When most Americans think of pickles, they think of what I’ve gathered into the Fresh Pickle chapter in my new cookbook, The Complete Guide to Pickling: vegetables pickled in vinegar and either stored in the refrigerator or canned in a boiling water bath. The recipe list for that chapter includes some pickles that are likely old favorites (Kosher-Style Dill Pickles and Water Bath-Processed Beets) but also some fun, possibly new-to-you flavors (Curried Green Tomatoes and Szechuan-Spiced Cucumber Rounds).
But some of my new favorite fresh pickles fall in a later chapter of the book: Sweet and Fruity Pickles. I was surprised by how much I loved creating the pickle recipes in this chapter, because I generally turn up my nose at pickles labeled “sweet.” But that term is usually applied to pickled vegetables, like cucumbers and beets, that my brain doesn’t register as needing to be sweet. Fruit is a different story: whether I’m adding sugar or relying on the natural sugars within a fruit, my taste buds find that sweet and fruity pickles balance beautifully with the tang of vinegar or salt brine.
Ready to give one a try? Full details are in the recipe, taken straight from The Complete Guide to Pickling, but here are the basics:
You need just 3 fresh ingredients plus some basic pickling ingredients: vinegar, sugar, and salt.
1. Mix the brine.
2. Poach the pears in it.
3. Pack the jar, wait a few days, and enjoy.
Tips & Tricks
- Lemon and ginger to bring out the fruit’s flavor; the lemon also helps to keep the pears from oxidizing and darkening.
- Although this recipe has more added sugar than most of the other fruit pickles in The Complete Guide to Pickling, it makes the brine immediately usable as a shrub. Once the jar is empty, combine 1 ounce of the brine with 4 ounces of seltzer; leave a little room in the glass in case you want to add more brine for extra pucker power or more of seltzer for a pear-infused sparkling water. Or turn the shrub into a cocktail by replacing 1 or 2 ounces of the seltzer with rye or gin.
Twice as Tasty
As I mentioned in last week’s post, using pickles can be just as much fun as making them. When the print version of The Complete Guide to Pickling goes on sale October 27, I’ll offer a bonus recipe collection, The Pickled Picnic, exclusively here at Twice As Tasty that focuses on ways to use pickles.
In true Twice As Tasty fashion, you’ll find tips and even ingredient lists in The Complete Guide to Pickling that suggest ways to use other recipes in the book, such as Pickled Nasturtium Seeds and Scratch-Made Sriracha in Carrot Top and Mint Salsa (itself made using the tops left from Shaved and Fermented Carrots), Chile and Tomatillo Hot Sauce and Pickled Nasturtium Seeds in Southern-Style Pickled Shrimp, and Pickled Pineapple in Quick Pineapple and Apple Salsa (while saving the pineapple trimmings for Tepache, a fermented beverage). But the bonus companion collection goes further, giving you step-by-step instructions for using pickles in appetizers, beverages, sides and enhancements, and mains.
I feature many fresh pickles in The Pickled Picnic: Cocktail Onions land in a Briny Gibson, pickled and canned beans let you make Pickled Three-Bean Salad any time of year, and Apple-Sweetened Yellow Onions, Pickled Garlic Cloves, and Pickled Chive Blossoms all make tasty additions to Pickle-Topped Pizza. I particularly enjoyed finding ways to use sweet and fruity pickles and their brines. The pear recipe I shared here works beautifully in Pickled-Fruit Salsa, perhaps mixed with pickled sour cherries or mango, and is a unique and delicious pizza topping. Sweet-and-Tart Blueberries sit well on bruschetta, and brine from Jerk-Spiced Banana Pickles or Pickled Pineapple can glaze crispy tofu.
Get the book! Preorder your copy of The Complete Guide to Pickling today. Note that as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Stay tuned for how to get your copy of The Pickled Picnic.