The Iraqi Family Cookbook

The Iraqi Family Cookbook
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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Iraqi Cucumber Pickles-Turshi Khiyar طرشي خيار

While making my weekly visit to the farmers market, I picked a few pounds of crispy crunchy Persian cucumbers, plus other vegetables for the week. I decided to make some pickles.

Pickles are served with every meal in Iraq. We prepare big jars of seasonal vegetables. In the winter, we pickle beets, turnips, cauliflower and cabbage. During the summer, we pickle green peppers, small eggplants, a variety of cucumbers, and green beans. When growing up in Iraq, we used to buy bushels of these vegetables, and spend hours in the kitchen poking these vegetables with a knife and sprinkling salt over them to drain some of their liquid. We had the whole family, including children, and grandparents participating in this process.
We use two methods: salt brine or vinegar. You could use quart (32-oz) mason jars or Pint (16-oz) mason jars.
Salt Brine Method
4 pounds small cucumbers
¾ cup Kosher salt (not iodized, or fine salt)
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Rinse the cucumbers and place in the colander to drain. Poke each cucumber with a knife. Place in the colander and sprinkle ¼ cup of salt over them. Leave to drain in the sink for a few hours.
In the meantime, Bring 3 cups of water, and ½ cup of sat to a boil. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
Stack the cucumbers in clean sterilized jars. Pour the brine over to top jar. Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic and one tablespoon of chopped parsley to each jar and seal. When cucumbers change color, in 10 days, they are done. Refrigerate the jars after opening.
 Sometimes, we used to put the jars under the heat of the sun to speed the pickling process.
Another method is to pour the boiling liquid over the cucumbers and seal the top. This will speed the pickling process.
Vinegar Method
You could use white, or any light color vinegar. You could use apple cider vinegar but will change the color of the vegetables.
4 pound Persian cucumbers, or pickling cucumbers
4 cups vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/3 cup salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sugar
In a pot, bring the vinegar, salt, garlic and spices to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the cucumber to top jar. Seal the jar. Pickles will be ready within a week.
If you find the vinegar too strong, you can measure 3 cups vinegar and 1 cup water and follow the above recipe.
You could use these methods for other vegetables.