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Flash Pickles (Cool Stuff to do with a Vacuum-Sealer, Pt. 1)

Flash Pickles (Cool Stuff to do with a Vacuum-Sealer, Pt. 1)
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  • Flash Pickles (Cool Stuff to do with a Vacuum-Sealer, Pt. 1)

    Post #1 - November 3rd, 2008, 2:41 pm
    Post #1 - November 3rd, 2008, 2:41 pm Post #1 - November 3rd, 2008, 2:41 pm
    Flash Pickles

    As much as I admire the commitment and delicious outcome of endeavors like Live Baconblogging! and the Romance of Canning, I lack the restraint and patience required to prep, cook…and wait. I’m not a patient person when it comes to cooking projects. If I cook, I want to eat. I’ll cook all day, maybe even two days, as long as I get to eat the results as soon as the cooking part is over.

    Inspired by culinary impatience, this Edible Cocktail and a yen to do more than vacuum-seal chicken breasts with my FoodSaver, I’ve been “flash pickling” all kinds of good stuff using little more than the marinator/tube accessories on the FoodSaver, and a few basic pickling recipes. In a few hours, I can make gorgeous, crisp-tender (if sometimes mouth-sucking tart) pickled okra, green beans, cauliflower, Jerusalem artichokes, beets and onions.

    One caution for the Darwin Award contenders: this is not a technique for jarred, put ‘em up pickles. You cannot make flash pickles, put them in a jar, store the jar in your pantry for six months, eat the pickles, and live. The pickles should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

    I’ve never done any true, old school pickling, so I can’t say how flash pickles differ from “quick pickles” (other than the fact that it just sounds cooler) or how they compare to the real dill, but this process couldn’t be easier. Bonus: it doesn’t require boiling jars.

    1. Clean and cut raw vegetables and pour into marinator box. (Pictured: pickled cauliflower medley, with celery seed, black peppercorn, mustard seed, bay leaf, garlic and cider vinegar)
    Image

    Notes on other veggies: I found that leaving the stem/cap on okra keeps the slime-factor down. For bigger veggies like beets and Jerusalem artichokes, cut into small/thin pieces, no more than about 1/2 inch thick.

    2. Bring the vinegar solution and seasonings to a boil. Pour over vegetables.
    Image

    The vinegar solution varies, and I’m still toying with recipes. I've made a few batches that were too puckery to eat. I'm wondering if, because the solution gets sucked into the veggie so quickly, the "flash" method requires a weaker solution. Pickle experts, please discuss.

    For okra, I use white vinegar and a little water, along with the seasonings. For the cauliflower medley, I used straight cider vinegar with seasonings, but the recipe was far too strong. (In the future, I’ll cut with water, and may use tarragon vinegar).

    My next experiments will be Japanese tsukemono. ronnie_suburban also recommended The Joy of Pickling. I’m hoping the pro-picklers—ahem, Cathy2—will add expertise on basic pickling formulas that can be adapted for this technique.

    3. Put on the lid and tube attachment. Hit the “canister” button.
    Image

    One minor glitch in flash pickling in the marinator box: the veggies float to the top, so they’re not completely immersed in the vinegar solution. But I haven’t noticed any raw, un-pickled spots, so I’m not sure this makes a difference. The new FoodSaver has a “marinator” button that keeps sucking the air out at intervals over a 10-minute period, presumably helping the vinegar soak into the vegetable faster.

    4. Refrigerate.
    It can take as little as 3 hours to make a good, tart flash pickle, but never more than 24 hours, in my experience. It depends on the vegetable and the vinegar solution.
    Image

    Pickled Cauliflower Medley
    1 pound cauliflower, washed and broken into bite-size florets
    1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
    2 jalapenos, washed, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds and seeded*
    2 cloves garlic
    2 bay leaves
    2 cups cider vinegar
    1/2 cup water
    1 1/2 tsp. black peppercorn
    1 tsp. celery seed
    1 tsp. mustard seed
    1 tsp. pickling salt

    * If you like heat, don’t seed the jalapenos.

    Pickled Okra
    2 pounds small okra
    2 cups white vinegar
    1/2 cup water
    2 tsp. pickling salt
    1 tsp. dill seed
    1 tsp. celery seed
    2 cloves garlic
    1 tsp. mustard seed
    2 Thai chiles, sliced in half

    p.s. I’m working on Cool Stuff to do with a Vacuum-Sealer, Part 2: Sous vide. If anyone has a professional immersion heat circulator to donate to the cause, PM me.
  • Post #2 - November 3rd, 2008, 3:09 pm
    Post #2 - November 3rd, 2008, 3:09 pm Post #2 - November 3rd, 2008, 3:09 pm
    Really cool stuff, crrush. C2 gave us a seminar on old school canning last summer, and I still intend to do more of that, but the vacuum sealer approach sounds very worthy and, as you say, immediately gratifying. Must try...and I look forward to your further adventures with this device.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #3 - November 3rd, 2008, 5:56 pm
    Post #3 - November 3rd, 2008, 5:56 pm Post #3 - November 3rd, 2008, 5:56 pm
    colleen: awesome! I've got that same foodsaver container. Have you tried it with straight up cucumbers at all?
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #4 - November 4th, 2008, 7:56 am
    Post #4 - November 4th, 2008, 7:56 am Post #4 - November 4th, 2008, 7:56 am
    Haven't flash pickled cukes yet, but I'm sure they'd be good--I'd do thin slices, not spears.
  • Post #5 - November 4th, 2008, 8:07 am
    Post #5 - November 4th, 2008, 8:07 am Post #5 - November 4th, 2008, 8:07 am
    gleam wrote:colleen: awesome! I've got that same foodsaver container. Have you tried it with straight up cucumbers at all?

    Colleen,

    Terrific tutorial, you have single-handedly expanded my vac seal horizons from a single purpose tool to a multifunctional can't wait to get started pickling dynamo.

    Thanks,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - November 4th, 2008, 9:22 am
    Post #6 - November 4th, 2008, 9:22 am Post #6 - November 4th, 2008, 9:22 am
    I've been waiting for an excuse to finally buy a FoodSaver and I think this puts me over the edge! I assume the foodsaver marinating container you're using is an accessory? Thanks for the post!
  • Post #7 - November 4th, 2008, 9:41 am
    Post #7 - November 4th, 2008, 9:41 am Post #7 - November 4th, 2008, 9:41 am
    Very cool! Can't wait to try this out with my Foodsaver.

    Also, I'm no pickling expert by any means, but I think you have to increase the water to vinegar ratio. I just caught some of Tyler Florence's show yesterday & he was amking a refrigerator bread & butter pickle. He used 1 cup of vinegar to 2 cups of water (I think).
  • Post #8 - November 4th, 2008, 10:23 am
    Post #8 - November 4th, 2008, 10:23 am Post #8 - November 4th, 2008, 10:23 am
    viaChgo wrote: I think you have to increase the water to vinegar ratio. I just caught some of Tyler Florence's show yesterday & he was amking a refrigerator bread & butter pickle. He used 1 cup of vinegar to 2 cups of water (I think).


    That sounds like a better vinegar/brine solution--although, I like 'em tart, the last (cauliflower) batch was almost inedible. Almost. If I'd done a little more homework earlier, I would've noted that this technique is for "quick process pickles", not "fermented pickles". QP pickling uses acetic acid from the vinegar rather than lactic acid from fermentation.

    The marinator box is an accessory, and if you have an older FoodSaver, it's got to have the tube/port to work.
  • Post #9 - November 4th, 2008, 10:40 am
    Post #9 - November 4th, 2008, 10:40 am Post #9 - November 4th, 2008, 10:40 am
    Sweet! I have that FoodSaver "marinating" container that I used once before realizing that I don't marinate very many things. Will be nice to put it to good use!
  • Post #10 - November 5th, 2008, 12:10 pm
    Post #10 - November 5th, 2008, 12:10 pm Post #10 - November 5th, 2008, 12:10 pm
    Colleen-
    Great post, and thank you for it.

    Gonna try it right away.

    Mike
    Suburban gourmand
  • Post #11 - August 19th, 2009, 4:25 pm
    Post #11 - August 19th, 2009, 4:25 pm Post #11 - August 19th, 2009, 4:25 pm
    Flash Pickled Okra
    Image

    Life doesn't get any better than this: stop at the Farmer's Daughter, a farmstand in Gloucester, VA; ask for okra. Lady says, "Awww, hon, we're all out right now."

    [Momentary pause, hopes of pickled okra crushed]

    "...But if you wait 10 minutes, I can send someone to pick more. How much you want?"

    Guy comes back with two pounds of flawless, small okra--half green, half purple. Just picked and still prickly.

    Used the recipe in the OP, only the purple okra bled into the solution and turned it beet-juice-pink. Psychedelic. Tastes just fine. Solution still has too much twang to it. Will up the water, maybe add a little sugar next time.
  • Post #12 - August 19th, 2009, 6:08 pm
    Post #12 - August 19th, 2009, 6:08 pm Post #12 - August 19th, 2009, 6:08 pm
    Hi,

    Some of the puckerishness would lessen if you used rice vinegar, less acidic than regular white or cider vinegar. This is a tip I picked up from Cook's Illustrated article on quick pickles intended for eating right away.

    I made bread and butter pickles last week with full strength white vinegar. They won't be very good eating until six weeks after they were made. Over this time the vinegar will be come less sharp.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #13 - August 19th, 2009, 6:20 pm
    Post #13 - August 19th, 2009, 6:20 pm Post #13 - August 19th, 2009, 6:20 pm
    crrush wrote:Image

    At first glance I thought you were trying to make Kool-Aid dills with okra.
  • Post #14 - August 20th, 2009, 12:52 am
    Post #14 - August 20th, 2009, 12:52 am Post #14 - August 20th, 2009, 12:52 am
    So sorry to have missed this when if first was posted!

    Wonderful idea, post and tutorial, crrush! Truly inspired.

    Swedish food (what I cook a lot of) incorporates a fair amount of pickling. Herring, beets, cucumbers are all pickled with glee and show up frequently for lunch and dinner.

    Over here, the common/magic ratio for water/sugar/destilled vinegar (12%) is: 3/2/1. Honestly, it seems to work well for everything from quick-pickled cucumber slices to week-old pickled herring.

    I do, however, understand that your stronger brine was/is intended for the vacuum-sealer process.

    Thanks again, crrush. It gives me even more inspiration to keep hunting in Stockholm for a vacuum sealer.
  • Post #15 - November 30th, 2009, 1:10 am
    Post #15 - November 30th, 2009, 1:10 am Post #15 - November 30th, 2009, 1:10 am
    crrush wrote:It can take as little as 3 hours to make a good, tart flash pickle, but never more than 24 hours, in my experience. It depends on the vegetable and the vinegar solution.

    Colleen,

    Flash pickled a couple of times now, older model VacSealer does not have a marinate button, and it did not seem as if I was pulling a strong vacuum, but a few hours in the fridge yielded a tasty tangy crunchy twang of a pickled green bean, next day even better. Second outing I added batons of daikon and halved serrano to the green beans, daikon really soaked up the solution, and the serrano perfect for a pickled pepper lover like myself.

    My pickle loving bride has given flash pickles a solid thumbs up and, as Colleen said, flash pickling is delicious and dead-easy.

    Thanks Colleen for the inspiration and tutorial.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #16 - November 30th, 2009, 7:27 am
    Post #16 - November 30th, 2009, 7:27 am Post #16 - November 30th, 2009, 7:27 am
    Cool! I noticed that the initial twang mellows with time in the multiple batches of pickled okra I made this summer. Excellent in a Zing Zang Bloody Mary.
  • Post #17 - November 30th, 2009, 8:23 am
    Post #17 - November 30th, 2009, 8:23 am Post #17 - November 30th, 2009, 8:23 am
    Not a quick pickle, but I canned carrot pickles this year using a range of colored carrots, including purple - and experienced the same color issue ccrush noted with her purple okras (the ones that turned dingy were yellow carrots:)

    Image

    Very tasty, though.
  • Post #18 - November 30th, 2009, 3:15 pm
    Post #18 - November 30th, 2009, 3:15 pm Post #18 - November 30th, 2009, 3:15 pm
    My bride and I were discussing making our own gardiniera over the last weekend. Has anyone tried this method to make your own gardiniera?
    I'm not Angry, I'm hungry.
  • Post #19 - February 9th, 2010, 12:30 am
    Post #19 - February 9th, 2010, 12:30 am Post #19 - February 9th, 2010, 12:30 am
    G Wiv wrote:My pickle loving bride has given flash pickles a solid thumbs up and, as Colleen said, flash pickling is delicious and dead-easy.

    Seriously simple with outstanding results.

    Okra, beans, garlic, serrano

    Image

    Into the vacuum canister with pickling mix

    Image

    Hook up, pull a vacuum

    Image

    Image

    Four hours in the fridge and, Bob's yer Uncle, pickles. I also charred/deskinned a long red Hungarian pepper, and marinated in vinaigrette.

    Flash Pickle, Marinated Hungarian Pepper

    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - March 4th, 2010, 2:27 pm
    Post #20 - March 4th, 2010, 2:27 pm Post #20 - March 4th, 2010, 2:27 pm
    You can do this with fruit. Check this out:
    http://www.fiftyfourdegrees.com/lang/en-us/archives/994

    Nicolas"casquette"Ait-haddi
    Fifty Four Degrees
    www.fiftyfourdegrees.com

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