread-and-butter cucumbers to fermented kimchi. They weren’t just garnish and always ended up on sandwiches or in breakfast potatoes. But I rarely devoted pantry or fridge space to jars of pickled onions.
Once I started creating just such onion-focused recipes for the cookbook, I couldn’t stop. There were so many fun variations, flavors, and uses. Now I’m simply making the book’s recipes for my own enjoyment, and if you open my fridge today—you’ll find plenty of onion pickles.
Read more about preserving onions and learn to make Apple-Sweetened Yellow Onions
Just like the cabbage I wrote about last week, chilies feature heavily in my pickling cookbook, The Complete Guide to Pickling. I pickle and preserve them on their own in recipes ranging from Beer-Pickled Jalapenos to Spicy Vinegar and from quick-pickled Chile Rings to fermented hot sauces. I also drop them into many of the savory pickles in the book and even a few of the sweeter ones, like Jerk-Spiced Banana Pickles.
Do I preserve so many chilies because we grow more than 40 pepper plants every year, or do we grow that many plants so I have boxes of chilies? It’s hard to say, but at least half of our homegrown peppers carry a mild to a fiery heat. Jalapenos and poblanos take up much of the hoop house space, but I bump up the Scoville scale with serranos, bird’s eye chilies, habaneros, and cayenne peppers.
The mix varies each year—as does the quality and size of the harvest. After buying and pickling pepperoncini to test for a new recipe for the cookbook, I grew some of these mild chilies for the first time last year. They started turning red when they were smaller than my thumb, so I pickled them in pint jars. This year, a plant from Swan River Gardens has grown taller than the cherry tomato cages and produced peppers longer than my index finger. Two half-gallon jars are stuffed full in my fridge, and more peppers are ready to harvest.
Read more about preserving chilies and learn to make Sambal Oelek (Chile Paste)
When Americans think of pickled foods, they often start with two vegetables: cucumbers and cabbage. For both types, the options extend far beyond basic dill slices and sauerkraut. I included 11 cucumber and 7 cabbage pickles in The Complete Guide to Pickling, ranging from quick pickles to relishes to ferments.
In the cabbage category, curtido has become one of my favorites. This pickled cabbage slaw originated in El Salvador and typically combines cabbage, onion, and oregano, sometimes adding other flavors like carrot, chili, garlic, lime, and cilantro. It comes together in just 20 minutes, but letting it sit in salt for a couple of hours to draw out the vegetables’ natural liquid keeps the mixture from becoming watery. After it sits another 6 hours, the curtido is ready to eat—but it keeps in the fridge for several weeks.
Read more about preserving cabbage and learn to make Eight-Hour Curtido