Last fall, while attending the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta, the Oldways team enjoyed a dinner at chef Hugh Acheson’s restaurant, Empire South. Under “Snackies for the Table” the menu oﬀered an assortment of tasty nibbles, including pickled vegetables, served in small glass jars. We went crazy for the pickled carrots and beans, and struck up a conversation with the waiter, who explained that the restaurant works with several local pickle makers. We also came home with a few copies of Pick A Pickle, Hugh Acheson’s swatch book featuring 50 recipes for pickles and other fermented foods.
And we’ve been pickling vegetables ever since. It’s so very easy. Just make a brine, add the veggies, and wait for a few days.
In addition to adding sharp clean ﬂavors to your plate, pickled veggies, from sauerkraut to kimchi, plus a wide range of other fermented foods, are good for you. They can introduce beneﬁcial bacteria to your digestive system and help you absorb more of the nutrients in the other foods you eat. To read all about it, we recommend The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz.
Here’s our current fermented favorite, a recipe for slaw that’s popular in Latin American countries. Add it to sandwiches and wraps, serve it as a side with tacos, or just toss it into a green salad to wake everything up. It’s almost too pretty to eat, but not after you take the ﬁrst bite!
Recipe developed by Francis Lam for The New York Times
1 pound cabbage (red or green or both) ﬁnely shredded
2 ½ cups water
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
½ cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
½ to 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
Black pepper to taste
Ground cumin, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large, clean glass or stainless steel bowl. Using clean tongs or your hands, gently crush the vegetables in the brine. Place a clean plate on top of the vegetables, and weigh it down to fully submerge them under the brine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 3 days, or longer to your taste; the ﬂavor will deepen and mellow over time. When it’s to your liking, transfer to clean jars, making sure the brine covers the vegetables, and store in the refrigerator. It will keep for weeks.