Pickles have been a prominent addition to the Ottoman and Turkish diets and tables for centuries. Both healthy and nutritious, they also enhance the flavors of many Turkish dishes and serve as preferred sides to legumes and other dishes, especially during the winter months. Pickle juice is also considered a hangover cure in Turkey.
The most commonly found pickles are vegetables such as cabbage, cucumbers, green tomatoes, green peppers, beets, carrots, and red peppers. However, Turks know that just about anything can be pickled; and, you will also commonly find alternatives such as red onions, plums, and even cashews and almonds.
To make Turkish pickles, you can pickle a single vegetable separately, or you can combine a number of them to create mixed pickles (see our Turkish pickle recipe below). It is essential to pay attention to the maturity and consistency of the chosen vegetable. And, if mixing, pay attention to the harmony of your ingredients. Some vegetables will release their colors during the pickling process, like red cabbage. So, if you don’t want to have all your pickles affected, it may be better to separate them.
Ensure that the vegetables and fruits you use are firm and fresh. It is advisable to clean your vegetables thoroughly before pickling, which you can do simply by soaking the vegetables in vinegar and water. Finally, if you would like to keep your pickles fresh for a long time, use many smaller jars rather than one large pot.
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Turkish pickles recipe
- 500 gr of pepper
- 2 carrots
- 1 kg of gherkin cucumber
- 1/2 white cabbage
- 1 kg of green tomatoes
- 3 bulbs of garlic
- 1 pinch of parsley
- 1 teaspoon of lemon salt (citric acid)
- 4 cups of red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of rock salt
- Wash all vegetables well. In a large pot (different from the one we will pickle the vegetables in) ; chop the tomatoes, carrots and red peppers. You can add the peppers either whole or chopped. You can chop bigger cucumbers and throw the smaller ones as a whole.
- Peel the garlic and chop it and sprinkle it on your mixed vegetables. Fill the vegetables with enough water and add 2 cups of vinegar. Soak the vegetables in vinegar water mix for a minimum of 1 hour.
- After soaking your vegetables in vinegar & water, press them down inside sterilised jars. Make sure that you push the vegetables inside the jar tightly.
- The most important part of Turkish pickle recipe is the water, vinegar and salt mixture. The golden ratio for this mixture is 1 litre of tap water, 100ml of vinegar and 2.5 tablespoons of sea or rock salt. Make sure that the salt completely melts before filling your jar with this mixture. As long as you follow the golden ratio, it is ok if there is some mixture left after filling your jars.
- Finally, fill your jar with your water, salt vinegar mixture and put the parsley on top of the jar, add the lemon salt and close the lids tightly. Leave it in a sun-free place for about 3 weeks before serving.
* While chopping carrots and cucumbers, you can catch a different presentation by using a serrated knife.
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