In Hungary main meals are often (or rather always) served with pickled vegetables. Cucumber, beet root, water melon, stuffed peppers or csalamádé – they are all splendid and make any meat dish lively. Mixed vegetable pickle is usually made with finely shredded cabbage, cucumber, pepper, carrot and onion, but green tomatoes can be also an option, so you can enjoy the unripe fruit (and no, green tomatoes are not toxic).
I use only salt, sugar and vinegar to flavour my csalamádé, but if you want, you can add other spices to the mixture. Bay leaf, coriander seeds, black pepper corns and mustar seeds all go well with these vegetables. Preservatives can’t be omitted in this case as the mixture spends 10 days in a bowl in order to merge flavours before you put it into jars.
The total net weight of the mixture is 7 kilos (~15 1/2 lbs). You can see net weights in the list, when you buy the vegetables, you have to calculate with the waste of peeling. For example you have to buy 2,3 kg (~5 lbs) of peppers to have 2 kilograms (~4 1/3 lbs) after coring and seeding.
- 2 kg (~4 1/3 lbs) white cabbage
- 2 kg (~4 1/3 lbs) peppers (wax or bell pepper)
- 2 kg (~4 1/3 lbs) cucumbers
- 1/2 kg (~1 lb) onions
- 1/2 kg (~1 lb) carrots
- 1 tsp potassium metabisulfite
- 1 tsp sodium benzoate
- 400 g (~2 cups) granulated sugar
- 120 g (~1/2 cup) salt
- 200 ml (~3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp) 20% vinegar
Peel and grate cabbage, cucumbers and carrots. Thinly slice peppers and onions. Put the vegetables into an enermous bowl, sprinkle salt and sugar over them, and mix them up.
Pour vinegar in a measuring cup, add sodium benzoate and potassium metabisulfite and stir until they dissolve. Pour vinegar over the vegetables and blend the mixture thoroughly.
Cover the pot with a kitchen towel and put it in a dry, cool place. Mix the pickle once a day for 10 days. On the 10th day spoon the pickle into jars and place them onto the pantry shelf.