Not long ago I received the wonderful book The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich and have relished turning its informative pages and planning my next pickle. Wanting to try a new recipe from the book, and with limited time prior to a recent dinner gathering, I chose a method of pickling I hadn’t even imagined–freezing. Behold, The Freezer Pickle, or “Frickle” as they’ve come to be known around our kitchen.
I’m imagining some of you thinking, “how does that even work?” or “are those even pickles?” To my mind, since you are still packing them in a vinegar-salt-sugar brine, that equals pickle. And as Linda points out in her introduction to this section of the book, “This is a very effective way to preserve not just vegetables but also herbal flavors that weaken or die in canning and drying.” So not only is this a fast method for pickling, it can also make for a more dynamic pickle when pressed for time. You just transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator several hours before you’d like to eat them and there you have it. Pickle pleasure, with little ice crystals to boot.
For my first batch, the texture after pickling was not exactly to my liking but my guests didn’t seem to mind. It’s entirely possible they were just being polite, or perhaps they recognized an adventurous pickler and were able to adjust their expectations accordingly. In any event, there were few left by the end of the evening so it couldn’t have been that bad. I chose to experiment with the vegetable selection, as I had some zucchini and yellow squash on hand, along with one of my favorites, radishes. What I found is that the zucchini and squash didn’t have a lot of crisp left in them after they thawed, but that’s also with the fact in mind that they’re not necessarily the most crispy vegetables to begin with. So choose your fricklin’ vegetables carefully!
I’d like to try it again with carrots and also see how cucumbers fare. I used a bunch of radishes, and about three each of the zucchini and yellow squash. I sliced them up into rounds and poured them into a large bowl.
Toss the slices with your coarse salt and let stand for several hours. In another bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups cider or white vinegar and chopped fresh dill or other herbs of your choosing. I like to include mustard seeds and tarragon, maybe some coriander or celery seeds–play around with it and see what you favor. Pour this mixture over your vegetables and mix well. Refrigerate it for a few hours–Linda suggests 8 to 10–and then pack them into your jars and freeze. Again, you’ll want to transfer them back to the refrigerator to thaw about eight hours before you’re ready to eat. Also, don’t forget to leave enough room at the top of your container as food expands when it freezes.
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