Packed with health benefits; swimming in spice-laden brine; and sporting sweet-sour cut-through that compliments any dish – pickles are one power house of a food group. From garlicky gherkins and cheat's kimchi, to a super-simple sauerkraut, here's our list of Very Important Pickles.
13 Aug 2014 - 4:51 PM  UPDATED 18 Aug 2014 - 2:14 PM

1. The result is hard to beet

From bowls of borsch to beetroot-cured trout; the Poles love cooking with beets. This recipe from Feast sees pickled baby beets team up with prosciutto, sour cream and dill-adorned rice cakes.

2. Experimentation extends to eggs

Pickling isn’t just for fruit and veg. As touted by O Tama Carey, quail eggs are sensational when preserved in herbaceous, briny liquid. Start the recipe two days ahead, and pair your finished product with fennel salt, salsa verde and a handsome loaf of bread.

3. It’s the norm for a nation

In Nepal, cucumber pickle salad is prepared daily and served alongside breakfast, lunch and dinner. Featuring mustard oil, Himalayan herbs and ground Sichuan pepper, this recipe is so quick and tasty, you’ll crave it every day too.

4. Bite into the Big Apple

New York’s Lower East Side was once home to hundreds of pickle pushcarts and stores. Those fine, ol’ days are gone, but you can still garner gherkin action at delis and diners. Recreate the magic at home with a juicy Reuben sandwich, and the requisite garlic and dill pickles, of course.

Via the food dept.

5. Ain’t no better way to cool down

Thomas Jefferson once said: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle”. America’s founding father was onto something. Beat the heat of an Indian curry with this Gujarati mango pickle.

6. Kimchi isn’t a quick fix (but we’ve found a way)

Korea’s answer to the pickle – fiery, fermented kimchi – has traditionally called for serious patience. The fermentation can take months, even years, and mastering this dish is said to be a lifetime commitment. Thankfully, we’ve created this incredibly quick, yet tremendously tasty, cheat’s kimchi.

7. Waste not, want not

Chilli tree bearing more fruit than you can handle? It’s a clear-cut case of Mission Impossible-y Delicious! Learn from the Mexican masters with this recipe for jalapeños en escabeche.

8. Sauerkraut puts barbecued onions to shame

If school sausage sizzles are good, then these bratwurst hotdogs in pretzel rolls with red cabbage sauerkraut are off-the-scale great. Drizzle with sweet German mustard and gobble with childish abandon.

Via Feast magazine

9. It’s the cure to boring appetisers

The Seasonal Cook’s at it again, blowing our mind with her pickling prowess. This time it’s carne crudo, literally “raw meat”, with eschalots, lemon, parmesan and chives. If you like steak tartare, you’ll love this.

10. The juice is liquid gold

In September 2000, the Philadelphia Eagles trumped the Dallas Cowboys 41-14. It was a sweltering day and Philly defensive Hugh Douglas was suffering major muscle cramps. What gave him the winning edge? Pickle juice. Drink some brine yourself and read the full story here.

Recipe via Yummy Supper

11. Pickled provisions last a very long time

Castella cake, tempura batter and the nanbanzuke style of marinating were brought to Japan in the 15th century by a bunch of Portuguese sailors. Preserved fish was undoubtedly on the ship’s menu, keeping the mariners alive. Thankfully these food traditions weren’t lost at sea.

Recipe via Adam Liaw, Destination Flavour Japan

12. Humble and healthy

Pickles mightn’t wear the superfood status of other ingredients (quinoa and kale, we’re looking at you), but the process is packed with health benefits. Fermented foods, like this cucumber kimchi, help us absorb nutrients and digest more easily.

13. Here’s the cherry on top

Pickling holds so much promise! There are countless herb, spice and vinegar combinations to enjoy. This recipe from Tama Carey matches cherries with cinnamon, cloves, mustard seeds and bay leaf. The juicy fruits are ideal with aged cheese, terrine or even Christmas ham.

Italian picked cherries with sweet spices


Want more? Check out our pickle recipe collection and bring on the brining.