Pickling is one of the oldest ways to preserve food safely and deliciously without refrigeration. Practiced by virtually every civilization and culture throughout history, there are many styles and different flavor profiles. Pickling may involve vinegar, brine, oil, or salt, but spices are a common ingredient for both the flavor they add and their natural antimicrobial properties.
There are countless ways to use spices in pickling. Quick pickles are the fastest method, while fully infusing spices into pickled vegetables takes an extended period of time. Always add spices as early as possible in the pickling process to extract maximum flavor.
TRY IT OUT
Slice cucumbers into coins and toss with chili flakes, garlic powder, salt, and a splash of vinegar. Let the cucumbers sit in a bowl at room temperature for 30–60 minutes, then enjoy as a salad or snack
Cabbage absorbs a ton of flavor as it ferments, to which fermentation traditions from Germany to Korea can attest. Slice whole cabbages into fine strips and massage with salt. Place in a colander over a sink and leave it until the excess moisture drains, 45-60 minutes, then rinse with cold water. In a small bowl, mix whole coriander, caraway, wild mountain cumin, silk chili, and a tiny amount of ground turmeric. Massage into the cabbage with a little more salt and pack into a large mason jar with a loosened cap or a pickling crock. Ferment at room temperature for at least 1 week.