Pickling usually refers to the process of fermenting a food in salty brine. However, another kind of food preservation can involve simply soaking food in a solution that keeps it from spoiling. Alcohol, including vodka, is one liquid you can use. You can prepare both vegetables and fruits using this method, with delicious results. Vegetables to use when preserving with vodka include green beans, carrots, onions and peppers. Fruits include apples, pears, peaches and plums. You can also preserve spices such as ginger and hot peppers. This process has the added advantage of creating a flavourful infused vodka.
Clean the vegetables, fruits or spices you wish to use. Peel them if necessary, and chop them into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Remove any seeds or pits.
Fill a clean glass jar with the vegetables or fruits. Pack them loosely; the vodka must touch them on all sides. If you are using fruit, you can toss it in sugar or add half the volume of sugar to create a sweet dessert. You can also add spices and flavourings such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon or vanilla.
Fill the jar with vodka. Make sure the alcohol completely covers the food. Cap the jar tightly to prevent evaporation.
Store the jar in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for one week to one month. You can store it in the refrigerator if you wish. After one month, refrigerate the jar as you allow the foods to infuse.
You can keep adding to the jar of vodka for at least six months. One traditional recipe has you add new fruits throughout the summer as they come into season. It is left to infuse and is served at Christmas. Remember to keep adding enough alcohol to cover the fruits completely. You may also wish to try other alcohols, such as wine, brandy or grappa.