Unveiling the Art of Instant Pickling

At SUSAN BIJL, we constantly seek out opportunities to ignite creativity and we love to explore unique ways of preparing food & flavours that inspire, one way or another.

Recently, our team embarked on a culinary adventure– a workshop led by the renowned chef Peter van Berckel, delving into the captivating world of instant pickles. If you’ve read more of our food related blogs, you are familiar with our love for onion pickles!

Pickles, but make it Tsukemono!

The word "tsukemono" means a food item that undergoes flavour and texture transformations by rubbing it with salt or immersing it in a salty liquid or paste. "Tsuké" means marinated or immersed, and "mono" means thing.

Pickles from the press are short and quick fermentations, also known as pressed salads or instant pickles. You eat the ‘tsukemono’ pickles in small portions as a side dish with your meal. Pickles are a culinary enrichment in your selection of vegetable preparations due to their unique crispness, and they are super healthy because they support and promote digestion and intestinal function.

The pickle press

In the pickle press, an environment is created by adding salt and applying pressure, allowing microorganisms to multiply and produce enzymes. You won't taste the sour flavour of lactic acid, such as in sauerkraut, because the fermentation time of these pickles is too short. Nevertheless, these shorter fermentations provide beneficial lactic acid bacteria and enzymes that help and strengthen your digestive system. Under favourable conditions, in just eight hours, one bacterium can produce sixteen million copies of itself!

An advantage is that relatively little salt is added for this fermentation method, usually 2% of the weight of the vegetables. Due to the low salt content, these are not fermentations meant for long-term preservation. You make them fresh and store them in the refrigerator for a few days to a few weeks.

From the tangy and crisp cucumber slices to the delicate sweetness of pickled carrots and rhubarb. Peter's inventive workshop and recipes have broadened our palate and inspired us to experiment with flavours even more.

The basic-pickle-method-recipe from Peter’s book:

With this basic recipe, you can't go wrong with pickling. Even if you don't add anything other than salt, your pickle will still be crispy and tasty. 

  • Choose a vegetable. Weigh it and add 2% of the vegetable weight in fine sea salt.

  • Cut or grate the vegetable into the desired shape and size. Mix or knead the salt into the vegetables. This is called "shio momi" in Japan: it bruises the cell structure of the vegetable, which helps in the pickling process and ultimately aids digestion. Add flavourings if desired.

  • Put everything in the pickle press, cover it, and let it ferment under pressure at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Eight hours of pickling at room temperature is equivalent to 24 hours of chilled pickling. The minimum pickling time is 30 minutes to several hours or even days. A pickle is ready when the texture, taste, and colour have changed, and the salt has penetrated the vegetable. Pickles have a crispy and tangy-salty taste. Store pickles in a clean glass jar in the refrigerator

Get your own pickle press here! 

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