An integral part of Hungarian gastronomy are the many kinds of pickled foods. They are just as crucial for the Hungarian identity as a good goulash soup or a nice plate of Brasov-style roast. But what exactly do we know about this type of garnish?
Throughout history, it has always been important to find ways to preserve food. In some places, people dried foods. In Hungary, people got into the habit of making jars of pickled vegetables during vegetable-season so they had vegetables to add to their meals all year round.
According to borsonline.hu, it has been observed a long time ago that
pickled foods help to digest the heavier, mainly meat-filled dishes – a characteristic of most Hungarian specialities. Besides that, there are many other benefits to eating pickled foods.
For instance, they contain valuable fibres as well as essential vitamins – so long as they did not undergo any heat-involving processes. They are an especially good source of minerals for those winter months when home-grown vegetables are scarce.
They also contain a lot of probiotics that can help restore the healthy condition of the bowels. They can optimise the digestive system, help with enzyme production, thus speeding up bowel movements. They also help to prevent bloating, in a natural way.
Most pickled food can also be added to any diet, as they are very low in calories but can soon make you feel full. Not to mention that their sour taste will help break that chocolate addiction, as you will not want to eat anything sweet until that taste lingers in your mouth.
They are also very rich in Vitamin C, and can help lessen allergic reactions or symptoms of a cold. In addition, it is believed that eating pickled foods will strengthen the immune system and could even help the body fight certain types of cancer.
Here are 3 of the most well-known Hungarian pickled foods.
1.5 kg cabbage
1.5 kg peppers
1 kg cucumber
0.5 kg of red onion
200 ml vinegar
70 g salt
400 g sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salicylic acid
3 pieces of laurel leaves
1 tbsp black pepper (bigger grains)
Wash the vegetables and slice them thin. There is no need to peel the cucumber beforehand. If you prefer to have more eye-catching jars, use peppers of different colours or you can even add carrots. Put the sliced ingredients into a bigger bowl and add all the seasoning and spices, so they are equally spread out on top, then mix it all. Tear up the laurel leaves on top. Let it sit for 4-6 hours so that the juices can appear. When this has happened, portion the mass into jars, add the juice to fill the jar to the top, then put the cap on.
2 kg almapaprika (sweet paprika)
whole-grain black pepper
2 l water
100 g salt
200 g sugar
400 ml vinegar (10%)
1 tsp potassium metabisulfite
Wash and cut up the peppers or simply use them whole. Add the vinegar, salt, sugar and some potassium metabisulfite to the water but do not boil it, just stir thoroughly until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Sprinkle some of the laurel leaves, the mustard seed and the cilantro seed at the bottom of the jars, as much as you like. Stack the peppers as tight as you can, then pour the seasoned water on top. Cover it with cellophane then close the lid. Leave it for about 3-4 weeks.
3 kg beetroot
2 pieces of horseradish (optional)
300 ml vinegar (10%)
200 g sugar
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp caraway seeds
0.2 packet of preservatives (optional)
Wash and clean the beetroot thoroughly, then cook it until soft. Cool it down, peel it, then slice it up into thin pieces. Add the salt, the sugar, the vinegar and the caraway seeds to 2 litres of water and boil it. Pour it on top of the beetroot slices while still hot. Let it cool, then portion it into jars. You can add some slices of horseradish to each jar if you like. You can add a small dollop of the preservative on top, then close the lid. Steam it in hot water for about 10 minutes (starting from the boiling point).
To fulfil more cravings, check out this article about leavened cucumbers, another wonder of Hungarian gastronomy.
Source: borsonline.hu, nosalty.hu, cleaneating.hu, receptneked.hu