Courgette Pickles and Green Bean Pickles
This is a fabulous way to preserve a glut of soft garden vegetables, such as courgettes and green (French) beans, extending their eating time well into the autumn and perhaps beyond. The vegetables are not cooked in this easy fermentation (pickle) process. Rather, they are preserved in brine, a water and salt mix that is a little stronger than may be used for harder vegetables such as cabbage. This maintains their natural vitality, vitamins and enzymes, making them a powerhouse of goodness. Horseradish or vine leaves are added to help maintain the crispness of the vegetables. Serve alongside your favourite dishes, or chop into vegetable salads. I love the green beans pulled straight from the jar as a quick snack!
- Courgettes, sliced
- French Beans, whole, or other veggies
- Garlic peeled (optional)
- Dill or fennel seeds
- Horseradish or ginger root, finely sliced
- Horseradish or vine leaves
- Sea salt
- Filtered water
- Pack your veggies of choice tightly in a jar, interspersed with the flavour emitters: garlic, ginger or horseradish root and/or seeds and also with some horseradish or vine leaves which keep softer vegetables a little crunchy. Today, I’ve used green and yellow courgettes with fresh fennel seeds in the jar on the left and whole French beans (with the stalks at the top for easy removal) with 3 whole garlic cloves. Leave a space of 3-4cm at the top of the jar.
- Make a 3-5 % brine up: use 1 dessertsp sea salt to 1 cup filtered water. Fill the jar with this brine to about 2cm below the rim. Make sure all the vegetables are submerged and place a weight on top to prevent vegetables from rising up and spoiling.
- Check their flavour daily. When you think they are well enough fermented to be enjoyable to eat, about 3 days, slow the fermentation process by putting them in the fridge. If you are simply wanting to preserve for longer, put them in the fridge directly after you’ve made them, which will help them keep longer.
- Enjoy; they will keep for up to 2-3 months in the fridge
If you don’t have a water filter, leave a jug of tap water out for about 2 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate (otherwise it may compromise your good bugs) Use your fermented brine Don’t throw out the brine from fermented vegetables. It may be too salty to use neat, but add to soups and stews at the end of cooking, use it to flavour salad dressings, you can also use some to kick start your next ferment. Keep it in a container in the fridge, labelled with the date as well as what it is.