Don’t even talk to me about Brussels sprouts, people. And don’t even talk to me about Kate. The two together – Brussels sprouts plus Kate – make me wanna cuddle up with a pickle plate. We photographed this simple recipe last year and realized it’s perfect timing to share right now because all the markets are loaded up with these little green nuggets. Get thee to pickling, as soon as you can. Kate’s version is splendid.
I am a major proponent of anything pickled, craving vinegar at odd times throughout the day, which is why my fridge is always filled to the brim with a variety of pickled veggies, fruits, and meats.
I blame my father for this addiction, as he is the one who first introduced me to pickled eggs (an Easter tradition in our home), as well as his version of a “snack” that typically included pickled herring, olives, pickled veggies, salami, and cheese. It wasn’t until I went to college that I realized it wasn’t really the norm to crave pickled green beans in-between meals. My friends would reach for a bag of chips and I would pop open a pickle jar.
Not much has changed, except it wasn’t long before most store-bought pickled goods just weren’t cutting it, as it became harder and more expensive to find ones that I loved. I had inadvertently become somewhat of a snob, having had a lifetime of trying any and all pickled stuff I could find. I knew what I didn’t like (mushy veggies and a lack of balance in tart, sweet, sour, and salty) and what I did (crisp and fresh-tasting veggies with a lot of bold flavors).
I do still find small-batch makers who totally blow my mind with their creations (like Pernicious Pickles and their Sweet Curried Cauliflower), but I needed to have my own source in times of craving emergencies. So I did what most obsessed people do, and started pickling at home. There were some definite failures (cinnamon carrots, oh my why?) alongside some really great successes.
These pickled Brussels sprouts were one of the latter. I adore this veggie, and find that it is extremely versatile when it comes to pickling as it absorbs flavors without sacrificing its original taste. I played with a variety of different spices and herbs before discovering how much cardamom loves Brussels sprouts. The two play so well together.
For good measure, I added in a few of my other favorite pickling pals: mustard seed, apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes (for just a little kick), and garlic. The results are pickled Brussels sprouts that are great to eat straight from the jar (our little secret) or as an accompaniment to an entire antipasto platter. And they make a gorgeous gift that is totally unexpected. Take them to a game-day gathering or the next potluck and watch as you convert others to the pickling craze. My pops would be so proud.
Pickled Brussels Sprouts
Makes: 1 1/2 Liter Jar
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed (and halved if large)
- 2 cups water, plus more for blanching brussels sprouts
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cardamom pods, crushed
- 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
- Bring a large pot of water--big enough to hold the 2 pounds of brussels sprouts--to a boil. Drop the brussels sprouts in the water and cook for a few minutes, or until slightly tender. You don't want them to be too tender or they will end up mushy in the jar. Remove the the brussels sprouts and immediately plunge into an ice bath (big bowl with ice water).
- In a smaller pot, add the 2 cups water, vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed, peppercorns, bay leaf, cardamom pods, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and let cook until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
- Add the brussels sprouts and garlic clove slices to a sterilized jar. Carefully pour the hot vinegar mixture over the brussels sprouts. Seal the jar and place in the refrigerator. The flavors will continue to develop the longer the brussels sprouts sit.
- 1 1/2-Liter Jar
- Decorative pin
- 1 tag
- Wrap the ribbon around the top of the jar. Pin it in place with a decorative pin.
- Write a quick note on the tag and attach it the the ribbon.
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