Saturday, February 21, 2015

Garlic Basil Pickled Brussels Sprouts

Yes, yes, yes, I know!  This is another post with a "not your run of the mill" food.  You are probably wondering if we actually eat anything normal, and the answer is yes most of the time. This current eating plan requires more thought than I usually put into meals and I am trying very hard to stay on Whole30 , but I need/require/crave some different flavors and textures.  I think texture is what I miss most.  With the exception of raw vegetables, there is very little crunchy food, and I do like some crunch. (Right this minute I would just about kill for a cracker.) Long story short, I am buying things we do not usually eat on a regular basis, just for variety.

I found a deal on brussels sprouts, so I bought quite a bit.  I bought more than I actually could eat roasted but I did not want to toss them or freeze them. ( I abhor frozen brussels sprouts.) As I vacillated between just going ahead and eating more food I was not in the mood to eat, and freezing them ( simply to keep from trashing them) I happened on this recipe I saw at Punk Domestics.  It is a sorting house for all kinds of instructions for food storage and preservation from around the net. From there you can quickly link to individual bloggers with instructions/recipes for whatever you are interested in.

From P.D. I followed a link to Putting Up with Erin and this recipe for Pickled Brussels Sprouts.
I had everything on hand except for the fresh basil.  Since I had to stop by the grocery store later that afternoon it was no big deal to pick some up. Yikes!  I grow it every summer so I never buy it.  I had no idea how expensive it is. (Note to self: Next winter make sure you have a basil plant indoors.)

Anyway, a few dollars later I was ready to begin the experiment.  I have never pickled anything like sprouts before and thought it might be worth the effort, or might not.  With little to lose, I mostly followed the directions and soon had 2 lovely pints of pickled sprouts canned and sitting on the counter.

                                           Pickled Brussels Sprouts with Basil and Garlic.

Pre Pickling Prep

1 pound cleaned brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons pickling salt*
water to cover

Trim the bottoms of the sprouts.  Cut an x shape in the top of each sprout, stopping about 1/4 inch from the bottom. ( Allows for all the pickling juice goodness to reach the innards, but it keeps each sprout intact.  Put all the sprouts into a large bowl and add water to cover.  Stir in the salt until it is dissolved and allow the sprouts to have about a 20 minute soak.  Drain and rinse them in a colander. Pack tightly in 2 sterile pint jars leaving about 3/4 inch of headspace.

Additional Jar Items
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 dried  habenero pepper (I had this sitting on the counter but forgot to use it)

Add 1/2 of the basil, garlic and pepper (if you remember) to each jar.


1 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 cloves garlic cut in slices
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon pickling salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns

Heat in a small pan until liquid is boiling.  After it reaches a full rolling boil, pour the brine through a strainer over the sprouts in the jars. I strongly suggest having the jars on a towel in the sink.  Hot brine spills are best contained! Remove the air bubbles from the sides of the jars, wipe the rims, place a hot lid on the jars and tighten the rings.  Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.  I am adding a link here with step by step water bath canning instructions.  If you have never canned anything before read it first!

After the pickles set on a towel on the counter for 24 hours, I labeled the lids with the date then set them in the pantry.  After 3 weeks there they should be perfect.

I had a few more sprouts than would fit in the jar.  I also added just a little more vinegar, seasonings  and water so I would have additional brine.  I poured the hot brine over those few and let them sit in the fridge for a couple of days.  Oh my goodness they were delicious!  Not really crunchy, but still delicious. They were so good, I am looking for more brussels sprout deals so I can make additional jars to have throughout the year.  After canning they should be shelf stable for at least 1 year.

Also after wandering through Erin's blog I am pretty sure her Whiskey Ginger Jam is something I will tackle soon.  I am not a huge fan of the canning process, but I really do love the results and these small batch recipes are doable in under an hour.

I wonder if anyone has ever pickled radishes?  I have a boatload of them in the crisper right now. (See above comment about needing crunch.)  I guess I need to Google it.

p.s. If you are even moderately thinking about canning anything go ahead and buy some jars to have on hand.  They come self contained with the lids and rings.  For first time canners it is very nice to have things all together and not have to worry about the purchase of additional lids.

 I personally do not own a water bath canner.  I'm sure it is well worth the purchase and if I did serious canning I might invest in one.  Since I generally can 4 jars at a time (max.) I just use my spaghetti pot with a kitchen towel in the bottom as my canner. It is deep enough to cover a quart jar with 1 inch of water above the jar.  If my intentions and actions coincide this summer and IF the tomatoes I plant have a bumper crop, I may go ahead and invest in a real canner. Maybe!


  1. This recipe looks very good. When the growing season comes around again, we'll see if I can remember it.

    1. Remembering is exactly why I have to keep a notebook filled with ideas!

  2. This sounds wonderful and so does the roasted brussel sprouts. I may need to roast something.

  3. I really can't wait to open them. The flavor of the ones that did not have the canning time was fantastic. It will be great to see how much (or little) the flavor develops. I can roast and enjoy anything but beets. I just can't abide beets.