Food & Drink

Pickled Mustard Greens

A Memphis-born chef shares a bright and spicy way to preserve a green staple of summer

Photo: Ed Anderson

photo: Celeste Noche
Bryant Terry.

“Imagine my surprise when I saw pickled mustard greens in a dish at a Szechuan restaurant about a decade ago. I’m always looking for cultural, political, and culinary connections between Black and Chinese people (#AfroAsian #BBQBeansprouts), so I was happy to see the pickled greens, given how central mustard greens are to traditional African American cuisine. Incorporate these into your meals as you would other pickled and fermented vegetables.” —Bryant Terry, a Memphis native and music lover who recommends listening to the song “Contronatura” by Stereolab from Dots and Loops while making this recipe.


  • Yield: About 1 quart

    • 1½ cups apple cider vinegar

    • ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar

    • 2 tbsp. raw cane sugar

    • ¼ tsp. plus 1 tbsp. kosher salt

    • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns

    • 2 lbs. mustard greens, stems thinly sliced and leaves coarsely chopped (keep stems and leaves separate)

    • 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced


  1. In a medium sauté pan, combine the vinegars, sugar, ¼ tsp. of the salt, and the peppercorns. Heat over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool while you prepare the mustard greens. 

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 3 qts. water to a boil over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. salt and the mustard green stems and boil for 1 minute. Immediately remove the pot from the heat, add the mustard green leaves, and let sit for 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. 

  3. Transfer the leaves and stems to a clean 1-qt. canning jar. Add the chiles to the jar and pour the pickling liquid over everything. Let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours, then seal the jar and refrigerate until ready to serve. The pickled mustard greens will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Reprinted with permission from Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by Bryant Terry, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.