Along with Lahmejune (an Armenian Pizza), String Cheese (the good stuff), and fresh baked Syrian Bread, whenever I go back to Boston for a visit and stop at one of the local Armenian bakeries, I always have to get a jar of Tourshi. I pucker at the mere mention of these tart, crisp little beauties. I can't remember what it tastes like now, but I remember being very excited years ago when I saw Giardiniera in the grocery store. I was sadly disappointed when I opened it and realized it wasn't what I was expecting.
Since I'm about four hours from Boston, running out to pick up a jar isn't exactly an option. I decided it was time to take a stab at it myself and popped open my Armenian cookbooks to check out the recipes. That did nothing but confuse me, so I tried online...yup, still confused. I didn't have a jar I could refer to for an ingredients list. Some of the recipes called for White Vinegar, while others used Apple Cider Vinegar. Some called for pickling spice while others used Mustard Seed and a few other spices. I know there are Mustard Seeds in Tourshi, but clove??? And I could only picture the brine as clear, so where did the Apple Cider Vinegar come in? I figured it was worth a shot, so I'd just wing it and hope for the best. The other thing was that some recipes called for letting it sit unopened for a week, others for a month, etc. I could only hold out for three days!! 😉 We were soooo excited to crack it open and find it turned out just as expected.
INGREDIENTS :4 c white vinegar
1 c cider vinegar
3 c water
1.25 oz pickling spice, divided
3-4 cloves garlic
4 lg carrots - cut into sticks
4 stalks celery - cut into sticks
(use the tops as well)
1 green bell pepper - cut into large pieces
1 red bell pepper - cut into large pieces
2-3 handfuls of string beans
1 small cabbage cut into wedges
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 gallon jar
You can certainly use different veggies if you want. Most versions contain a lot of cauliflower, but I'm not a fan, so I left that out. I've only ever seen green bell peppers used, but I love red peppers and liked the idea of an additional color, so I went ahead and added those. A lot of people use small green tomatoes too. I love fried green tomatoes, but pickled - not so much. We mostly fight over the carrots and string beans! ;)
Peel the garlic and toss it in the bottom of jar with 3T of the pickling spice and 3-4 sprigs of dill.
Layer in the veggies and a few more sprigs of dill, ending with the celery tops to hold everything else down. Doesn't that look purrrrrrty??
Pour the remaining pickling spice into a small strainer. Over a large pot, pour the vinegars and water through the pickling spice then discard the spice. Bring the vinegar/water to a boil, squeeze in the lemon juice, and let it boil for a minute or two. If anyone in the house has a sensitive nose, you might want to do this while they're not around. I chased one of my nephews out with the smell of hot vinegar.
Let the vinegar mixture cool for a bit so you don't cook your veggies, then pour it into the jar.
Seal and store in cool dry place for at least one week before opening. A week was the minimum time listed in any of the recipes I came across, but as I said, I only lasted three days before busting it open, so it's up to you.