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PICKLED VEGETABLES

Listed below are various pickled or preserved vegetables commonly used in Finnish cooking and in the recipes of this site. Most of these preparations are store-bought (like olives and capers), but some may also be prepared at home.

See also:



Pickled gherkins

Pickled gherkins

Pickled gherkins are small garden cucumbers preserved in spiced brine. In Finland, the two different types of pickled gherkins most commonly consumed are regular gherkins preserved in sugar-vinegar brine, and Russian gherkins preserved in salt brine.

Gherkins are most often sold pickled whole or sliced.

Read more about the difference of Russian and regular pickled gherkins here.

 
Pickled beetroots

Pickled beetroots

Pickled beetroots are a popular preserve in Finland. The beetroots are cooked and pickled whole or sliced in a sweet-and-sour brine consisting of water, spirit vinegar, sugar, salt and spices like cloves and pepper.

The beetroots are used cubed or shredded in vegetable salads or served sliced to accompany various meat, fish and vegetable dishes.

See a recipe for Finnish pickled beetroots.


Pickled pearl onions

Pickled pearl onions

Pickled onions are tiny button or pearl onions preserved in sweet-and-sour brine. The brine is made with water, spirit vinegar and sugar, seasoned with spices like white pepper, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaf and/or ginger.

Pickled pearl onions have a piquant, acidic flavour. They are used in cocktail bites, to garnish drinks and snacks or added to various vegetable or meat dishes, like salads, stews and sauces.

Pickled hot peppers

Pickled jalapeño pepper slices

Pickled pepper preserves are made with various small, more or less hot chilli peppers pickled in vinegar brine. The variety of peppers used ranges from milder tasting red chilli peppers to hotter green jalapeños.

Pickled peppers are served mainly as a condiment for hotdogs or kebabs and various Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes.


Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is shredded white cabbage preserved using the lactic acid fermentation process.

Read more about sauerkraut here.

Marinated mushrooms

Marinated wild mushrooms

Wild mushrooms salted or marinated and pickled in various ways are very popular in Russia and southeastern Finland. The mushrooms may be preserved using salt only, or differently flavoured savoury or sweet-and-sour marinades. Marinated mushrooms are usually prepared at home, since these types of mushroom products are seldom sold in Finnish grocery stores, except for fresh, canned and salted mushrooms. Differently marinated and pickled mushrooms are mainly found sold in Russian and Estonian specialty shops and delis.

See a recipe for wild mushroom pickle, marinated champignons or salted mushrooms.


Cucumber relish

Cucumber relish

Cucumber relish is a piquant, sweet-and-sour tasting preserve made with shredded or finely chopped cucumber pickled in sugar-vinegar brine. It is usually seasoned with onion, red bell pepper, dill and mustard seeds. The more pungent "mustard cucumber relish" is seasoned with mustard powder.

Cucumber relish is mainly served as a condiment for junk food like sausages, frankfurters, hotdogs and hamburgers. Indeed, most commercially made brands of cucumber relish taste rather horrible and are not fit to be served with any "proper food" :-)

Pumpkin pickles

Pumpkin pickles

Pumpkin pickles is made with cubed pumpkin cooked tender and preserved in sweet-and-sour pickling brine. The brine usually consists of water, spirit vinegar and sugar, seasoned with spices like white pepper, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger etc.

The piquant, sweet-and-sour pumpkin pickles may be served to accompany many vegetable and meat dishes, or used in snacks, cocktail bites and fillings.

See a recipe for pumpkin pickles.


Olives
(Olea europaea)

Greek Kalamata olives

In order to become edible "table olives", olives have to go through special ripening processes, reducing their bitterness. This is done by either soaking and fermenting them in brine, or treating them with an alkaline or caustic soda solution.

The colour of olives that are harvested half-ripe is yellow, just turning to red. Those that are harvested just before they are ripe, are light green. Fully ripe olives are black or dark purple.

In picture above: fermented Greek "black" Kalamata olives.

Unripe green olives are processed according to the Spanish or American method:

  • In the Spanish method, the olives, picked when light green, are first soaked in caustic soda solution and then fermented in brine. During the process, their colour changes from a light to a darker green.
  • In the American method, the olives, picked when yellow, are soaked in an alkaline solution and exposed to air, which causes them to turn black, without truly ripening. They are also soaked in brine, but without fermentation.
Fully ripe black olives are processed according to the Greek method:
  • Without the use of any chemicals, the olives are fermented in brine for several months. Black olives may also be preserved in salt or dried in the sun.

Besides being eaten as a snack, table olives can be added to various dishes and sauces or used as a condiment.

Red pepper stuffed green olives

In picture above: pickled green olives stuffed with red pepper.

Capers
(Capparis spinosa)

Caper berries

Capers are the flower buds of a prickly Mediterranean bush. The tiny buds are most often sold pickled in vinegar or brine, or preserved dry in salt. Capers lend a piquant, slightly pungent flavour to numerous dishes, sauces and spreads. They should be drained before use, and the salted ones rinsed.

Caper berries are the mature fruit of the caper bush, developed from the flower buds, if left unpicked. They are most often found sold pickled in vinegar. Like olives, they are eaten as a snack and used to garnish cocktails. They can also be used to flavour various dishes instead of regular capers.

In picture above: large caper berries (top) and small caper flower buds (bottom).


Japanese pickled ginger
(Zingiber officinale)

Japanese pickled ginger

Japanese pickled ginger, also called amazu shoga, beni shoga or gari, is fresh gingerroot sliced paper-thin and marinated in sweet-and-sour rice vinegar brine. Gari is traditionally served to accompany sushi and sashimi, eaten between different pieces of sushi to freshen the palate.

Especially if the ginger root used for making gari is very fresh, the acid in the vinegar will turn its colour pink. To enhance the colour, red food colouring is usually added to most types of commercially made gari. Also the purple leaves of perilla plant (Perilla frutescens) are sometimes used to both flavour and dye the pickled ginger.

See a recipe for Japanese pickled ginger.

Pickled ramson stems
(Allium ursinum)

Pickled ramson stems

Ramson  —  also known as wild garlic  —  is an old medicinal and culinary plant. Besides its leaves, flowers and bulbs, the stems of ramson are used in cooking.

Ramson has flavour and scent reminiscent of garlic shoots or green onion/scallion and can be used as vegetable or herb added to salads, soups, pies and sauces.

Especially in Russian and Caucasian cuisine, ramson stems are commonly preserved by salting, pickling/marinating or fermenting, like sauerkraut. The stems may be added to salads and other dishes, or simply eaten sliced on top of open-faced sandwiches.

In picture above: ramson stems preserved using lactic acid fermentation.


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