Learn Israeli Recipes with Israeli Kitchen
Cooking Vacations - Preserves and pickles in Israeli Recipes
Pickled foods of every sort have a long and illustrious history dating back to Cleopatra`s reign and even farther. The origin of the word possibly comes from the Middle English word, "pikel," first recorded in the 1400s and referring to a spicy sauce served with meat or fowl. The Middle Dutch word, "pekel," which described a briny liquid used to preserve or add flavor to food is newer but more closely related to how we think of pickles now.
Pickles are associated with many cultures but none so closely as Jewish cuisine. Walk into any Jewish deli and the mouth-watering scent of kosher dills welcomes you with its subtle, salty comfort.
In ancient times, pickling was necessary to preserve meats and produce from the unrelenting heat of the Middle East. In eastern and central Europe, it was just as necessary for preserving fresh vegetables and fruits because they were otherwise unavailable throughout the long, harsh winters. This need for versatility helped develop the pickling methods we enjoy today.
Cucumbers are the most familiar type of food that is pickled, but on vacations, on business trips or during cooking tours Israel will surprise you with the sheer variety of foods that can be pickled and preserved. If you wish to experience the on-trend use of pickling and are thinking of taking cooking classes Tel Aviv is one of the centers of new Israeli cuisine.
Many of the Israeli recipes you will discover have been handed down through generations, because in the past it was not unusual for every Eastern European Jewish household to make their own pickles. These were cured mostly in water and salt, with vinegar coming along later. Garlic, dill or other spices were often added to offer a variety of flavors. Cucumber pickles were used as a fresh counterpoint to a diet heavy in dried and salted meats as well as starchy breads and noodles.
Olives are not generally thought of as pickles, but they are members of the pickle family all the same. Olive groves abound in Israel and olives figure in many recipes. They are eaten plain, used as garnishes and added to recipes for everything from lamb to vegetables.
Beets, turnips and cabbages are among the most widely pickled vegetables, though green tomatoes are also soaked in brine and cured to perfection.
One of the most loved and lesser-known Israeli cuisine relishes is amba, which is a tart relish made from pickled mango slices. The sweet fruit is peeled and cured in salt and then seasoned with a mixture of chili powder, lemon, salt, turmeric and other spices. This is served at falafel and shawarma stands and is especially delicious on fried eggplant sandwiches.
Pickled lemons are another ingenious way that Israeli cuisine preserve fruits and bring out their flavor. Fresh lemons are halved and then packed into jars with lemon juice and salt. They are allowed to sit for a few weeks until they nearly liquefy into a marmalade-like consistency used in meat and vegetable dishes such as stews and tagines.
Pickling is not the only way to preserve foods. Fruit preserves are a staple of the Israeli kitchen and are used for everything from filling traditional cookies and pastries to adding a sweet tartness as a glaze for vegetables and meats.
Making your own pickles and preserves at home is the best way to ensure that you serve your family only the freshest treats made with the finest ingredients. The experts at Cook In Israel remind you that stocking your kitchen with good quality preserving equipment doesn`t have to cost a fortune and will help make every meal taste like a gourmet feast. With Cook in Israel you will learn Israeli recipes with ease.