Middle Eastern Style Garden Pickles

garden pickles

(yield:  about 8 cups)

Adapted from Quick Pickles: Easy Recipes for Big Flavor by Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby, and Dan George

Some folks believe vinegar pickles originated in the Middle East, which may be true since there are entire stores devoted to pickles in Istanbul, Turkey.  These pickles are part of a traditional spread known as mezze.  Serve them with several kinds of olives, fresh tomato wedges, cucumber slices, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, or grilled meat.

8 cups, total, of the following vegetables in any proportion you want:

carrots, peeled or scrubbed very well and cut lengthwise into strips about 3-4 inches long

bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips

green beans, whole or halved

radishes, halved

cauliflower florets, cut lengthwise into 2 or 3 slices

green or red cabbage, outer leaves removed and cut into bite sized pieces

red or golden beets, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick into half-moons

5 to 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper

2 cups white or red wine vinegar

2 1/3 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

In a large nonreactive bowl or jar, combine the vegetables, garlic and red pepper flakes to taste. Mix well.

In a large nonreactive pitcher or bowl, combine the vinegar, water and salt, whisking well to dissolve the salt.  Pour this mixture over the vegetables, mix gently but well, and cover the container with a clean cloth or napkin.  Allow to stand at room temperature for 3 days, then cover and refrigerate.

These pickles can be eaten right away but their flavor improves over several days.  Pickles will keep covered and refrigerated for at least 1 month, if not longer.