At a restaurant recently our cheese and charcuterie plate was served with a sweet little pile of pickled Brussels sprouts and a dab of grainy mustard. What a revelation! For starters, they were so unexpected that they woke up my eyes’ palate letting me know that I wasn’t in for just any cheese plate. It’s sort of like when you look at a painting of flowers and take pleasure in the fact that the artist painted particular flowers that you can actually identify as a geranium or nasturtium or whatever. That’s what I liked about Brussels sprout pickles, they are just so specific.
Anyway, I wondered if I added beets to my version of Brussels sprouts pickles if it would just dye the whole mixture magenta thereby disguising any discolouration. I just made a small batch of five jars or so. I’ll have to give them a couple of weeks to colour up before I know whether my plan worked. Either way, they are extremely tasty and I’ll enjoy scooping one up with a hunk of goat gouda. I doubled the spicy vinegar recipe below and will use the rest as a base for winter salad vinaigrette.
Brussels Sprouts and Beet Pickles
Adjust the amount of vinegar mix to the amount of produce you have
Makes 6 one cup jars
About 4 cups Brussels sprouts, the smaller the better
About 2 cups beets
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup filtered water
2 tbsp pickling spice, placed in a tea ball or wrapped in a cheesecloth bag
1 tbsp kosher or pickling salt
3 tbsp dark sugar, I used coconut palm sugar but any brown sugar will do
Peppercorns, for garnishing jars
Whole bay leaves for garnishing jars
Sterilize and heat jars using your preferred method. Heat new lids in warm but not boiling water.
In a medium saucepan place cider vinegar, salt, sugar and pickling salt and tea ball or cheesecloth bag. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Keep warm.
Boil beets until tender. Leave tap root and top of stem intact in order to prevent bleeding. Allow to cool and then slip the skins off. Cut the root and stem off and slice into bite size pieces.
Cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise, slicing off a little of the tough stem at the base.
Toss Brussels sprouts and beets together in a bowl. Place a few peppercorns and a bay leaf in each jar. Spoon vegetables into hot jars up till the jar’s lowest thread. Pour in hot vinegar. Carefully wipe lips of jars, top with hot lids, tighten rings fingertip tight. Process in boiling water for 30 minutes. Allow to cool undisturbed for 24 hours. Good for about a year.