Pickles are wonderful things.  Crispy, crunchy, salty and oddly refreshing, pickles are pretty much a lunch time necessity.  Boring sandwich? Pair it with a pickle.  Need something to bring to a picnic? Pick pickles.  The only thing better than one pickle- is two pickles.

Buckwheat pickles gif  (gif via tumblr)

If you can’t get enough pickles, maybe you should try expanding your pickle horizons.  Just about anything can be pickled, I’ll warn you now, pickling can get strange.  Pickling is pretty straightforward, and is a perfect activity for pickle loving home chefs.  Most of the recipes I’ve gathered use mason jars, but I’ve made pickles in those plastic court containers Chinese food places use for soup too.

So to honor the mighty pickle this National Pickle Day, here are some things besides cucumbers that make awesome pickles.  And if you don’t like pickles, dill with it.

1. Overnight Fennel and Jicama Pickles with Orange

Overnight Fennel and Jicama Pickles with Orange

These jicama and fennel pickels, I’ll call them jicamickles, are perfect for anyone who wants to try a unique pickle and have the briny fruits of their labor ready in no time.  The jicamickles don’t have to stay in the brine for a long time like some other pickles, and only have to soak overnight.  The inclusion of fresh orange juice will surely brighten these pickles up.

2. Cider-Vinegar-Pickled Beets

Cider vinegar pickled beets

Who says pickles have to be green? If you don’t like that stereotype, just beet it with these pickled beets. With cider vinegar and mustard seed, I’d say these would make a nice tangy summer side dish or go great in a salad.

3. Sweet and Spicy Asian Style Pickled Carrots

Sweet and spicy pickled carrots

These pickled strips of carrots are both sweet and spicy, and make a nice fresh and crunchy addition to many dishes, especially those that carry out the Asian theme, like rice bowls, spring rolls and sandwiches to make them banh-mi-esque.

4. Pickled Brussels Sprout Halves

Pickled Brussel Sprouts

Pickled cabbage is a pretty normal thing (sauerkraut, kimchi), so why not pickle brussels sprouts? I love these little guys, and definitely look forward to trying this out.  The pickling liquid has garlic and mustard seed in it to give these brussel sprickles(?) a little extra punch.  Just be warned, when you open up the jar, you will be surrounded by the stinky aroma of fermented sprouts.  Hold your nose and dig in!

5. Lemony Pickled Cauliflower 

Lemony Pickled Cauliflower

What’s nice about these pickles is that they don’t rely solely on vinegar for their acid, and also feature a nice hint of lemon.  Just make sure you cut the stems off your cauliflower, they don’t really get warm enough for them to loose their less than fun to eat woody texture.  You want nice crunchy cauliflower florets only.

6. Pickled Shiitakes 

pickled shitake mushrooms

I personally don’t know how I feel about pickled mushrooms, but after being soaked in soy sauce and ginger, I’d say these pickles would be pretty irresistible.

7. Pickled Red Grapes

Pickled red grapes

Pickled grapes? Just trying to figure out how those would taste makes my brain hurt.  Pickled with vanilla, cloves and sugar, these pickled grapes allegedly make a great addition to a cheese plate, I could see that being a nice change from boring old un-pickled grapes.  Maybe.

8. Pickled Cranberries

Pickled cranberries

With Thanksgiving being literally right around the corner, I felt a seasonal pickle was a must, and I just wasn’t feeling pickled pumpkin.  These pickled cranberries would be perfect on a salad in place of craisins, and I imagine they might also be a nice alternative, or addition, to cranberry sauce.

9. Pickled Shrimp 

pickled shrimp

Pickles don’t have to be fruits and vegetables, one of the world’s greatest meat products is actually pickled beef (Corned beef of course).  Instead of boring cocktail shrimp, these pickled guys would make a nice appetizer platter for a holiday cocktail hour.

10. The Ultimate Straight-Up Regular Kosher Dill Pickle

Kosher dill pickles

For all the pickle purists reading this just dying for a good old pickled cuke, here is a basic recipe for your typical dill pickle, because sometimes, you just can’t beat the original.

BONUS: “Koolickles”


Let me explain.  The kool-aid pickle is a strange idea that the good people of Mississippi thought up, and is a pretty common snack for kids in the area.  It is exactly what it sounds like.  You buy a jar of regular dill pickles, dump out the brine, and replace it with some extra strength kool-aid.  In just a few days, you will have some bright red pickles that no longer taste like pickles! This is possibly one of the strangest food trends to ever exist.  I think with some green kool-aid instead of red, however, this has the potential to make a great prank to play on the pickle lovers in your life.

What foods do you like to pickle?

Jaimie is a senior at Adelphi University studying Communications and Political Science. She enjoys exploring and adventures, and recently spent a semester abroad in Prague.