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Once a year, my husband and I take a vacation to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. As a holiday destination, it has many things going for it. First, it is all of an hour and a half's drive from our home in Center City Philadelphia but still manages to feel worlds away from our urban neighborhood. Second, everything from groceries to accommodations are dirt cheap compared to other drivable locales. And third, it is the land of pickles.
Truly, everywhere you go, you encounter walls of pickles. From supermarkets to gift shops, you can't turn around without spotting jars of pickled beans, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, relishes, beets and more. As you might guess, I adore it.
It was on one of these vacations that I discovered pickled Brussels sprouts. I've been a sprout fan for years. Love them roasted, sautéed, shredded or even quartered and added to soup. But I had never thought of pickling them before spotting that jar.
Of course, as soon as we returned home, I searched the available recipes and cobbled together a few in an attempt to recreate that storebought jar. I've made many batches since then, and have settled on a favorite recipe. It includes garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and mustard seeds. They're wonderfully zingy.
Before You Start
Before you start cleaning your sprouts, here are a few things you should know.
Trim and halve the sprouts; it makes for better brine absorption. Note: if you're sprouts are tiny, there's really no need to cut them in half.
If you like your pickles to have a bit of heat, add 1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes to each jar.
Be warned, because Brussels sprouts are brassicas, they will be a little bit stinky when you open the jar. There's nothing wrong, it's just their natural fragrance.
Get the Recipe
About the author: Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated pickler who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars.