I like quick pickles. I don't have a ton of time to make dozens of jars of the same thing endlessly, and quite honestly I get bored with flavors and really like mixing it up, using what is fresh on hand, and having small batches of a variety of quick pickles to liven up meals, crudités, salads, and of course for snacks. At any given moment year-round I have a few jars of something in my fridge. Right now I have pickled cucumbers and garlic in a slightly sweet brine, and pickled daikon which are amazingly peppery and crunchy. Spring onions are one of the first things in spring that we can find here in Wisconsin, and I like pickling them so that I can spread them out throughout the summer. I like the small green brilliance of their flavor in a pickle and they work on salads, burgers, or with a plate of hummus and tomatoes.
Spring Onion Quick Pickle
Quick pickles are a delicious way to use the bounty of the season to create a variety of flavours and textures. This recipe uses one of the gardens earliest arrivals – spring onions, or scallions.
Heat water/vinegar/sugar/salt/garlic in a pot until dissolved. Let cool to room temp.
Or try this: Add some additional zesty flavor by reducing the white vinegar in the recipe above to 1 cup and add 1/2 cup umeboshi plum vinegar.
Another bonus of having a fresh pickling brine is when all of your salad greens start coming in full blast you not only have some pickled scallions to put on your salad, but you have a tasty brine to use for salad dressings. Simply mix a little pickle brine with extra virgin olive oil, s&p, and a tiny bit of grainy mustard. Stir and boom. Delicious dressing.
I know most of us have the image of a farm woman in her hot kitchen with 422 pounds of one kind of cucumber frantically pickling and canning until 3AM. But these days we can get such a wide variety of seeds and can easily grow such a diversity of herbs, fruit, and vegetables, that we don't need to mono-pickle. Small batch pickling is a quick, easy, and delicious way to preserve the extras, the favorites, and the flavors of the season!
Spring comes so slowly after a long winter, but jumping back into the garden and kitchen to start preserving again feels good. After a long winter it feels pretty much like a big TA-DAAAAA!
My entire childhood I was dairy-free. Not in the era of coconut yogurt and almond milk and vegan butter. But in the era of everything tastes like cardboard might as well skip it. I remember having horchata in Chicago once which changed my idea of milk-like drinks forever. I had a few years where I could almost tolerate certain types of dairy (if I didn't mind feeling crappy the next few days) and then I was vegan for many years. With my 11 year old it is a severe life-threatening allergy, so we are now very strict about the dairy. We try to keep it out of the house completely, as he reacts severely to even small amounts of contact. Since I didn't grow up on dairy and avoided it for decades, I don't really "miss" anything - but there are some foods I remember fondly and have re-created over the years. Tzatziki is one of those things. It reminds me of my years living in the Andersonville area in Chicago (a neighborhood full of amazing swedish, greek, and middle eastern restaurants ). This recipe is perfect in summer -and is my favorite dairy free tzatziki. It has the texture, taste, and smell. It is delicious with crisp vegetables. Drop a dollop in chilled cucumber soup. It even makes a great salad dressing. The base is cashews, which gives it a rich flavor and a protein boost.
This tzatziki has the creamy tang of a traditional recipe, but is dairy free! Serve with lamb or chicken, as a dip for fresh veggies, with pita chips, or as a dollop over chilled summer soups. Delicious.
To soak the cashews: Put 1 cups of raw cashews in a canning jar or bowl, cover with hot water from your kettle (meaning hotter than tap but not boiling), let soak 1-4 hours. Drain.
To make a dressing, take a few tablespoons of the tzatziki, add equal amount olive oil, and a teaspoon or two of good vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and then mix well. It is creamy and delicious!
While I like pickles, I like finding other ways to use our abundance of cucumbers throughout the summer. I like to keep a chilled bowl of this in the fridge in season so it is always ready for a snack, with a meal, or over a salad!
I love quick refrigerator pickles. It is a great way to make a little bit of something. It doesn't take much time or effort and you get pretty immediate results. I can pop out a few pints in between kids and garden and sunshine. And you never cook the vegetables/fruit in a water bath or pressure canner, so you always end up with such fresh and crisp flavors. I like having small batches too. So I can make new batches with the season, and not get tired of any one thing.
These quick radish pickles are great on their own (I should know, I ate them non-stop as I took the photos. Ahem.), on top of a salad, as a side for just about anything, or with a cheese and meat board. SO delicious. And they are not too weird or strong for kids either. The bright pink color helps.
Pink Pickled Radishes (Umeboshi)
The perfectly pink ume plum quick pickle. The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, and crispy. Great on their own, or over a salad, on a cheese & meat board, or replacing anything that would be perfect with a pickle.
Slice radishes into thin rounds. Place in a colander and toss with a teaspoon or so of sea salt. Let it sit and exude liquid while you do the rest of the prep.
This recipe calls for ume plum vinegar. It comes from umeboshi plums. You can use all apple cider vinegar, but the ume plum vinegar adds such a great flavor and color. This vinegar adds a bit of depth so this pickle is sweet and sour and twangy and mild all at the same time. It is a good match for the peppery bite of radishes.
If you don't have pickling spice you can crush 7 or 8 peppercorns and use that. I always keep pickling spice around (and it is easy to make your own!). I like one that blends clove, bay, allspice, peppercorns, juniper, coriander, mustard, dried chili, and other aromatic herbs. I make a lot of quick pickles and find that I am using it all throughout the season!
I am ridiculously excited to get into the season of dirt on my hands, planting, and harvesting from my garden. What we eat from May to November is directly related to what is fresh in our garden, and when CSA season begins, what is in our weekly share. Spring radishes always signal the beginning of gardening season to me. It is ON!
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculture designer, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.