Pickled Vegetables

Dear Claire And Eden,

When your dad and I first moved to Sorrento Valley, we would travel to Mira Mar Road every Friday night for Vietnamese food. The Asian restaurants along Mira Mar are some of the best I’ve tried. I fell in love with pickled vegetables when I ate my first Bahn Mi sandwich. I now keep a jar in my refrigerator for snacking. Once in a while, I grind the jar of pickled veggies in a food processor to make a tasty spread on any deli sandwich. Claire, you know how we love a good cheese board. Serve pickled vegetables as part of an appetizer spread with fresh tomatoes, olives, flatbread, and hummus or baba ghanoush. They are also tasty alongside grilled meats  So many possibilities!

 Experiment with your favorites  I like carrots, cauliflower, red and yellow pepper, purple onion, pearl onions and jalapeƱo slices. I use the refrigerator method, but if you have a large garden, you might want process them using a traditional canning method. I have also substituted half of the sugar for monk fruit if you want to cut back on sugar consumption. 

This recipe makes 1 quart.




  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. black or brown mustard seeds (or substitute yellow)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
  • Three 1/4-inch-thick slices peeled fresh ginger
  • One-half small yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch florets (about 1 cup)
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal (about 1cup)
  • One-half red bell pepper, cut into large dice (about 1 cup)
  • Preparation
  • Put the coriander, mustard, and cumin seeds in a small saucepan. Toast the spices over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, garlic, ginger, onion, sugar, salt, peppercorns, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and 1 cup water to the toasted spices. Bring to a boil.

For quick (refrigerator) pickles:

  • Pack the cauliflower, carrots, and bell pepper in a 1 qt. heat-resistant glass canning jar. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables. Let cool to room temperature and then place a lid on the jar. Store the pickled vegetables for at least 2 but preferably 7 days (or longer) before opening. Refrigerate after opening.  Keeps for two weeks. 

For canned pickles:

  • Use sugar, not Monk Fruit or other sugar substitutes if you plan to can. Pack the vegetables into clean, hot pint jars. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles by slowly raising and lowering a chopstick or a plastic blade around the inside of the jars (a trapped air bubble may shatter a jar as it heats). If you have extra brine, strain it and distribute the solids among the jars. Wipe the jars’ lids with a damp cloth before putting on the lids. Secure the lids with screw bands tightened by hand.  Process for 10 minutes, following the instructions found in the Ball Canning website.

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