Vitamin packed colourful pickled salad
In Serbia, like in most of the Central-eastern European countries, we have a tradition of making a stock of specially prepared fruit and veggies for the winter. The range is wide, from all sorts of fruit jams, juices and sirops to various pickled vegetables, including this mix of colourful pickled salad. We call the veggie part “Turšija”. It came to Serbia with the Ottoman Empire but the word originates from Persian “torshi” and means a mix of pickled vegetables.
You can pickle almost any vegetable: green tomatoes, pepper (long pointed one, not the bell pepper), cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, baby cucumbers, onion, garlic… They can either be pickled separately, one vegetable at a time, or as a mix like this colourful pickled salad that I urge you to try. It is the most efficient way to preserve the vitamines and eat healthy “greens” all through the winter when naturally you can eat very few fresh vegetables. Some of the vegetables get even healthier when pickled. The fermented cabbage for example develops super powerful probiotics that boost immunity and are specially beneficial to people with stomach ulcer.
Why is this recipe different
Many of the “turšija” recipes contain chemical preservatives that keep the pickled veggies unspoiled for a very long time. However, if you have been following my blog, you have understood that I do not like food additives. Most of them are harmful and some present a high risk for health. Fortunately there are natural ways to ferment vegetables and my recipe is definitively one of them. Correction, my mom’s recipe! My mom is a retired chef and has always been very careful to use only natural ingredients in her cooking.
This fermentation method requires only salt and cold water. As simple as that! There are however a few mandatories:
– you have to choose only very “healthy” vegetables – no bruises, or spots or any (even the smallest) trace of rotting,
– need to wash the vegetables very thoroughly, maybe using a veggie brush to scrub well,
– need glass jars that close hermetically and need to wash them very thoroughly as well.
The recipe that I am about to propose is made partly with my garden vegetables. Some tomatoes and cherry tomatoes that would not have any chance to ripen as well as the 3 carrots I had left in the ground.
Servings: 2,5l of pickled salad. Preparation time: 30 minutes vegetables preparation + 24h rest + 15 minutes jar filling
1/2 White Cabbage
3 big Carrots
400g of Green Tomatoes
a handful of Green Cherry Tomatoes
1 big Red or Yellow Oignon
2 red-orange Long Pointy Peppers
330g of fine Unrefined See Salt
a small handful of black pepper grains
- Wash very thoroughly the vegetables and the jars.
- Chop the vegetables: tomatoes in thick slices, cherry tomatoes in halves, cabbage and onion in 5ml thick shreds, peppers and carrots in 5ml thick rings/circles.
- Put the chopped vegetables in big casserole pot that you can cover (ideally like a pressure cooker) and add about 300g of salt. Combine everything together, cover and let sit for 24 hours in a cold place (about 0-10°C). This quantity of salt is necessary as salt not only “ferments” the vegetables but also acts as a natural preservative. It however does not make the salad too salty to eat when ready. If it does to you, there is always a possibility to rince the salad before eating (as we do in France with the pickled cabbage).
- The next day transfer the vegetables in the jars (in my case 2 x 1l + 1 x 500ml) together with their juice and about 10 black pepper grains per jar. Add cold water to each jar to cover the vegetables completely and a teaspoon of salt on top.
- Ideally you should put a “pressing pebble” on top too, to make sure all the vegetables are well submerged in the salty water. I use a small saucer for example (thoroughly washed too).
- Let ferment in a cold dark place for at least three weeks before you can serve it.