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A Pickle a Day

Photographs by Hadas Margulies

Making pickles is easier and more health supportive than you might think. Pickled foods act as probiotics, or “good bacteria.” This means they support a healthy colon, promote digestion and strengthen the immune system. Our digestive systems work hard all day processing both the good and bad bacteria that we’re eating. In Chinese medicine, pickles are actually used as a liver tonic (perhaps we’ve pinpointed a hangover cure?), so It’s most definitely worth it to listen to your gut on this one and make yourself some custom pickles.

I love a classic dill pickle, but pretty much anything can be pickled. This time around, I decided to explore the farmer’s market for some seasonal inspiration. I chose cabbage, sweet potatoes, beets and purple, white and orange carrots.

To make a simple brine, fill a jar about half way with raw and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Add a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar and a couple pinches of sea salt. Then get creative with your spices.

For my cabbage pickles, I added Chinese peppercorn, dried red pepper, mustard seeds, coriander powder, caraway seeds, rosemary and thyme.

For the beet pickles, I went with a sweeter approach, adding cinnamon, clove, cardamom, mango powder, turmeric, mustard seeds, coriander powder, rosemary and thyme.

The carrot pickles were seasoned with chopped onions, rosemary, turmeric, mustard seeds, coriander powder, caraway seeds, Chinese peppercorn, cumin, dried red pepper, oregano and thyme.

And all are delicious. These were the spices I had on hand, and I’d recommend them. Nearly all of them are anti-inflammatory or detoxifying, giving your pickles a serious health boost. Feel free, of course, to explore your own pantry when pickling. Once the spices are added to the vinegar mixture, fill the jars with your chopped raw veggies as tightly as possible. Add water until the jars are full; cover and shake. Leave them in the fridge for 3 to 5 days before opening. Enjoy within three weeks.

Find Hadas Margulies at HadasMargulies.

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