Sunday, June 29, 2014

Miso Pickles

I've always loved the idea of pickling and canning vegetables and fruit, but have always been daunted by the process, feeling I lacked the proper equipment or knowledge to do it properly. Plus, I've always been fortunate enough to have ample folk around me who excel at the process, so I've been happy to enjoy the fruits (and veg) of their labors. 

Still - in the height of market season, I often find my eyes are bigger than my fridge or food prep capabilities in a week, and not everything works by tossing it in the freezer. So when I heard an interview and description on Splendid Table of 'Miso Pickles', I was intrigued. I love miso, and even had just about everything I needed on hand to try it out. 

homemade tastes better on handmade, miso pickles
the players - the first batch was made in the casserole,
with a plate on top. Now I just put them directly into a jar.

Looking over the recipe and method, I felt pretty secure in tampering a bit with some ingredients. Below is my method, and if you'd like to see the original, you can find it on the Splendid Table website. I saw another interesting version at the Cultured Food LIfe site too - lots of options!

The broadcast and web article also talk about making a 'bed' of the pickling paste, and I'll be trying that next - here's my take on the submersion version:

Miso Pickles

1 cup white miso
4 TBSP rice vinegar
1 tsp honey
2 TBSP rice wine
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 small knob of ginger, grated

1-2 cups vegetables (I used thinly sliced carrots and green beans - quantity is determined some by size of the veg as you need to make sure everything is well coated by the paste)

Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl and mix into a loose paste. Pour the paste into a jar or other container with a lid (I did my first test batch in a small ceramic casserole). Submerge the vegetables into the paste - make sure all veg gets thoroughly coated. As I was filling the jar, I would periodically put on the lid and give it a light shake to distribute everything.

homemade tastes better on handmade, miso pickles
pasty pickles

Let this sit on the counter overnight, then transfer to the fridge for storage. When you want to eat the pickles, take them out of the jar and rinse them first. I didn't slice the green beans, and I'm finding that the longer they stay in the paste (you should be able to keep them in the fridge for several months), the tastier they get. The thinly sliced carrots became tender and tasty overnight. 

homemade tastes better on handmade, miso pickles
delicate, lightly crunchy, and delicious alone or added to a dish.

I'm letting all the veg 'cure' in the pickling bed for another week before I take them out, so I can see how it continues to develop, and then as long as the base doesn't become too watery, I'll use it again. I have another test batch of thinly sliced beets in another container - not sure of how long the veg should last out of the pickling paste, but so far I've been using them as fast as I can rinse them so perhaps that's not an issue at all. 

I've eaten these alone and added them to salads, and the flavor is a mildly 'miso' that is quite tasty. I'm looking forward to trying this with other veg, and then eventually when the miso paste loses its pickling power, turning that into a nice marinade.

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