15 Pickling Recipes for Everything from Eggplant to Mango to Okra
Mason jars are for more than storing your weed.
What is a pickle? Does it have to be a cucumber? The state of Texas believes so. Should it be fermented, like kimchi or sauerkraut? Does it have to be infinitely shelf-stable? Pickle can be both a noun and a verb, and it doesn’t even have to be a verb activated by a vegetable, as in the case of pickled herring. However you’re using the word “pickle,” and whatever it means to you, we say: keep it up, champ! (But for the sake of food safety, we do suggest you consult an actual pickle authority before undertaking any preserving projects so you don’t end up with a nasty case of botulism or some other kind of easily avoided food poisoning.) Pickles and pickled things add the extra je ne sais quoi to your sandwich, your hot dog, your salad, or your cheese plate that other foods and condiments simply can’t achieve. We rounded up some of our favorite “pickles” for your next foray into preserving. We suggest investing in some clean Mason jars and a lot of vinegar. Happy fermenting!
Get savory curry flavors into a tangy pickle by letting creamy white Japanese eggplant soak in vibrant turmeric vinegar with whole fennel and coriander seeds.
Adorably tiny sour Mexican gherkin cucumbers, under-ripe green cherry tomatoes, and mild fish peppers were the gems from the MUNCHIES rooftop garden that Baltimore chef Spike Gjerde decided to turn into refrigerator pickles on the day he visited us last summer, but you could easily use this same process for carrots, pearl onions, sweet peppers, or cauliflower.
While it may be true that India is in a historically tortured relationship with mango pickle, we promise you that this recipe will treat you—and whatever dishes you want to serve it with— right.
Pickled mustard greens are a key component to a beloved dish in Hakka cuisine, a particular subgroup within Chinese culture that experienced a diaspora during the Chinese Civil War, with many Hakka ending up in the Caribbean, like Toronto chef Nick Chen-Yin. When you’ve successfully pickled your ham choy, use it to top the slow-simmered pork the way Nick’s Chinese-Jamaican grandma does it.
If you want to become proficient at ad-hoc pickling, we suggest that you invest in a Costco-sized bottle of white distilled vinegar, as used here to pickle these fresh-from-the-garden carrots.
So you may not be eating the tomato vine that’s getting “pickled” in this jar, but you’re definitely going to taste the summer fruit, whose flavors get super concentrated in its vines, in the finished product. Use this liquid to make salad dressings long after tomato season is over.
“Pickling onions,” or pearl onions, are a pain in the ever-loving ass to peel, but once you make one batch of these little guys, you’re going to want to keep a jar of them in the fridge all the time.
Pickled eggs are a quintessential British bar snack, and master British pickler Freddie Jannsen somehow makes them even better by adding smoky, spicy chipotle peppers to the brining liquid. You can watch her make both these eggs and her Amsterdam onions above over on our YouTube channel.
To top this lightly charred yu choy, former Mission Chinese chef Angela Dimayuga had to start two days in advance to make two different types of pickle: chili pickled long beans, and beet-pickled hard boiled eggs.
The lime pickle in this recipe is a perfect accompaniment to these spicy onion fritters, but it also makes an excellent condiment for lots of other things, so you should make a big batch while you’re at it.
Piccalilli is the kind of pickle that is best made at home so you can really customize it with your preferred veggies, spices, and heat level. So do yourself a favor: make a double batch of this recipe and jar up the extra so your pantry is always stocked.
The pickled onions that traditionally top a smoked eel sandwich are supremely simple to make, requiring a firm red onion, good-quality white wine vinegar, and just the right amount of sugar. They also go great on tacos, egg sandwiches, or in salads, so you can never have too much.
A little bit of bourbon gives these pickled okra a little something different, and makes for a truly interesting appetizer when you batter and deep fry them.
There’s nothing quite like catching a whiff of your homemade kimchi fermenting away in the back corner of your fridge every time you reach in for something.
You can quite literally kimchi anything if you try hard enough, and start with this magical kimchi base paste.