Wednesday, March 3, 2010


In keeping with the recipe theme, here is another way to use up pineapple skins.. homemade vinegar for encurtido! I did this back in... october? november? And my batches are only just now turning vinegar-y. I'll continue to check on them and hopefully be able to make my own encurtido. These pickled vegetables are one of my favorite parts of Honduran cuisine :) Enjoy the article (reposted from an English-language Honduras weekly news site)!

Here are my personal batches of vinegar-to-be bubbling on the stove :)

Prepare your own 'encurtido' at home


On the table of many restaurants are large glass jars of pickled vegetables, generally called chile or encurtido, which are placed on bland dishes like scrambled eggs and pupusas to add some zest.

In preparing encurtido, many cooks prefer to use pineapple peel vinegar that can be made according to this recipe contributed by Miriam Herrera:

2 liters of water|
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 block of rapadura de dulce (raw sugar cane, available in markets)
pineapple peels

At least 1 teaspoon of ginger, spices (especies), oregano, allspice (pimienta gorda), cloves, cinnamon, 5 bay leaves, a little bit of hot pepper.

Boil the water with all these ingredients. Let them ferment for one month, then bottle it.

There are a number of vegetables that can be added to make chili or encurtido. To begin you could try these and then vary according to your tastes.

2 medium carrots
10 green beans
1/2 medium cauliflower
3 small onions
1/2 red chili
1/2 green pepper
3 baby corn (jilote)
1/2 broccoli
hot peppers

Wash all the vegetables. Peel and cut them up. Scald each vegetable the time it needs. Place the mixed vegetables in previously sterilized jars. Add vinegar to cover. Remove the air by moving a kitchen knife around the glass. Seal the jars.

Apply the final sterilization by boiling in a little water for 15 minutes as if for canning. Open, let the air out after 24 hours, then close again immediately.

Other vegetables that can be added are pataste (chayote), small cucumbers, green mangos, and radishes.

Different vegetables need to cook different times, which is why many people prefer to make encurtido with only a few vegetables. Cauliflower (1 minute), carrots (3 minutes), green beans (3 minutes), green mangos (2 minutes), pataste (2 minutes), cucumbers (1 minute), baby corn (2 minutes), cabbage (3 minutes), broccoli (2 minutes), chiles and green peppers (30 seconds).

If you do not want to do all this work, there may be a woman in your neighborhood who makes good encuritdo. You can usually encargar or order some.

It is also possible to buy commercially prepared encurtido. But no one makes it commercially in Honduras. The bottled encurtido sold in stores is usually made in Guatemala.

Gloria Ferrera, a native of El Paraiso, explains one possible reason why this is true. "My mother made excellent encurtido. As children, we used to help her deliver it to the neighbors. Between all of us, we could have gotten together enough money to help her start a small factory to produce encurtido commercially. But we did not think big. She just sold to the neighbors. Now she is too old, and my children have to eat encurtido from Guatemala."

There are dozens of homemade foods, like traditional candies, jams and jellies, pickled foods and homemade wines that could be produced commercially. Often it is small problems like where to get jars in significant quantities, how to price the product, how to get a label to stick to glass, lack of clarity if the jars are really sterilized, how to apply for a health department registration approval number, how to apply for a small business license, what taxes need to be paid, and a complete lack of access to credit, that prevent many women from starting these kinds of businesses.

Although millions of dollars are donated annually to help Honduras support small business, Honduras has no Small Business Administration where people could go for help, information, advice or loans. There are all kinds of incentives to bring foreign businesses here, and no help for local people who want to start local business such as producing encurtidos, jams or jellies that could replace Honduran dependence on imports.



  1. Interesting. I love those little condiments and veggies for pupusas and asadas. Nice to know more about them.

  2. OMG, I just posted a recipe for this but it's entirely different. But, I am sure it could be because I got the recipe from my Honduran Hubby & you know how men are. Yours looks so much more interesting.