How to Pickle Anything

Johnny Autry
February/March 2013

With fresh produce and a basic brine, the pickle possibilities are endless

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Thomas Jefferson said, “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.” If you’re short an Aunt Sally, follow these tips from Chris Shepherd, executive chef at Underbelly in Houston. Start with fresh produce and a basic brine (heated until sugar and salt dissolve), amplify with creative extras, and marinate overnight. The flavor is in the details, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Recipe for a Basic Brine
(For every 1 lb. of produce)

½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup very hot water
5 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt

Choose Add-ins: Crushed red pepper, star anise, celery seed, dill seed, sliced garlic, lemon zest, thyme springs, cinnamon stick, garlic cloves

Pickle This Now: (Spring) Strawberries, Swiss chard, tomatoes; (Summer) Peaches, okra, green beans, figs; (Fall) Cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, beets

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