Pickle Recipes and Preserved Foods

Preserved garlic in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I love, love, love pickles and preserved foods. I do everything from cure my own olives to pickle fish, but the recipes here are standard — more or less — vegetable and fruit pickles. I often find myself with more of a wild edible food or a garden veggie than I can eat fresh, so I immediately think “how can I pickle some of this?” There’s usually a way.


fennel sauerkraut recipe

Fennel Sauerkraut

A truly excellent rendition of sauerkraut that’s about 50-50 shaved fennel bulb and cabbage, spiced with lots of different seeds. Awesome on a sausage.

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How to make mustard

How to Make Mustard

Basics on mustard-making and a recipe for a simple country mustard.

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ancient Roman mustard

Ancient Roman Mustard

A modernized version of an ancient Roman mustard. You gotta try this one!

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beer vinegar recipe

How to Make Beer Vinegar

Yep. Vinegar, made with beer. Not exactly malt vinegar, this is something better, something richer in flavor.

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tabasco pepper mash

Tabasco Style Fermented Hot Sauce

This is the real deal, a long-fermented hot sauce in the style of Tabasco. It takes a while to make, but it’s worth the wait.

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Green onion kimchi on a plate

Wild Green Onion Kimchi

I make this with Western three-cornered leeks, but you can use ramps or any other green onion or scallion.

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pickled blueberries with venison steak on a plate

Pickled Blueberries

Yes, you can pickle blueberries, or any small berry, for that matter. They’re fantastic alongside wild game or salmon.

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Walnut ketchup recipe

Classic Walnut Ketchup

Yep. Ketchup isn’t just for tomatoes. This is an old English recipe for a sauce that is a lot like a cross between A1 Steak Sauce and Worcestershire. You make it with green, unripe walnuts.

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How to make verjus

How to Make Verjus

Verjus or verjuice is a “vinegar” made by pressing unripe grapes. Its less acidic than actual vinegar, and is what you will want to use when you want a bright flavor with food served with wine.

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how to preserve garlic

How to Preserve Garlic

Not pickled garlic but, caramelized, sweet garlic cloves pressure-canned. This is one of the most amazing foods I’ve ever made.

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A bowl of pickled ramps, pickled with saffron.

Pickled Ramps

Beautiful, crunchy and slightly sweet, I pickle these ramp bulbs with saffron, honey and thyme.

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Fermented carrots in a jar on the counter.

Fermented Carrot Pickles

Yep. Old style, no-vinegar pickles, fermented in brine. I pickle carrots in no other way now.

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pickled jerusalem artichokes

Pickled Sunchokes

Also called sunchokes, these crunchy tubers are awesome pickled with turmeric and chiles.

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Jars of preserved lemons

Preserved Lemons

Salting citrus such as lemons, limes or oranges has been done in many cultures. Here is an overview of the different methods, with a recipe.

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pickled artichokes recipe

Pickled Artichokes

This is by far the best method for preserving artichoke hearts. Works best with the little artichokes.

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Pickled fiddleheads on a plate

Pickled Fiddleheads

Brine-pickled fiddleheads from either ostrich or lady ferns. These are briny and a little spicy, but super crunchy. Eat them alongside cheese or cured meats.

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pickled mustard greens in a bowl

Pickled Mustard Greens

I make these every year when our wild mustard greens come ready. It’s a little like kimchi meets sauerkraut, and it’s a common ingredient in Chinese cooking – also good on a bun with sausage.

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pickled cauliflower recipe

Pickled Cauliflower

Classic Italian antipasto style pickled cauliflower. If you grew up in “red sauce” places, you’ll love this one.

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smoked jalapenos recipe

Smoked, Roasted and Preserved Jalapenos

These are made of awesome. They are the love child of chipotle and fire-roasted red peppers. You want to make these, oh yes you do…

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Pickled fennel in a bowl with appetizer forks

Pickled Fennel

Sweet and sour fennel pickles, with a little lemon zest thrown in. Wonderful on an antipasto plate.

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how to preserve red peppers

Preserving Peppers

An old Italian method for preserving sweet or hot peppers. You roast them, dredge in vinegar, salt and preserve in olive oil.

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Sicilian sun dried zucchini recipe

What to Do with All that Zucchini

Similar to the pepper recipe above, this is a great way to preserve zucchini. Salted, dried and preserved in oil.

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pickled pike recipe

Pickled Pike

A Northwoods favorite, this works with any firm, white fish.

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pickled herring recipe

Swedish Pickled Herring

This is a classic Swedish recipe for herring that can also be made with capelin, sardines, pilchards or smelt.

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A bowl of pickled shrimp

Pickled Shrimp

A Southern tradition, pickled shrimp is a great party appetizer anytime of the year, but especially in summer.

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dried smoked shrimp

How to Make Dried Shrimp

Dried shrimp is a key ingredient in many of the world’s cuisines. Here’s how to make them.

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pickled chanterelle mushrooms

Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms

This is my standard pickle for mushrooms. Slight sweetness, lots of mustard seed and bay leaves. Works with most mushrooms.

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how to preserve porcini

Italian Marinated Mushrooms

Absolutely my favorite way to preserve big, meaty mushrooms. I like porcini preserved this way better than ever fresh porcini!

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Close up of fermented mushrooms on a plate.

Polish Fermented Mushrooms

A Polish and Eastern European method of preserving mushrooms, these are boiled briefly, then salted down and fermented. Spectacular with bread and vodka.

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cured green olives

How to Cure Green Olives

The most basic methods, with water and with brine. Water curing takes vigilance, brine curing takes time.

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how to lye cure olives

Curing Olives with Lye

My favorite way to cure green olives. It sounds gnarly, but lye-curing dates back 2000 years. It makes a buttery olive.

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Fresh black olives in a bowl ready to be oil cured

How to Make Oil Cured Black Olives

This is that Greek style wrinkly olive. It is a very easy method of curing black olives, and the flavor is far better than any store-bought olive.

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Salt cured egg yolk

Salt Cured Egg Yolk

Yes, you can salt cure an egg yolk. It’s an easy preservation project to do, and the finished product is awesome over pasta, rice or vegetables. It’s like eggy parmesan cheese.

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fireweed tea recipe

Fireweed Tea

A tea made by fermenting fireweed leaves, exactly the way you make traditional black tea.

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Candied angelica stems in a glass jar.

Candied Angelica

Angelica, lovage or fennel stems are hollow, so when you candy them, they make great straws, or zippy notes as a dessert garnish.

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pickled walnuts recipe

Pickled Walnuts

Pickled walnuts are a classic British condiment, mostly served with cheddar cheese and charcuterie. They also go well with sweet foods, too. You make them with unripe, green walnuts.

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wild grape leaves

Pickled Grape Leaves

I use these grape leaves to make dolmades, stuffed grape leaves. They will last more than a year if you can them.

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Tomatillo and cilantro salsa. This is a cooked, canned salsa that makes a perfect base for making chile verde.

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Madrone Tea Eggs

Madrone is a flavorful tree bark in the West, which creates this pretty stain on the cracked eggs. You can also use ponderosa pine or hickory bark to make these.

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