I was driving in the Monadnock region last week and spotted a few trees with leaves that were losing their green hue and turning an orange-yellow color. A surge of panic hit when I realized summer is winding down.
Suddenly I could feel bracing cold air against my face and imagined the landscape covered in snow. Then I realized the cold air was just the air conditioning I had on in the car. Phew; the deep freeze is still months away.
I decided I have a fear of winter, and wondered if there’s a name for this condition. When I got home I plugged “fear of winter” into an online search engine and frigophobia popped up. Frigophobia is a fear of becoming too cold, and I’m pretty certain I suffer from this.
In order to manage my new self-diagnosed condition, I’ve decided I need to get busy doing whatever I can to hang on to all the things I love about summer.
I had a burgeoning basket of garden vegetables on the counter and thought I would try some simple pickling methods to try to preserve the taste of summer.
I’ve been making quick-pickled purple onions for the past few years. Add a little vinegar and sugar to a bowl full of thinly sliced onions and let it sit for about 30 minutes. When I put together a salad, I top it off with the pickled onions and their delicious, tangy flavor. They’re also excellent as a garnish on cheeseburgers or tucked into a sandwich.
I picked up some sweet white onions and some purple salad onions during my farm stand vegetable haul a couple of weeks ago, so I made a vinegar, sugar and salt brine and used it to preserve the last of those onions.
I also had a surplus of fresh, crisp green beans. I decided to pickle them too, combining them with some red pepper flakes, garlic, sliced shallots and peppercorns in a few different kinds of vinegar. I blanched the beans first in an effort to retain their crispness.
I also put together a few jars of assorted pickled vegetables like spiral cut carrots, cauliflower, cherry peppers and of course, cucumbers. I experimented with different combinations of spices and different kinds of vinegar. I like to buy vinegar with the “mother” when I can; vinegars with the mother are thought to have more health benefits than filtered vinegar because they retain the bacteria used in the fermentation process.
Remember that quick pickling is not a long-term preservation process. You can expect quick-pickled veggies to last in your fridge for a week or two before their quality starts to suffer.
Quick-pickled vegetables are an excellent addition to salads. They’re also a fantastic garnish served with grilled or baked meats. You can serve them with eggs, cheese and crackers, in sandwiches and on top of toast such as avocado toast.
I plan to pickle more vegetables as summer winds down so I can hang on to the warm weather as long as possible. Maybe it will help with my frigophobia.
Sweet Pickled Onions
1 small purple onion, sliced thin
1 small Vidalia onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (preferably with the mother)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (preferably with the mother)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Pack the onion slices in a lidded jar (I used an 8 oz mason jar) and set aside.
Add the vinegars, sugar and salt to a saucepan and set over medium high heat. Stir the mixture while heating until the sugar and salt dissolves, then remove from heat and pour over the onions. Add water if needed to cover the onions. Close the jar with the lid and set aside.
Allow the onions to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Store up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Ginger Pickled Garden Vegetables
1 carrot, spiral cut
1 small cucumber
3 or 4 small cherry peppers
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
1 small piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon pickling spices
Pack the vegetables in a lidded jar (I used an 8 oz mason jar) and set aside.
Add the vinegars, sugar and salt to a small saucepan and set over medium high heat. Stir and heat until the sugar and salt dissolves, then remove from heat.
Add the pickling spices to the jar of vegetables then pour in the vinegar mix. Add water if needed so the vegetables are covered.
Cover the jar with the lid and allow to sit at least 30 minutes before serving. Store up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Spicy Pickled Green Beans
2 cups green beans, stems removed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 shallot, sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 clove garlic, chopped
Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and garlic to a small saucepan and set over medium high heat. Stir and heat until the sugar and salt dissolves, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Set a pot of water large enough to hold the green beans on the stove and bring to a boil. Add green beans to boiling water and cook for 30 seconds; immediately remove and cool in ice cold water.
Drain the beans and trim as needed so they will fit standing up in the jar. Add the beans to the jar and add the shallot, red pepper and peppercorns.
Pour the vinegar mix over the beans and top with water as needed to cover, then close the jar with the lid.
Allow beans to sit in the brine for at least 30 minutes before using. Store up to two weeks in the refrigerator.