I am a big
fan of preserving fruits, vegetables, cheeses, fish, and meats for future use.
One old-fashioned and too-often forgotten method of preservation is pickling.
Books offered me a review copy of Pickled Delicacies: In Vinegar, Oil, and Alcohol (Baumgartner, Hauer, Mahriner-Eder, and Obermayr. Schiffer Publishing,
Ltd., 2015) and I jumped at the offer because I am always looking for new ways
to put up seasonal and local foods.
I opened the
book to the middle and started reading. My immediate reaction was to go to the
front of the book and find out if this was a translation. Don't get me
wrong, the English is perfect. It is simply that the instructions reminded me
of the style of European cookbooks, which made me love this book for that
reason alone. It is, in fact, translated from German. (Leopold Stocker Verlag,
who spends even a little time in the kitchen, these recipes are just right.
They aren't laborious, and are easy to follow.
I like that
the book is divided into five kinds of pickling processes, even though only
three are listed in the title. Vinegar. Oil. Alcohol. Salt. Sugar. Maybe salt
and sugar are assumed, but salt is one of the best preservers available, and
sugared items certainly appeal to my sweet tooth. (Not all pickles are sour!)
Pickled Delicacies has
a great variety of ideas - from sweet, to sour, to salty, and tipsy - many of which are new to me. Different flavor
combinations, such as today's pears in saffron syrup, will really make this book a
go-to when I want to create something out of the ordinary. It includes recipes
for fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and fish ... and even one for quail eggs. The
book has no meat-based recipes (no corned beef, no ham hocks), but I don't find that
I think many
of the recipes would make wonderful gifts. Note: Whether for yourself or for friends,
proper sterilization and sealing of the jars is important, though it isn't
covered in too much detail.
I give this
book a thumbs up, mostly for its creativity. And, in the introduction, the
authors encourage the reader to experiment. These are people who are passionate
about their craft, and are encouraging to their readers to discover their personal creativity. No yields were given for these recipes but, with practice, that can be done through the cook's intuition.
Pucker up -
it's pickle time!
My suggestions are in blue.
1 cup white
3/4 cup water
4 firm pears
(I used Bosc)
1/2 cup sugar
1 bag of
saffron [I used a heaping 1/2 teaspoon]
orange water (boil an orange peel in sugar water)
pears, peel, quarter, and remove pits and core. Slice the vanilla bean
lengthwise, scrape out the pulp, and set aside the pulp for later.
wine, water, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the vanilla pulp
and saffron and boil gently for 15 minutes.
Now add the
orange water and pear quarters and boil until they are semi-soft. Remove the
fruit with a skimmer and place into [sterilized] jars. Pour the [boiling] hot
syrup over it [the pears] and add in the vanilla bean. Close tightly and store
in a cool place.
of their beautiful color, pears in saffron syrup make a decorative dessert.
Serve this delicacy with ice cream or pudding [custard], or use it as an original
cake topping. Put a thin layer of jam on a cake and decorate with thinly
sliced, well-drained pears. If you don't plan to serve the cake right away,
cover the pears with jelly.