Students spent Wednesday afternoon in the Senior Collegium making pickles.

Photo provided by the Leftovers Club.
Photo provided by the Leftovers Club.

Project Roots and the Leftovers Club hosted a pickle party in the Senior Collegium Wednesday, February 13, and as it turns out, pickles are a lot more popular than you would think.

By 5:00 pm, students had formed a large, tight circle around the kitchen island on which sat a large pot of brine, mini mason jars, and fresh vegetables for pickling, all provided by Project Roots and the Leftovers Club. The hosts then demonstrated just how easy home pickling can be.

The pickling brine was just 3 ingredients: 1 cup of water, 1 cup of vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of salt. As for spices, students were free to add anything they liked, but the standard recipe was mustard seed, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a clove of garlic. But as the hosts were quick to point out, just about any spices can go well with pickles, and herbs such as dill are always delicious.

Almost everybody at the pickle party was a first-time pickler, and all were excited to try making their own. Most were surprised to learn that cucumbers and other soft vegetables take only a week to pickle once added to the brine. Hardier ones, such as beets, turnips, and other root vegetables, however, can take up to three weeks.

Photo provided by the Leftovers Club.
Photo provided by the Leftovers Club.

“I thought it’s interesting to make your own pickles,” said Brianne, a UBCO student whose pickle jar contained beets, cucumbers, and onions. “You don’t usually make pickles at home.”

For Eric Douglas, too, the party was his first attempt at making his own pickles. “I have got some beautiful green beans courtesy of Project Roots and inside is some mustard seed, some spicy red pepper, some dill grown from Mr. Ben Dunn’s beautiful garden, and some fennel,” Douglas said, pointing out the vegetables in his jar. “I’m here because I love food and I love that pickling is a way to preserve food so you don’t have to waste it.”

One of the great things about pickling is that you can do it with just about any vegetable. So instead of letting those old carrots and onions go soft and brown in the bottom of the crisper, try making some delicious pickles instead. They’ll last months instead of weeks, and they’ll probably taste a lot better too.