Torshi: Pickling, Persian Style
Torsh means sour in Farsi. Torshi is what we call any food that’s pickled since it tastes sour. I’ve been making torshi with my grandmother since I was a very little girl. It’s one of those foods that instantly brings comfort and happiness to me.
I grew up eating two types of pickles, Vlasic and homemade Persian style. I used to mimic that little girl in the Vlasic commercials, “Are you gonna eat that pickle, Daddy?” while chomping on a super sour Persian pickle. Persian style pickles are more sour, slightly spicy and have a little different flavor than traditional dill. Usually I pickle more than cucumbers, as in every veggie available in the house.
This time I used carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumber, peppers, mini eggplant, okra, pearl onions and garlic. (Please forgive the poor picture quality. Camera is on the fritz, so my cell phone camera is stepping in.)
To prep the vegetables wash them thoroughly and cut the carrots, celery, cucumber and cauliflower into small pieces. Peel the onions and garlic and score the outside to help the vinegar penetrate better. Blanch the eggplant for a few minutes and then briefly place in an ice water bath. Drain the water and lightly salt.
Next dust all the veggies with dried dill.
Now comes the fun part: stuffing the jars. Be sure the jars are super clean, as well as your hands. I like to reuse jars so mine are quite a hodgepodge. Depending on the size of the jar add varying quantities of salt and dried mint to each jar. For small jars I use a teaspoon of each and for large I use about a tablespoon of each. Dried mint, in pickles? Yes, I know it seems weird, but trust me, it makes everything delicious! Next start layering the veggies in the jar. Be sure there is at least one pepper and two cloves of garlic in each jar, more is even better. Once all the vegetables are stuffed in the jar, pour apple cider vinegar in up to about a half inch below the top of the jar.
Finally, seal the jars. Because there is so much vinegar in them, you don’t have to heat seal the jars, but you could. I usually put a triple layer of plastic wrap between the lid and the jar and twist very tight. Place the jars in a cool dark place for at least three weeks. The top shelf of my pantry works perfect for me. Once you open the jars to taste, store in the fridge after. The longer they age, the better the torshi.
I recently cracked open a jar that was over a year old. My grandmother made it for me just before she went back home to Iran. While eating some of the best torshi ever, I got all nostalgic and began to miss her very much. I appreciate that she left me treats to tie me over until her next visit. Now I can’t wait to have her taste my attempts at her recipe.
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