Week 48: Pickled Pears

Week 48: Pickled Pears

Thought I was done with fruit but alas, pears are uber Christmasy so they seemed only appropriate as the first pickle of December. After months of trial and error, I finally have a few pickled fruits that I think really hit the mark (grapes being another). The pearfect recipe, if you will. The trick is a super small amount of salt and a more equal vinegar to water ratio but the recipe could totally be dependent on the fruit being pickled.

One thing I saw a lot that I definitely wasn’t on board with for this pickle recipe was cooking the pears in the brine before canning…they’re already such a soft fruit and you’re peeling away their protective outer layer so I just poured brine over fully raw pears and called it a day. I much prefer a crunchy pickle as opposed to decomposed mush. Even so, the pears I used were super firm beforehand – so firm, in fact, that I could easily peel them with a veggie peeler as opposed to delicately with a paring knife – and they still softened up a significant amount once pickled.

A lot of the recipes I found also seemed to be geared more towards syrupy delights; I cut back on the sugar a bit and ended up with a fresher tasting pickle, which is generally more my choice.

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Week 47: Pickled Grapes

Week 47: Pickled Grapes

I think I said this about peaches but I actually mean it for grapes – definitely the best pickled fruit to date. Which makes sense because not only are these a legit pickled item (see mention of a bounty of recipes below) but apparently, at least according to this recipe, they are considered a Thanksgiving treat. Also, food photography goals. There were a surprising number of recipes to be found for pickled grapes so the below is a bit of a hodgepodge of combos that sounded good to me – hope you think these are just as grape as I do!

A final thought: I really appreciate when pickle recipes are supes versatile in terms of vinegars and spices you could use. I could see changing up this recipe with, for example, apple cider vinegar instead white wine vinegar, or adding a different mix of spices like star anise, cardamom, cloves, rosemary and/or bay leaf.

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Week 46: Pickled Pumpkin

Week 46: Pickled Pumpkin

I couldn’t let this festive season go by without pickling some pumpkin. If pumpkin can go in our coffee, alcohol, hummus, butter, yogurt and more, it can go in a pickle jar. Of all the weird-ish things I’ve pickled this year, pickled pumpkin was actually a surprise hit – great flavor and kept a decent crunch. Even my supportive but skeptical S.O., who hasn’t been the biggest fan of quite a few of these pickle experiments, agreed these were a success.

I most closely followed this recipe and the result seriously incorporates some great fall flavors with apple cider (vinegar), cinnamon and some other spices; and while I didn’t add ginger, could totes see that being a great addition. I cut the pumpkin pieces in pretty thin strips because I’m thinking about putting these on leftover turkey sandwiches next weekend post-Thanksgiving. We shall see…

Quick warning to heed – do NOT use a carving pumpkin for this recipe. They aren’t great for cooking or baking, therefore I don’t recommend them for pickling. Use the smaller pumpkins you can find in most grocery stores labelled either “pie” or “sugar” pumpkins. Less fibrous, better for human consumption.

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Week 45: Pickled Leeks

Week 45: Pickled Leeks

Super excited about this pickled leek recipe as it is, in my opinion, an improved version of the pickled green onions I did in my earliest of early days of pickling. Leeks are sturdier so naturally a better fit for pickling, and while it’s mostly because of the way I cut the leeks (1/4″ rounds rather than longer, while stalks), they do have a less slimy texture than the green onion results. Another pro about this pickle recipe: leeks are ridiculously cheap, unlike a few of the things I’ve pickled recently, so these are great to make en masse. And if you have leftover thyme, pickle these while you’re at it!

The current ideas I found for pickled leeks (such as this one) generally suggest simmering the leeks briefly but I like as much oniony flavor and crispness as possible so I just poured the hot brine over a filled jar for minimal cooking. Go forth and pickle this beauteous veggie – it would be great thrown into salad, as a sandwich filling or atop a soup (#SoupSeason) or stew (chili, duh).

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Week 44: Pickled Baby Artichokes

Week 44: Pickled Baby Artichokes

Baby artichokes are simply adorbs and you can use way more of whole veggie itself than of full-grown chokes. Not surprisingly, there aren’t an overwhelming number of pickled artichoke recipes to be found – this I followed to some extent – and in truth, the “brine” has a significant amount of olive oil in it so you could also think of these as marinated artichokes. But the mixture does contain salt and vinegar, so technically a brine and therefore technically a pickle. You could say this is a marinate/brine hybrid; a marinine if you will.

Similar to pickled sunchokes, if you want to retain the color of the baby artichokes, put them in a bowl of acidulated water after trimming. Another note is that you could easily switch up the herbs and spices for this recipe. Just think anything that pairs well with Mediterranean flavors and, perhaps more importantly, nothing tiny and harsh like whole peppercorns that could get caught in the crevices of the artichokes and cause an unexpected and unwanted flavor sensation if bit into.
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Week 43: Pickled Persimmons

Week 43: Pickled Persimmons

In the spirit of autumn, the next pickles in the lineup are persimmons. A friend gave me a bunch recently and while I love them on their own, it seemed only right to preserve a few in pickled form. I found a few recipes online but most closely followed my pickled peach recipe that I made back in August as it was one of the more successful pickled fruits.

Full disclosure: the original brine I made did seem to break down the persimmons a little too much. I adjusted the recipe below but will probs try again to play around with the water to vinegar ratio some more.

And now, persimmon to enjoy these to the fullest!

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Week 42: Pickled Baby Pattypan Squash

Week 42: Pickled Baby Pattypan Squash

This probably wins the award for most specific type of pickled item so far. Not just pattypan squash but baby pattypans – and aren’t they just adorable?! I’m feeling very much in the autumnal spirit so expect additional seasonal delights – other squash varietals, persimmons, pumpkin perhaps?! – in the next month or so.

Quick note, these little guys aren’t the cheapest of produce (not cheap as in, like, $11+ / lb) so unless you’re dying to expand your pickling horizons, stick with cheaper basics if you’re pickling excessively. The recipe itself is super simple though – very similar to the original quickles with the layering of garlic and dill, along with the added (but totally optional) addition of some other spices, namely peppercorns and celery seed.

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Week 41: Pickled Turnip Stems

Week 41: Pickled Turnip Stems

Last week brought pickled turnips so naturally this week brings pickled turnip stems. Waste not, want not, #amIright? For this pickle recipe I went back to my trusty Pick a Pickle booklet since I never would have thought of this myself. You could also try this recipe with the tops or stems of other veggies – kale ribs and beet tops come to mind initially.

This recipe was super easy and according to the recipe book would work great as a garnish atop a pulled pork sandwich or a soup. Might need to whip out the crockpot for the first time this season and make some pulled pork sandos! I waited a while between pickling the turnips last week (and saving the stems/greens) and pickling the stems but if you do it all in one go and want to be extra pilgrim-y, you could probably even salvage the greens for something else fun and exciting (sautéed, added to a soup, etc).

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Week 40: Pickled Turnips

Week 40: Pickled Turnips

I’ve been seeing different kind of turnips lately and love these smaller hakueri ones that more closely resemble radishes. Less prep than regular turnips and super easy to eat as pickles! There are a lot of pickled turnip recipes out there that would work for both types, or you could easily mix and match different flavors and spices for this since turnips are so versatile. Turnip…for what!
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Week 39: Pickled Figs

Week 39: Pickled Figs

After a few VERY hot weeks, it’s finally starting to feel like fall in San Francisco and this pickled fig recipe is definitely getting me (prematurely) in the spirit for the holidays. Between the port (first time pickling with booze!), rosemary and cinnamon, these basically taste like Christmas. So I FIGured you can pickle them now while they’re in season, tweak the recipe as you see fit, and you’ll have the perfect pickled figs in time for the most wonderful time of the year.

I wanted to make up my own recipe for this week but this version is pretty similar if you want to play around with other spices (cloves, anise or all spice would all be great). Other variations could be to add peppercorns for a little more kick or red wine vinegar as another vinegar option.
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