Have you wanted to make your own pickles but were intimidated by the process?
I wanted to let you in on a great tip for making quick, healthy pickles with many different kinds of vegetables. These are called Quick Ume Pickles – thinly sliced vegetables pickled in umeboshi or ume plum vinegar and water (that’s it!).
Naturally fermented pickles such as these are a beneficial addition to a plant-based diet as they aid in digestion of complex carbohydrates and have the sour taste that is tonifying to the liver. I prefer salt-fermented pickles such as these over vinegar-based pickles because of the beneficial lactobacillus fermentation that occurs, which aids in digestion and makes me feel good after a meal.
What is umeboshi or ume plum vinegar?
I use ume plum vinegar in a lot of things, like salad dressings, hummus, guacamole, and of course pickles! Ume plum vinegar is an alkalizing, raw, probiotic condiment with a distinctive sweet-sour-salty taste. It is technically not a vinegar, but rather the salty byproduct of making umeboshi plums, which are sought after for their healing properties.
Simliar to sauerkraut “juice,” which you can now purchase by itself for its probiotic qualities, ume vinegar contains probiotics and is good for digestion, along with having a delicious taste. In Austin, you can get various brands of ume plum vinegar at Whole Foods, Central Market, and Wheatsville Coop.
How to make quick ume pickles
Wash, dry, and thinly slice or grate vegetables you’d like to pickle. Try using carrots, cucumbers, purple daikon, red radishes, watermelon radishes, beets, or red onions. Place in a large bowl.
Drizzle ume plum vinegar over sliced vegetables to coat. Gently massage vinegar into vegetables. Add herbs or seasonings, if desired, such as chopped garlic, fresh or dried dill, coriander seeds, or lemon zest. Or just leave plain to get the true flavor of the vegetable.
Pack veggies into clean jar and add enough water to just cover the vegetables. You should have roughly equal amounts of vinegar and water. Loosely cover and let sit on the counter for several hours. Pickles can be eaten in less than and hour but will get stronger in flavor and more pickled the longer they sit. Refrigerate after veggies have been pickling several hours. Colors will become more vibrant once they have pickled overnight in the refrigerate. Eat within 1 month of pickling. Enjoy!
- 4 cups red radishes or purple daikon radishes, sliced thinly into rounds or half moons
- ¼ cup ume plum vinegar or umeboshi vinegar
- ¼ cup spring or filtered water
- Place radishes in a bowl and drizzle with ume plum vinegar. Massage vinegar into vegetables for about 30 seconds.
- Add water and mix to combine. Let sit for about 15 minutes and you will see water coming out of the radishes. Make sure that radishes are pushed down to the bottom of the bowl so that they are completely covered by the pickling solution.
- Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least one hour to start the pickling process.
- Transfer radishes and liquid to a pint canning jar. Store in the refrigerator. By the next day, each radish will uniformly colored bright pink throughout.
- Will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.
- Try using other thinly sliced vegetables, such as cucumber, carrot, red onion, purple cabbage, purple daikon, or watermelon radish.
- Add fresh dill, garlic, ginger, or coriander seed to flavor the pickles.
- For a large batch of pickles, use the following quantities: 4 pounds thinly sliced radishes, 1¼ cups or one 10-ounce bottle ume plum vinegar, and 1¼ cups spring or filtered water.