Although I am a food blogger by night, by day I am an account and project manager for an online marketing company. And let me tell you guys, I work for an amazing company. I love the people that I work with, I love the work that we do, and I love the clients that we serve. Most of all, I love the energy and amicability that is in the office. I’m not talking about a bunch of people walking around with perpetual dance fever, cause that’s jus exhausting, and we got rul work to do. What I’m talking about is a group of wonderful people that genuinely enjoy sharing in the excitement of their coworkers. Whenever someone has something to share that they’re excited about, our whole team gets excited with them. It’s jus beautiful.
I remember when I first told my coworkers about my blog. It kind of happened by accident when we were talking one Monday morning about what we had done that weekend. I began talking about the photoshoots I had done for my blog, and immediately everyone’s ears perked up. Within minutes everyone was looking at it on their computer, putting it up on the projector, and exclaiming over their favorite posts. I had only been blogging here for about a month at that point, and was still very unconfident with my new fancy camera, with WordPress, and with the blogging world. (Heck, I still am.) Hearing their praise and encouragement was such a confidence booster, especially since it was coming from professionals in the web design industry!
Not only have my coworkers remained supportive of my blog by consistently checking on and talking to me about it, many of them have even offered their services to help me maintain it! Guys, tell me that’s not huge and jus so wonderful. My boss even got me a ticket to an incredible Food Writer’s Symposium back in June, an experience that was catalytic for my blog. What I learned there as a result of wonderful guidance and advice from world-renowned participants in the food writing world improved my writing, my photo styling, and caused all of the new social media presences for StrictlyDelicious.
But, believe it or not, this post is not about my awesome coworkers, or even about the great blogging advice I got at the symposium. This blog post stems from one small side item at the lunch they served us on the second day of workshops. Yes, it’s crazy how big the small things can be. In fact, this item was just something I ate on the side, but I believe was meant to be a condiment for the sandwiches they provided! Whatever they were meant to be, the moment I first tasted refrigerator pickles, I was hooked.
Vinegary and tart. Somehow sweet and salty at the same time. I kept going back for more of those pickles! I loved how they were as crunchy as a raw vegetable, but somehow also tender. To me, these pickled vegetables were a -magical wonder.- And when I found out they were house-made at the restaurant and prepared in a matter of hours (not days or weeks), I knew I needed to get on this magical fridge pickle boat AY-ESS-AY-PEE.
After weeks of hungrily devouring pickling recipes and guidance from cookbooks and blogs, I was ready to decide which vegetables I would try my hand at pickling first. I wanted to do at least one root vegetable and one item that was a teensy bit unusual. I decided on luscious beets and delicate asparagus.
I couldn’t be more happy with the way they turned out! These pickles are everything I had hoped for and more. I didn’t want them to be too sweet, as I wanted them to be able to be really versatile. They’re the perfect amount of tart, sweet, and salty, with flavoring from the spices that causes my hand to engage in an endless jar-to-face routine.
The asparagus is ready in 24 hours, but gets better if you wait 48 hours. The beets take a little longer, but are ready in 5 days, tender and juicy, all up in your mouth.
I’m sure refrigerator pickles have endless uses and I really do intend to explore some of them, but I can’t stop eating them straight from the jar! If you can manage to control yourself, these refrigerator pickles last for 2-3 months, and would be great on top of salads or served as a side dish. And a fresh jar makes an excellent gift to a hostess, friend, or family member!
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg's)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sea salt
- 5 small beets
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves, divided
- 1 1/2 bunches of asparagus (or about 1 1/2 lbs.)
- 4 medium sized garlic cloves, sliced thickly
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, divided
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, divided
- Bring the water and apple cider vinegar to a boil. When it's reached a boil, remove it from heat and stir in the salt and sugar until dissolved.
- Let the pickling liquid cool until it reaches room temperature. If you have extra after making these pickles, the pickling liquid can last indefinitely, so don't throw it away! (And stay tuned for another pickling recipe.)
- Cut the tops and bottoms off of the beets and wash them well. With a vegetable peeler, peel off all of the skin on the beets.
- Cut the beets in half from top to bottom. Lay the flat sides on a cutting board and cut very thin slices of beet, about 1/4 to 1/8 inch in thickness.
- Add the beet slices to two mason jars until they're snug, but not too tight to move around when shaken.
- Pour enough pickling liquid over the beet slices to cover them and add 1/4 teaspoon of cloves to each jar.
- Refrigerate for 5 days before eating.
- Wash the asparagus spears well under cold water and then snap off their tough, fibrous bottoms.
- Cut the trimmed asparagus spears in half, or to the height of your mason jar.
- Add the spears to the mason jar, again, putting them in snugly, but not too tight so that they can't move. Add half of the the coriander, peppercorns, and garlic slices to each jar around the asparagus spears, and then pour enough pickling liquid over the spears to cover them.
- Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating.