Quick Pickled Brussels Sprouts


Mmmm. Pickled brussels sprouts! Wait, what??

What has happened to me? I think… wait.. yep. That’s it. I got old.

When I was five and we were all gathered around the dining room table at Grandma and Grandpa’s, my dad was delighted by the pickled brussles sprouts in the pickle dish that was circulating. That’s right people, pickle dish — complete with tiny pickle fork. Grandma took her pickles seriously.

“Come here, Annie, try this,” he says as if it weren’t clearly a dare. I mean, they smelled like feet. Why would I want to eat them? Milky Ways and grilled cheese never smelled like feet and those things were delicious. But I tried one anyway. It was cold and vinegary. Definitely what pickled feet would taste like. Sometimes you just have to trust your five-year-old instinct and avoiiiiiiiid the feet-smelling things.

And that was that. A big fat NO on pickled brussles sprouts for me.

So fast forward three decades and here I’ve had a garden and grown my own brussles sprouts (roasted + truffle oil + parmasean, yessssss.) and I’ve been pickling things for almost a year. You know what’s good pickled? Everything.

So it occurred to me that 1) I really like roasted brussels sprouts and 2) I really like pickles. So it makes sense that I’d really like pickled brussles sprouts, right? The moment my brain made the connection, I shuddered, remembering my wise inner five-year-old.

avoiiiiiiiid the feet-smelling things

But I’ve got a giant jug of vinegar, so why not? Worst case scenario, they taste like feet and we give them to someone who likes that sort of thing. Like my dad. But as it turns out, yes, pickled brussles sprouts are good. You just have to wait 30 years to enjoy them. And I recommend enjoying them with a sharp cheddar on a fancy cracker — like melba toast — possibly even with a little mustard.

NOTE: This is a quick pickle recipe. This means there is no final jar processing and you’ll need to store your finished jars in the fridge right away — not in the cupboard. (If you’d like to do a full-processing recipe, here’s a good one.) For the rest of you impatient picklers, here’s the quick pickle recipe.

Shopping List

These things will be repeated below during the step you’ll need to use them.

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 1 diced serrano pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1-pint jars


Step 1: Prep Your Veg

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 minced serrano pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Get a big old soup pot on the stove and put in enough water to successfully boil your sprouts. Get that pot headed toward a boil. In the mean time, prep your veg. Cut off the brussles sprouts’ butts and cut the remaining sprout in half vertically. Mince your pepper. Chop your garlic. Set aside.

When the water comes to a boil, carefully put the sprouts in. Bring the water back to a boil, then boil for 2 minutes.

Step 2: Prep Your Jars

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1-pint jars

When the sprouts have finished boiling, drain them. (If you’re clever, you can pour the sprout water into empty cans and freeze it to use as broth later.)

Pack them equally into your two jars. Also, divide your serrano pepper and garlic into the two jars on top of the sprouts. Then to each jar, add the 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp yellow mustard seeds, and 1 bay leaf.

Step 3: Prep Your Brine and Get Pickley

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt

Put all of the vinegar, water, and salt into a small sauce pan. Heat it up until the salt is dissolved. Pour the brine over the sprouts, splitting it evenly between the two jars. Put your lids on and let the jars sit on the counter for about an hour. Then put them in the fridge.

Then GUESS WHAT. The next time you pop open that jar, it’s not going to smell pretty. In fact, they smell like feet. But that’s okay. They’re supposed to. Sometimes you just have to trust your 35-year-old instinct.

Q: Where do you stand on good old Brussles Sprouts? What foods do you like now that you didn’t like when you were five?


4 thoughts on “Quick Pickled Brussels Sprouts

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