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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mama Masha's classics - pickling

Don't panic, folks, it's really not that hard. I learned pickling very early. Fruits and vegetables were so seasonal in Ukraine, that we had to find every way imaginable to make them last through the rest of the year. It wasn't just a question of enjoyment, but a very serious health item. In the period between November and April, vitamin deficiency became so severe, that many of us, especially kids (myself included) suffered from rickets. So, having some source of vitamins through winter was essential.

The good news is - you can use the same pickling solution and the same process for anything. There are tons of instructions on the internet on how to sterilize and vacuum-seal the jars, so I will not bore you with that. Instead, here is the recipe of my pickling solution and some ideas for what you can do with it.

Pickling solution (this fills three large 24-oz jars)

- 3 cups water

- 2-1/5 cups vinegar

- 1/4 cup pickling salt Note: this need not be pickling salt specifically, but it MUST be the non-iodized salt.

- 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Other things to add to each jar (optional)

- 2 pepper corns

- 1 garlic clove

- 1 sprig of fresh dill or a pinch of dry dill

- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary or a pinch of dry rosemary

- 2 sprigs of parsley or a large pinch of dry parsley

- 1 pinch of caraway seeds

Things to pickle

1. Cherry tomatoes.

2. Cucumbers (little ones can be pickled whole, and big ones - in slices).

3. Zucchini (same principle as cucumbers).

4. Tomatoes and bell peppers combined. When it's green bell peppers, I call them my "Christmas jars".

5. Cherry tomatoes with coarsely sliced sweet onions.

6. Different color bell peppers with sweet onions.

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