10 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know You Could Pickle

updated Aug 29, 2020
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Credit: supriya

Pickling is an amazing technique for preserving fresh food and making it even tastier. Fermented pickles take a little more time and consideration, but you can quick pickle just about any vegetables — and more fruits than you might imagine. If you’ve got a garden bounty or even just overbought at the market, pickling is an easy, delicious way to avoid food waste. What you can pickle is really only limited by your imagination! These 10 surprising things make delicious pickles, and you can make every single one of them at home.

1. Avocado Pickles

This recipe is ideal for an abundance of underripe avocados or even just one. Peeled and sliced, they go into a spicy pickle bath that tenderizes them and makes them perfect for topping tacos, sandwiches, and nachos.

Recipe: Avocado Pickles

2. Pickled Shrimp

Maybe you’ve heard of this Southern speciality but assumed you couldn’t make pickled shrimp at home. These pickles are as simple as poaching shrimp and then soaking them in a basic pickle brine. Pickled shrimp is a picnic staple.

Recipe: Southern-Style Pickled Shrimp

3. Watermelon Rind

Stop throwing away your summer watermelon rind and start pickling them for a crunchy, sweet-and-salty snack. You’ll cut away most of the very hard green exterior of your rinds and pickle the white meaty part of the rind in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices.

Credit: Jeff Roffman

4. Quick Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

Pickled cherry tomatoes include one of my favorite pickle tricks for small things like grapes and cherries too (more on those below), which is puncturing the tomatoes with a skewer so the brine can get past the fruit’s skin. These are delightful for salads of all kinds and a delicious cocktail topper too.

5. Pickled Eggplant

This vegetable was a surprise to me too, but pickling eggplant removes any bitterness and makes it tender, not spongy. This is another quick pickle that doesn’t require fermenting or canning. Thinly slice the eggplant and maybe a red onion or shallot and cover them in your favorite combination of vinegar, salt, and spices.

6. Pickled Yellow Squash

Here’s a great recipe for using up one of the most prolific garden vegetables: squash! This quick pickle can be made with slices or spears, and squash pickles are a delicious replacement for traditional cucumber pickles on burgers.

7. Pickled Corn

If you’ve ever had corn relish, you’ve likely had pickled corn and know that this sweet summer produce is totally transformed by a little vinegar pickle. For this pickle, it is best to cut the fresh corn from the cob and then cover it in a warm pickle brine to keep the corn crunchy.

Credit: Faith Durand

8. Pickled Grapes (or Cherries!)

File this under things you didn’t know you really needed to pickle, like right now. Pickled grapes — and this same recipe can be used with cherries — are quite a luxury for your cheese board or when added to chicken salads. They also make an incredible garnish for lemonade and cocktails.

9. Pickled Blueberries

Kitchn’s Plan and Prep Editor, Kelli Foster, put me onto pickled blueberries this summer. These beauties are quite delicate, but make a strangely perfect addition to grilled cheese. Clean your berries well and cover with a delicate brine of red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. I like a little red pepper in the brine too.

10. Pickled Peaches

Peaches — and plums and pears and basically all the good tree fruit that straddles summer to fall — are prime for pickling and ideal for any underripe fruit. Pit, peel, and slice the fruit (or leave it in big halves) and cover with a warm brine of apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt.

What’s the most surprising pickle you’ve ever eaten or made?