Ancient Assyrians had several methods for storing and preserving food. Burying food in clay pots, drying, curing, smoking, pickling, fermenting, and preserving in honey. Many of these practices are still used in classic modern Assyrian cuisine.
"Khumaseh" Quick Pickled Vegetables
Yields: 2 pint-sized jars
1 pound fresh vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, onions, okra and/or peppers
2 sprigs fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill, or rosemary
1 to 2 teaspoons whole spices, such black peppercorns, coriander, or mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dried herbs or ground spices
6 cloves garlic, smashed or sliced
1 cup vinegar, such as white, apple cider, or rice
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
Chef’s knife and cutting board
2 wide-mouth pint jars with lids
Prepare the jars. Wash 2 wide-mouth pint jars, lids, and rings in warm soapy water and rinse well. Set aside to dry, or dry completely by hand.
Prepare the vegetables. Wash and dry the vegetables. Peel carrots. Cut vegetables into desired shapes and sizes.
Add the flavorings. Divide the herbs, spices, or garlic you are using into the jars.
Add the vegetables. Pack the vegetables into the jars, making sure there is a 1/2 inch of space from the rim of the jar to the tops of the vegetables.
Make the pickling liquid. Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar (if using) in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine over the vegetables, filling each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. You might not use all the brine.
Seal the jars. Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
Cool and refrigerate. Let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator.
The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 2-3 days before enjoying!