It’s our favorite time of year at the farmers markets – so many varieties of pears and apples are arriving and the last of summer fruits and berries can be sought out. One way to capture and preserve all that seasonal flavor is to pickle perfectly ripe fruits. Its super quick and easy. You can make them ahead – they’ll keep several weeks in the fridge. They provide a complementary sweet and sour burst of flavor to cheese and charcuterie service; they can wake up any salad or sandwich; and they’re a great condiment with grilled and roasted meats.
A few tips. Always use perfectly ripe fruits: too firm and the flavors aren’t developed, over ripe and the texture will be mushy. Use the best vinegar you can afford. Wine and cider vinegars are smoother than white vinegar and lend added dimensions of flavor. Taste the brine before combining with the fruit and adjust for sweetness or flavorings as necessary.
Here are a few recipes to get you started. Quick pickles must be stored in the refrigerator and will last several weeks. Get creative with them – you’ll find dozens of new ways to enhance your foods.
Pickled Grapes – recipe adapted from Chef Kelly Sears
Delicious paired with any cheese, we really love them with the washed-rind beauties like Oma,sheep milk cheeses like Manchego or your favorite blue. A bowl of these also make an addictive bar snack with cocktails.
6 cups mixed red and green seedless grapes
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
2½ cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup white wine
2 tablespoon coriander seeds crushed
2 tablespoon mustard seeds toasted
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
7 whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger
2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced, seeds included
Pickled Blueberries with Rosemary
We’ve serve these at Marché with our hand-dipped ricotta laced with fresh lemon zest. Try the combo as a savory appetizer on crostini with fresh torn basil, or a sweet treat on pancakes, pound cake and ginger snaps. Maybe try our Bluehaven Blueberry Gin martini garnished with these plump beauties?
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 cup white wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
Pickled Peaches – adapted from Chef Kelly Sears
Enhanced with a little white wine, these peaches will add layers of flavor to soft-ripened, brie style cheeses, fresh chevres or ribbons of Prosciutto di Parma. And be sure to serve them with your next pork roast or chops.
10 ripe peaches, blanched, skins removed
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1½ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 dried bay leaves
2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves
Lemon Pickled Honey Crisp Apples – recipe adapted from Chef John Currence
Apples and Cheddar. What could be better? Maybe serving these with your Thanksgiving turkey too. And try these in a mixed green or arugula salad with your favorite cheese and roasted nuts.
6 Honey Crisp or alternate apple
1 cup sliced onions (about 1 medium), julienne
The zest and juice of two lemons
2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne