Although I love summer salads, winter is a great opportunity to be a bit creative. Some people continue to grow greens indoors through the winter but many of us depend on market or grocery store produce. Hardy greens like kale, spinach, arugula mixed with radicchio, or a touch of endive add some bitterness that can be balanced by adding fruit or a citrus vinaigrette. Shaved or grated root vegetables with or without cabbage or bok choy can provide a colourful salad. Apple, celery, and fennel with a cider vinaigrette is a favourite topped with toasted walnuts. Adding nuts and cheese to the salad or roasted vegetables like squash or sweet potato can be a nourishing and satisfying dinner. In winter, I think we appreciate great colour, texture, sweet-tart balance, and variety in our salads more than at any other time of year.
In late summer, I made this “Winter Salad Pickle” from garden vegetables. It was so good, and, in such demand, I have since made five more batches including one last week. I happened to find a two-for-one sale on cauliflower and couldn’t resist making one more batch. This pickle is good on its own, as an accompaniment or on top of a salad of winter greens. Even folks who aren’t keen on vegetables (aka my husband) like this pickle. The recipe was created by Canadians Top and Howard, authors of the Small-Batch Preserving books. It can be doubled if you have the produce and the space in your canner.
Whatever salads you are enjoying this winter, try adding this “Winter Salad Pickle” to your repertoire. The colour combination and nice crunch add some sunshine to the winter meal. Bon Appetit.
Winter Salad Pickle
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 cup pearl onions or small onions quartered
- 1 cup thickly sliced celery
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup thickly sliced zucchini (remove seedy centres)
- 1 cup yellow or green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup red peppers cut into 1-inch squares
- (a total of 8 cups of vegetables)
- 3 cups white wine or herb vinegar (at least 5% acid)
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2 tsp pickling salt
- 1/8 tsp paprika
In a bowl place cauliflower, onions, celery, and carrots. In a second bowl place zucchini, beans, and peppers. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and paprika in a large pot and bring to a full rolling boil. Add the cauliflower, onions, celery, and carrots. Bring back to a boil. Turn off heat and add remaining vegetables. With a slotted spoon fill hot canning jars to ½ inch headspace. Ladle in the brine. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace. Clean the jar tops, affix lids and rings to finger-tip tight. Process jars in a water-bath canner or atmospheric steam canner ten minutes for 250 or 500ml jars and 15minutes for liter jars. As always, adjust for altitude and follow reputable canning instructions to ensure safe processing.