Gone picklin'

I've always been attracted to food preservation techniques, but haven't actually done much of it in my life. Certainly not on a large scale, anyway. And this trend continues. Being a little overwhelmed by the CSA again this summer, and rarely being home to cook through the abundance, I chose to preserve a few bits and pieces with quick pickling.
First, every single week we've received a gorgeous bunch of beets and a large sweet onion. I love beets - roast 'em, shred 'em, soup 'em, bbq 'em, puree 'em - anyway you slice it, they are delicious. But I don't want them every week. Mostly because they take a lot of effort, and stain everything that even looks at them vibrant pink. So to deal with this, I put a few bunches up as a quick pickle and now we can eat them at a more leisurely pace, even well after the CSA ceases with the beets already, sheesh. I used this recipe at the cooking lessons blog, that calls for both beets and sweet onion. Super easy! Roast beets, peel and slice. Slice onions and tame them in some boiling water. Add veg to jars, make pickle juice and pour it over the veggies. Lid those suckers and put them straight in the fridge. Including roasting the beets, this took me 1.5 hours total. Fridge pickles can last for months and don't require the longer processing that traditional canning calls for. And they are delicious! On a nice dark rye bread with cheese, on top of salad, in a sandwich...lots of possibilities with these fuchsia pickles.

Next I made a batch of spicy pickled peaches! Weird, right? Nope, amazing. I used the recipe on Not Without Salt to pickle sliced, denuded peaches with basil, clove and cinnamon, and a piece of habanero pepper. Holy crap, this is a taste sensation!!! I pickled the peaches on friday morning (it took an hour, what with all the blanching and peeling of peaches), then we left straight away for Edmonton. So last night when we got home I had my first taste of them with goat cheese on artisanal crackers as a late night snack. WOWZERS! They are heat-packed yet have a slippery coolness since coming out of the fridge. Sweet but with an edge of briny pickle. So good!

My beets and onion pickle made 4 cups, in two 500mL jars. The peaches (from three lbs of fruit) made 5 cups, filling two 500mL jars and a 250mL jar. Like I said, this is small scale pickling. But it suits us as we are only two eaters, and I like a highly varied diet. I hope you try some pickling after reading this because it is super, duper easy, and the results are highly worth the small amount of effort you put in. Next up, maybe pickling beans?