Pickleberries

This week’s pre-delivery CSA list had me prepped for more rhubarb—which was great, since I’d used up last week’s bundle making preserves Sunday.

When I pulled back the lid on Tuesday’s box, though, there were strawberries instead. Superb. Sunday’s jam session had also cleaned me out of extra berries, so the switcheroo was a welcome one.

Homegrown
Okay, I wasn’t exactly OUT of berries; it’s just that the bowlful I pick from the raised bed each morning is too precious for anything except fresh eating.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this bonus box:  pickleberries.

If that sounds like a short-lived Cap’n Crunch flavor to you, you’re likely not alone. A quick poll of my co-workers—folks whom I consider awfully food savvy—confirmed that pickling fruit is not exactly mainstream. Yet.

But let’s work on that.

Ingredients
Berries, vinegar, water, honey, salt, pepper. Period.

These quick-pickled strawberries take just 15 minutes to throw together. And after a 12-hour cure, you’ll have a jar of sweet-tart-savory goodness to add zip to everything from salads to sodas.

  • Toss the berries into a green salad (I especially like them with arugula). Their vinegar infusion means your dressing can be a simple drizzle of good olive oil.
  • Smear crostini with fresh goat cheese or ricotta (or even mascarpone), then top with a pickled berry.
  • Muddle a couple in a glass, add a slice of lemon, and top off with seltzer. Instant shrub!
  • After the berries are gone, use the brine as a base for your next vinaigrette.
Toast
A perfect savory bite: baguette, lemon chèvre, pickled strawberry.

Quick-Pickled Strawberries

Adapted from Marisa McClellan‘s marvelous new book, Preserving by the Pint. My alts were for scale, plus I subbed in honey for sugar and thyme for tarragon. I love tarragon, but my 6-year-old plant was a winter casualty, and the new seedling I sunk last month just isn’t big enough to sustain cuttings yet. 

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, destemmed, and halved
  • 3/8 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp coarse-ground black pepper
  • 2 springs thyme
Pickleberries
A pint of red brilliance.

In a small saucepan, whisk together everything except the berries and thyme sprigs. Bring to a full boil.

Meanwhile, load the thyme and then the berries into a clean pint jar.

Pour the hot brine over the berries. Fill the jar as full as you can so that all the berries are covered; if you need to top off with a little more water, that’s okay. Let everything cool completely, then cover and refrigerate.

Restrain yourself for 12-24 hours so that the brine can fully penetrate the berries. Enjoy within a month.

Picklefinger
Picklefinger strikes again. (Thanks, Bryn.)

6 Comments Add yours

  1. pavanneh says:

    those look absolutely delicious. 😀

    1. Susan says:

      Thanks! If you try them, please let me know how they turn out for you.

  2. Patrick says:

    Suze, I diid these over the weekend, they almost didn’t make it to Monday morning. On their own, mixed in a salad and the best, on top of crostini w/ Mancusos ricotta, unreal! Definitely a keeper.

    1. Susan says:

      Glad it worked out for you, Patrick. I’ve only got half a jar left, and I’m thinking the little, bitty berries that pop out as my plants peter out for the summer might get that treatment whole . . .

  3. Heck, yeah, pickled strawberries! I thought I’d already commented here, Susan, but I am so in love with the pickled fruit deal. I was totally skeptical with the pickled strawberries, but I have LOVED them on salads and in gin-based cocktails. I also used up the birining liquid in my summery vinaigrette – super easy and such a flavor booster! As far as pickled fruit (or anything, for that matter!) goes, I am sold. Will try them smeared on top of crostini very soon! #yayforpickledfruit!!!

    1. Susan says:

      What’s your go-to prep for cherries, Jayme Marie? I’ve tucked some away in Luxardo and some in Bourbon, but I’d love to try a spiced and/or a pickle version, too.

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