Perfectly sweet, salty, tart, and lemony; who knew Pickled Brussels Sprouts could have such a complex flavour? Easy to prepare, and a great addition to a cheese board!
Ok, so I know what you might be thinking – “Pickled Brussels sprouts? Really, Lord Byron? Is that where your blog is headed? Such desperation!” But, trust me, my dearly devoted reader, they are everything I described in the heading and more!
I know posting recipes using Brussels sprouts is a hit or a miss. It’s just one of those vegetables that people love or hate; there’s really no in between. You’ll most likely never hear anyone say that they’re okay with the taste of Brussels sprouts, it’s just yes or no, black or white, you know?
Well, I happen to love them and I love them in almost any form. Of course, most of us are most familiar with roasted Brussels sprouts, I think, but there’s a whole new world of Brussels sprouts recipes out there that we all need to discover. Now that I’ve discovered Pickled Brussels Sprouts, it just might be possible that I love them more than I did before.
The texture of Pickled Brussels Sprouts is quite different than what you might expect. Even though they are only boiled for five minutes, they are sitting sealed in a salty and lemony brine for what could be a very long time. They become soft and lose their bright green colour. I would think that most vegetables that are packed in a vinegar-based brine would be easily robbed of its colour eventually!
If you’ve ever had boiled Brussels sprouts, well, over-boiled Brussels sprouts, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. But, I don’t want that to put you off in any way. Even though the texture may be a little soft, it’s the taste that keeps you coming back for more.
I imagine that these Pickled Brussels Sprouts would be best if served in a little bowl with other pickles and sides. A Thanksgiving dinner comes to mind immediately. Or, one of those impromptu let’s-get-a-meal-on-the-table-now deals because unexpected company just showed up.
I remember my mom would throw together a spread quite easily with a bowl of pickled beets, some cheese, crackers, bread, a can of luncheon meat, and maybe some mustard pickles too. Those were my favourite meals, in fact, it was only super delicious if served with a hot cup of tea!
Maybe, Dear Reader, Pickled Brussels Sprouts are not your thing. And, if they aren’t, and you’ve still read this far down the page, then thank you! So, for you, allow me to make mention of some other Brussels sprouts recipes that are super popular here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen.
You might like the simplicity of a pan fried sprout like these in my Spicy Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Corn and Caramelized Onions recipe. Or maybe you’ll prefer something with a little heat and a little spice like my Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts.
Or, finally, for that cook who’s in a hurry and the same cook who loves the no-mess-no-fuss approach to cooking and getting a meal on the table, allow me to introduce you to one of my favourite sheet pan recipes: Roasted Sausage with Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash. Yummy! There then, that’s got to be enough Brussels sprouts inspiration for everyone. Cheers!
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Pickled Brussels Sprouts
- 3 pounds Brussels sprouts
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 15 whole black peppercorns
- 1 whole lemon, cut into 6 wedges
- Begin by sterilizing 3 500ml jars. To sterilize your jars, wash the jars well in hot, soapy water. Rinse the soap off in hot running water and place the clean jars into a large pot of water. Be sure that the jars are fully submerged right side up. Turn the heat to medium-high and allow the jars to sit in the water until the water comes to a boil. Once the water is boiling, time the jars for at least 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to simmer and leave the jars in the pot until you're ready to use. When removing the jars, avoid contact with the inside of the jar when removing it from the pot or when filling it with the ingredients. To sterilize the seals and lids, wash them as you did the jars, and boil water in your kettle. Pour the boiled water into a clean bowl and drop the seals and lids into the water. Be sure the lids and seals and completely submerged.
- Next, remove the outer leaves from the sprouts if they are wilted, discoloured, or dirty. Trim the stalk end and cut a X in the stalk about 1/4 inch deep. If the sprouts are large, cut them in half and skip the X cut.
- Add the sprouts to a pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and strain immediately.
- Rinse out the pot and add the vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.
- Using a canning funnel, pack the jars in the following manner: one lemon wedge, and then sprouts until you reach just over half way up the jar. Add the second lemon wedge and continue filling the jar with the sprouts.
- Add 5 whole peppercorns to each jar.
- Again, using a canning funnel, pour the hot brine into the jars leaving 1/2 inch of head space.
- Use a chop stick to move the sprouts around; this will help to rid the jar of air bubbles. Top up the jars with more brine if needed.
- Add a seal and a lid. Tighten the lid until just snug - don't screw the lid on really tight.
- Using a jar lifter, lower the jars into the original pot of simmering water. Be sure the water is covering the jars by at least an inch. Turn the heat up to medium-high and once the water is at a boil, allow the jars to sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the water and set aside. About 30 minutes or so into the cooling time, the jars will making a popping sound. This sound is a result of the air contracting inside the jar which pulls the ring down creating a vacuum seal. You will note that the center of the lid will have been pulled down. When the jars are cooled, gently push down on the center of the lid. If the lid pushes down, the jar did not seal properly. Store that particular jar in your refrigerator and eat first. The rest of the jars can be wiped down with a moist towel, the lids re-tightened by hand, and labeled for storage.
- Store in a dark, cool cabinet for up to 12 months.
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