How to make Encurtido, Honduran pickling!
Honduran pickled vegetables
Sweet, Savoury and Sour
Spring finally decided to arrive and I am so ready to pickle! The sweet, savoury and sour taste that pickling gives to food is one of my all-time favourite dishes adds. There are two methods for pickling: "Fermentation" which is a chemical reaction between sugars and natural existent bacteria and preservation by acidic solutions such as vinegar, that consists in submerging the intended pickling ingredient into the solution.
Before pickling, it is important to be aware of its safety measurements since it is a food that will be preserved. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, the vinegar that is used for pickling should have 5% acidity or higher for it to preserve the food. Preservation method for shelf-stable canning and refrigerator pickles is different because there is an acidity level that has to be reached in order to prevent toxins to develop on your pickles. That is why Food safety experts expect pickles to have a 1:1 ratio of vinegar in it.
For this recipe, I am preserving for shelf-stable jar of pickles. I am brining the vegetables, draining them, and boiling them in vinegar. Letting them sit until they get to room temperature and can them. Encurtido consists of pickling cauliflower, carrots, beets, onions, jalapenos, and beets. Making Encurtido while being far from home took me back to my family's dining table, where there would be a Jar of Encurtido on the center beside of a small bottle of infused garlic oil. It was rare the meal I wasn't tempted to add some pickled veggies to my salad or meal, especially because of the touch of spiciness which I believe is kind of addicting. In Honduras, we tend to add Encurtido on top of Pastelitos, Tamales, and other traditional dishes ( Instead of me, cause I add Encurtido to everything). We also pickle white cabbage and add it to some of our staple dishes within Encurtido.
What vinegar to use? There are a variety of options when it comes to choosing the vinegar for your pickled veggies such as white vinegar, apple cider, white wine, and rice vinegar. When you are choosing a vinegar, you also want to choose an appropriate vinegar that will fit with the desired final product to taste and look like (colour and texture). For example, red onions turn pink when they are exposed to white vinegar. However, distilled white vinegar does not affect the colour and taste of your products. Apple cider tends to darken your products, thus it gives you a milder tang. Also, use vinegar that guarantees the percentage or level of acidity that is labeled, so you are sure that your product will be safely preserved.
Pickling salt is ideal for the process since it does not contain anti-caking ingredients and it is granulated, but it is not necessarily the only salt you can use. Never use iodized table salt because that flavour will come out on your pickling. You can use any salt that is pure and without any additives. Kosher salt is a good example of a salt that does not contain additives in contrast to Morton salt.
Water: Use pure water, should be non- chlorinated and without minerals so it doesn't affect the taste of your product (use bottled water if necessary)
Remember fresh vegetables are key to obtain tasty pickled veggies!
The good the quality of the product you start it is, the good the quality of your final product will be.
1 1/2 white onions
3 carrots carrots
1 head cauliflower
1 24 oz can pickled jalapenos
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp ground pepper
2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water for beets
1.5 cup water for brine
water for boiling
1. Wash and peel your vegetables. Cut your beets first into sticks or coins and fill a saucepan with water. Cook the beets on medium heat and set a timer for 20min. Drain the beets (save the water) and cool them until they get to room temperature. Individually, Repeat the process for cauliflower ( 1 min on Heat)
2. While waiting for your beets to cook, start cutting the rest of your vegetables.
onions: thin slices
beets: Batonnet (sticks) or coins
carrots: batonnet (sticks), julienne or coins (long thin strips)
cauliflower: bite -sized pieces
3. In a saucepan, add water and bring it to boil. Cook onions for 25-30 seconds (no more than that). Drain and refresh with cold water.
4. Cook carrots for 3 min. Add all your veggies and season with salt, Black pepper (crushed and peppercorns), bay leaf, clove, sugar and oregano. Mix them all together and Add 1/2 cup the water where your beets where cooked, vinegar and bring to boil. Toss to evenly mix.
5.Let your pickles at room temperature for about 2 hours, then place them into an air-tight sterilized container.
I really hope you enjoyed this Honduran staple food recipe!
Thank you for visiting, Happy cooking :)