An easy way to add a pop of flavour to any plate!
Lately, I’ve been eagerly peeking into my garden a few times a day, looking for tender young shoots that hold the promise of fresh spring vegetables to come. In the meantime, as I wait, I’m craving some bright tastes to perk up my palate after a long winter and rainy April. I pickled up some fennel the other day and have been scattering it on salads and rice dishes, plus tucking it in sandwiches. It’s such an easy way to add a pop of flavour to any plate. If you enjoy this, you might want to try quick pickling other vegetables too!
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 2 cups (500 mL) rice or apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) sugar
- 4 – 6 whole star anise (2 per jar)
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) peppercorns
- 1 large or two medium fennel bulbs
- 1 medium navel orange
- Bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil in a large pot, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer.
- Wash two or three medium sized jars with tight fitting lids in hot soapy water, and rinse well. You can use canning jars and lids if you have them, but you don’t have to because these pickles will get stored in the refrigerator.
- Wash the fennel and cut the stalks off the bulb(s), discarding them. Trim away any blemishes. Cut the bulb(s) in half then slice (or shave on a mandoline) into very, very thin strips.
- Wash the orange and use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to cut six to eight strips of peel from the outside, avoiding white pith as much as possible.
- Fill each jar halfway with fennel. Place 1 piece of orange rind, 1 star anise and a few peppercorns on top. Fill jars to the top with fennel, packing it down tightly with a spoon or your fingers. Scatter remaining star anise, orange rind pieces and peppercorns on top, then fill jars with hot brine to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jars.
- Put lids on jars and let stand on the countertop until cool. Place jars in refrigerator.
- Pickled fennel will be ready to enjoy in 24 hours and can be stored for up to a month in the fridge.