Pickled carrots, jicama, cauliflower, and string beans make a healthy snack to have on hand. The carrots offer a great deal of beta-carotene and iron. The jicama and cauliflower provide vitamin C and potassium, and the sting beans have a good deal of antioxidants and also add some color to the combination. The vinegar here is well seasoned with the essence of mustard, dill weed, and garlic, all offset with a hint of sweet and balancing brown sugar. The pickling liquid makes an excellent dressing for any salad.
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut in round on the diagonal (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound string beans
1 small head of cauliflower, broken into florets (about 2 cups)
1/2 raw jicama, peeled and cut in half and cut into sticks
2 cups purified water
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dill weed
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pickling spices or:
5 bay leaves
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon dill seed
1 1/2 teaspoons red chili flakes
Fill a large pot with 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. First drop in the carrots and parboil for 2 minutes, then quickly scoop them with a strainer or large slotted spoon and transfer to a pot filled with cold water and ice to shock them. Drop the sting beans into the boiling water and cook just until they turn bright green (about 3 minutes), then quickly transfer them to the ice water. The cauliflower will only need to parboil for 1 minute. Let all the vegetables sit in the cold water for a few minutes to cool. Drain the cold water, remove the cooled vegetables to a big bowl, and add the raw jicama.
Put all the dressing ingredients including the pickling spices in a stainless-steel pan set over medium heat, bring it to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the cooked dressing over the vegetables and allow them to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, put the vegetables into a 1-gallon glass jar or lidded plastic container and fill it with as much dressing as the jar will hold. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days before eating.
Tips from Rosie's Kitchen:
Blanching your vegetables makes them porous to absorb flavor from the dressing. Cooling them rapidly shocks the vegetables and stops any further cooking; shocking them quickly keeps your pickles crisp and crunchy rather than limp and rubber. The jicama is porous enough raw, so it doesn't need to be blanched. Each vegetable is blanched separately because some vegetables need more time than others, and we want them all to be crisp and flavorful.
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