I’m so excited about these pickles. There are a few reasons for this…
- They take advantage of the marrow glut that’s been bestowed upon me by Sam and the Shipton Mill biodynamic garden (I mentioned this in my previous post on Marrow and Ginger Chutney).
- They take advantage of a plentiful vegetable that is relatively unheard of in the pickling scene.
- [I think] they have a very good chance of proving to my awesome canning friend, Gloria Nicol, who is rightfully skeptical about marrow, that they are a worthwhile vegetable to grow, cook and ingest.
- They’re super easy to make.
- They have opened my eyes to the world of pickling possibilities for all manners of vegetables.
- Most importantly, marrow pickles are freakin’ delicious. And this is only after a day or two post pickling – word on the street is that pickles like these get better with age.
So what’s the story with these marrow pickles? They’re basically a riff on zucchini pickles, which themselves are a riff on traditional cucumber pickles. Marrow’s got a thick skin and inherently crispy (but somewhat flavourless) flesh which isn’t really all that different from cucumbers.
I went two ways with these marrow pickles, and both rock my world in their own different ways. But before I divulge the details, an important note: the pickles I’ve made are technically “quick pickles”, or “refrigerator pickles”. In other words, I haven’t canned them properly in a hot water bath so they won’t keep eternally. But they should last a good long while in the refrigerator.
Marrow Pickles, Zuni Cafe Style
I followed the recipe exactly. It’s all pretty simple: slice the marrow paper thin then pack into jars. Boil up some vinegar, water, sugar, turmeric, dry mustard and mustard seeds. Pour this over the marrow, refrigerate and enjoy!
One of the reasons this works so well for marrow is that the paper thin slices make the marrow a bit more manageable as a pickle. The the slices fold all over themselves making them perfect for piling on top of a sandwich or burger.
I can’t wait to try them in a week or two. Right now the mustard really stands out but I think the flavours will mellow and balance over time. To be revealed!
Recipe: Zucchini Pickles [latimes.com]
Marrow Dill Pickles
As a long time fan of Clausen’s Kosher Dills, I decided to adapt this recipe for Zucchini Dill Pickles using marrow in place of zucchini. I mixed up the spices a bit, adding fennel seed, all spice and cassia bark (courtesy of the Kitchen Nomad box and inspired by this recipe for Pickling Spice). I didn’t boil the marrow in the brine; instead I just packed the marrow sticks into a jar and poured the hot brine over the marrow.
This was yesterday. Today I tasted a “pickle” and then promptly had three more. They’re good, surprisingly similar to cucumber dill pickles. In fact, I think the marrow skin – slightly tougher than zucchini skin – helps the pickle keep its bite. Slap it on a Chicago style [veggie] hot dog and call me happy.
Recipe: Zucchini Dill Pickles [epicurious.com]
I have a few other marrow pickles I’d like to play with. A Chicago-style giardiniera calls to me. Another thought is to combine marrow with other vegetables to make a Lebanese style pickle, something I love to eat with hummus. So watch this space – I still have one massive marrow to get through. I suppose I could just eat it as is, but this pickle-making lark is fun.