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19 Foods You Need to Start Pickling Immediately

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

The benefits of pickled foods

Pickling is a food preservation process that has been around since ancient times. It helps extend the shelf life of food through preservation in an acid solution, such as vinegar or saltwater brine. The quick pickling method uses water, vinegar, pickling salt and optionally, various spices or aromatics, such as lemon rind, garlic or fresh herbs. The other pickling technique involves fermentation, when naturally occurring sugars and bacteria engage in a chemical reaction, giving fermented foods their distinctly sour taste.

Not only do fermented and pickled foods taste good, but they are also full of health benefits, including:

  • Improves digestion, thanks  to the probiotics
  • Promotes more stable blood glucose levels, which staves off intense hunger pangs and prevents your blood sugar from spiking
  • Improves immune function and helps fight against disease—many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants

If you’re already a fan of regular pickles, which are made from cucumbers, why not continue your exploration of fermented and pickled foods with these 19 delicious options?

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Eggs

Pickled eggs used to be a hugely popular bar snack in the US and UK back in the 17th century. This recipe shows you how to make them with beets, a method created in Pennsylvania by a group of German immigrants known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. With a pink hue and touch of sweetness from the beets, they make for a pretty appetizer on any occasion.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Cherries

Cherries are generally sweet and sour in flavor, and when you pickle them they become deliciously tart (though some varieties are naturally tart). In this recipe, vanilla bean is added for extra sweetness, while red pepper flakes and peppercorns add a spicy kick.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Green beans

Fresh green beans have a naturally firm texture, which makes them an ideal candidate for pickling. This recipe uses a classic brine flavored with fresh thyme and garlic and adds in other vegetables such as radish, bell pepper and carrots for even more flavor and variety.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Peaches

Pickled or spiced peaches are a vintage treat that used to be very popular in the Southern United States, especially as a holiday side dish. But instead of savory aromatics, they’re boiled with sweet spices like whole cinnamon sticks and cloves. This canning-friendly recipe is super easy, and the spiced peaches will last for up to a year in your cupboard (or fully immersed in the fridge for up to one month).

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Ginger

If you’ve had sushi, you’ve probably seen or tasted traditional pickled ginger, which is meant to serve as a palate cleanser during a multi-course sushi meal. Many people eat the ginger as a condiment with the sushi pieces, but regardless, it’s a delicious piquant side that perks up the taste buds. Try it at home with this easy and authentic recipe.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Lemons

Preserved lemons or lemon pickles (also known as “country lemons”) are brined in salt and lemon juice for several weeks or months, until they take on a tangy, intense citrusy flavor, yet not overly tart. Widely used in Moroccan cuisine and other cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, they’re delicious in a variety of dishes, include soups, stews, sauces and more. Get the recipe here.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Cheese

This flavorful cheese is marinated with a combination of aromatics, spices, dried thyme and oil, for a minimum of 3 days. Of course, if you can’t find the traditional Czech cheese it’s made with, you can substitute camembert or brie in its place. Get the recipe here.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Red onions

Pickled red onions have just the right balance of sweet and tangy flavors, making them an ideal condiment for myriad dishes, including tacos, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and so much more. Even better, they can be prepared and ready to consume in less than an hour. Get the recipe here.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Jalapenos

If you love adding fresh chili peppers or hot sauce to your meals, you have to try these homemade pickled jalapenos. Although their raw heat is slightly toned down by the pickling liquid, they are just as spicy and satisfying and can be used in much the same way as their fresh counterparts. Get the recipe here.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Carrots

These vibrant pickled carrots are made with a classic pickling brine, which infuses them with that irresistible tangy taste and crisp bite. They need a good 24 hours to soak up all the flavors, so be sure to plan ahead. Get the recipe here.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Garlic

Not a fan of garlic’s natural pungency? Try pickling it, which helps tone down that sharp, intensely garlicky flavor that seems to stay on your breath for days. This simple recipe yields delicious results. Use it to garnish cocktails, add it to your charcuterie boards or enjoy it as a sweet and tangy snack with a slight kick.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Avocado

What can’t avocadoes do? This recipe shows you how to turn them into a pickled snack or condiment, perfect for adding a touch of tang to your everyday dishes. Plus, if you’ve got some underripe avocados, pickling will render them softer quicker and give them more flavor.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Cherry tomatoes

Pickled cherries will last for up to 2 months in the fridge, which means you’ll always have a last-minute snack or garnish on hand. This recipe perks up their naturally sweet taste with fresh ginger and garlic.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Blueberries

Give blueberries a second life by pickling them into a delectable spiced compote. Used just like any other fruit compote, it’s great for spreading, used as a condiment for grilled or roasted meats and fish, or added to cheese boards for a sweet and tangy boost. Get the recipe here.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Radishes

Pickled radishes will add pep to your salads, sandwiches, tacos, nachos—not to mention a pretty pop of pink! Try this recipe made with a classic pickling liquid of vinegar, sugar, water and seasonings.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Cucumbers

If you’ve never tried your hand at homemade pickles, you’ve been missing out. Nothing beats the flavor of refreshing dill pickles with their distinctive salty, briny profile. This recipe takes 8 minutes to prepare and only requires a day of patience before you get to dig in.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Beets

Sweet, earthy beets lend themselves beautifully to the pickling process with this quick and easy recipe. It’s a great way to preserve leftover cooked beets, and they’ll add a yummy boost to any number of salads and sandwiches—or serve as a healthy snack for any time of day.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Okra

No canning is necessary to make this spicy and addictive pickled okra. Chilies add a delightful kick, but if you prefer non-spicy, you can always leave them out. Crispy and garlicky, they’re sure to become a favorite in your pickling rotation. Get the recipe here.

food, 19 foods you need to start pickling immediately

Pickled red cabbage

Last but certainly not least, red cabbage is a great veggie option for pickling. When served raw, it has a waxy texture and slightly pepper taste, although it doesn’t taste all that great without seasoning. Whereas the pickling process turns it into a crunchy, sweet and flavorful veggie that becomes a formidable side or garnish you’ll want to put on everything. Get the recipe here.

Hungry for more? Check out From Kimchi to Sauerkraut: Recipes that are Good for Your Gut.

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