So much of the world is crazed about pickled vegetables that at first I wasn’t sure what made these especially Russian. What likely pins these to the Russian and Crimean region is the eclectic use of summer vegetables anchored by tomatoes and sometimes ornamental designs for the vegetables. These are very similar to Italian pickled vegetables, otherwise known as giardiniera.
A true RPV is fermented and has no vinegar. This sounds great, but I do not have enough refrigerator space for 5 jars, nor is my basement that cold. Thus, I opted for a traditional vinegar brine, using equal amounts of white wine vinegar to water, with added salt and honey.
As you can see, I jumped into the artistic side of these pickles, attempting to replicate the awesome designs I saw on Pinterest. Well, it was OK, but nothing like the pros. Nevertheless, they ended up looking good, and I had a lot of fun doing it.
The veggies will fade slightly after water bath canning. If you want to retain the vibrant colors, put them in your fridge.
Now to wait 4 weeks until they cure! Torture!
Makes 4-5 quart jars
- 4 pints large cherry tomatoes
- 1 bulb fennel with fronds, sliced thin
- 3 C cauliflower florets
- 3 celery stalks with leaves, bite-sized pieces
- 6-10 small red boiler onions, halved or quartered
- 1 or more yellow bell pepper, funky chunks
- 2 C parsley sprigs
- 4 big carrots, cute designs
- 1 daikon radish (about 4 inches long), cute designs
- 2 Anaheim chilies, cute designs
- 8 radishes, cute designs
Seasonings (adjust to your liking):
- ¼ C fresh, sliced horseradish
- 1/3 C fresh, sliced garlic
- Allspice (3 for each jar)
- Whole peppercorns (5-10 for each jar)
- Bay leaves (2-3 per jar)
- Whole cloves (2 per jar)
- Star anise (2 per jar)
- 2 habanero chilies, thinly sliced
- 6 C white wine vinegar (not distilled, but use what you like)
- 6 C water
- 4 T kosher salt
- ¼ – ½ C honey
- Heat brine to ensure it all combines.
- Put the seasonings into the bottom of the jars.
- Pack vegetables into clean jars. Prick the tomatoes so that they don’t explode while cooking. Layer in whatever you think looks good and pack tightly. Arrange your cute veggies on the outside for maximum compliments. Veg are held in place by friction. Everything shrinks during water bathing. Did I mention to pack tightly?
- Pour hot/warm brine over the veggies and cap.
- Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (sea level). I’m at 2,220 altitude, so I did 15 minutes. You must add minutes for altitude. Check here for more info.
- Let cool briefly in the water bath before removing and letting set to cool completely.
- Wait 4 weeks before sampling to allow the flavors to infuse and entwine.
- In the meantime, display them some place nice to impress everyone.
About the measurements and ingredients: You need NOT be precise (except for the brine ratio of vinegar to water). In fact, use as little or as much of any one veggie as you like. Many recipes I saw added zucchini and cucumbers (which I did not find acceptable at my store when I was shopping). In fact, many of the RPV cute green leaves I saw in my research were fashioned from zucchini. I settled for the chilies instead to make my leaves.
Making cute shapes: There are innumerable internet sources for this. Here is what I ended up doing, given my kitchen toolkit. Note: to prevent your carrots and radishes from drying out while you are prepping, put them in ice water.
- Carrot flowers: cut into rounds, then use knife to notch out the blossoms, cutting to the outline of the core. Big carrots work best. I had small carrots. Arghhh!
- Daikon flowers: cut into rounds, then use the notch on the side of a peeler (could also use a small cookie cutter) to notch out weird looking petals. Use small carrots as the center of the flower.
- Anaheim chile leaves: open, de-seed and cut free form leaves. I used a small pair of scissors for this.
- Weird squiggly things: made out of carrots and daikon with a crinkle cutter.
- Waffle cut radishes: use crinkle cutter. One side cut vertical, then cut horizontal on the other side.
- If you have an Exacto knife, all this would be much easier!
- Feel free to create all sorts of weird shapes. It’s fun.