Pickled Veggies – Gut Goodness

Pickled veggies are great for a number of reasons. First off, it’s a great way to preserve excess vegetables you’ve bought, because you can pickle most veggies.

Secondly it’s pretty quick, compared to fermenting foods.

Thirdly, we get gut benefits. Like all food preparation processes, we change the chemistry of the food. In this case we get some probiotic benefits (provide beneficial bacteria). Not as much as proper fermented foods, but more than plain vegetables. The vegetables themselves are also great prebiotics (food for your gut bacteria).

Fourthly, and lastly, pickled foods just taste great. That is subjective, but we’re pretty keen on them here at Real Health Co. They make a great zingy extra to a salad, sandwich, or cheese plate.

How to Pickle

Ingredients
Cut up onions and carrots on chopping board

It’s pretty simple and easy. You’ll need the following.

  • Sanitised mason or jam jars
  • Red wine vinegar – 300 mL
  • Water – 300 mL
  • Sugar – 75 g
  • 2 garlic cloves – peeled and crushed using a knife
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tea spoons
  • Fennel seeds – 2 tea spoons
  • 1 thyme stalk
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt – 1 table spoon
  • Fresh chili, cayenne, sliced – to taste
  • Vegetables – 650 g (start with julienne carrot, red onion and sliced cucumbers, you can get more adventurous with time)
Cucumber, red onion, cucumber pickled in a jar
Method
  1. Combine the red win vinegar, sugar, water and seasoning in a saucepan. Bring to the boil on a medium heat, making sure to stir and the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool.
  2. Now prep your vegetables. Try to make them equal in size to each other, you can cut them however you like, then fill your chosen jars.
  3. Once the pickling liquid has cooled, pour it over your vegetables, making sure each jar gets some of each herb, this may mean breaking up the thyme stalk.
  4. Seal the jars, and refrigerate for about 24 hours before serving. They should keep for at least two weeks.

Serving suggestions

Pickled veggies will go great with leftover Christmas ham sandwiches, adding a freshness and crunch. You can also add them to salads for more flavour (the pickling juice is instant dressing).

If having guests round, have some fresh breads, and crumbly cheeses and serve the pickles alongside. Try some different vegetables, such as fennel and cucumber, to add a fresh aniseed flavour to compliment the cheese. Enjoy!

For a slightly fresher, less festive flavouring, try this recipe from the NZ Herald.

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