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3 Pickling Recipes From Silicon Valley's Brine Experts

Kendyl Kearly | October 20, 2020 | Food & Drink

With pickling now a top quarantine hobby—along with jigsaw puzzles and sourdough bread—we asked three local brine-loving businesses to each provide a recipe that can be made at home.

Pickles3GTUF.jpgElizabeth Vecchiarelli of Preserved hosts pickling workshops.


Preserved, Oakland

4 quarts water, divided

¾ cup sea salt

2 large heads fresh dill

6-9 cloves garlic, peeled

3-4 fresh grape, oak or horseradish leaves (for their tannins)

Spices to taste: black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, etc

1. To ensure the cucumbers stay firm, scrape off blossom end and soak for two hours in ice water. Heat 2 quarts of water, add salt and stir to dissolve completely. Add 2 quarts of cold water to temper the brine to a cool temperature.

2. Place dill, garlic, tannin-containing leaves and spices at the bottom of a 1-gallon vessel. Pack cucumbers tightly into your vessel, leaving an inch of headspace at the top. Pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers, covering the cucumbers completely and leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top. Use a weight of some kind to keep cucumbers submerged.

3. Cover jar with an air-lock lid or loose-fitting lid and let ferment in a dark, cool spot (out of direct sunlight) for 14 days, then transfer to a refrigerator. Cucumbers should be ready after 1 additional week of cold storage.

IMG2293.jpgChef Deepak Adhikari’s recipe can be consumed as soon as you make it, and it can be preserved for up to three weeks.


Himalayan Chef Events & Catering, Newark

½ tsp. turmeric powder or freshly julienned turmeric½ tsp. ginger julienne

½ tsp. fennel seeds

½ tsp. cumin seeds

6 oz. pears (Asian, Bartlett and red pears)

1 bay leaf

½ tsp. cinnamon powder

2 pieces Asian red whole chile

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 fresh slice of lemon

½ tsp. toasted sesame seeds

1 Tbsp. salt and pepper (to taste)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Heat the oil and put in fennel and cumin seeds.

2. Add ginger, turmeric and whole chile.

3. Put in diced or sliced pear tossed together and cook around for two minutes.

4. Add the slice of lime and apple cider vinegar. Mix it together in the bowl, and on the top of the pickle, add toasted sesame seed.

Pickledgrapes4.jpgChef Melita Kahrmann bakes these pickled grapes into focaccia bread.


Wu Tangy Pickles, San Jose

3 cups fresh red grapes

2 cups apple cider vinegar

½ cup granulated white sugar

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

3-4 dried chile pods

1 Tbsp. salt

1. Wash grapes, remove from stem and set aside.

2. In a quart canning jar, place chile pods and thyme sprigs in bottom of jar.

3. Add grapes to jar.

4. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt and use a funnel to pour over grapes.

5. Cover jar with lid and shake to dissolve sugar and salt.

6. Let pickled grapes rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving.

7. These will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Photography by: Preserve photo courtesy of Preserve; Wu Tangy photo by Melita K. Ahrmann; all photos courtesy of brands