6:06 AM EST
Make These Now: Pickled Brussels Sprouts, The Perfect Martini Ingredient
Onions or olives? Why not try Pickled Brussels Sprouts? Small Brussels sprouts, the kind you can buy on the stalk, are a perfect and interesting alternative garnish for your martinis and they’re a fantastic treat all by themselves. Brussels sprouts are one of the season’s last crops so can them while you can! In other words, MAKE PICKLED BRUSSELS SPROUTS RIGHT NOW and your friends and family with thank you at your next big holiday meal.
While I can’t promise you won’t kill the aforementioned friends and family by preparing your own home-canned goods, the process is really easy…if you’re good at following basic directions. I don’t want blood on my hands so I’ll direct you to the website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation (http://nchfp.uga.edu/) for more information. Whether you use a water-bath canner or simply refrigerate your final product, always sterilize your jars before using. And yes, as I just implied you don’t HAVE to properly can your pickles but they then must remain refrigerated and will only last as long as any other opened jar of pickles.
• 12 cups (~5 stalks) Brussels sprouts
• 4 cups white (5%) vinegar
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
• 1 tablespoon celery seeds
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 6 cloves garlic, smashed
• 45 black peppercorns
• 27 juniper berries
• 9 fresh Thai bird’s eye or piri piri chilies
• Special equipment: water-bath canner, 9 pint canning jars
Prepare an ice-water bath and get a large pot of salt water boiling (as salty as the sea). Wash the Brussels sprouts and remove any blemished outside leaves. Blanch the Brussels sprouts in the boiling water for 4 minutes then immediately shock them in the ice water and drain.
Separately add 3 juniper berries, 5 peppercorns and 1 Thai chili to each sterilized canning jar. Next, pack each jar with Brussels sprouts, leaving a half-inch of headspace.
Prepare the pickling liquid. Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric and garlic in a pot set over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Gently boil for 5 minutes. Pick out the garlic and pour the liquid (and seeds) into the jars, again leaving a half-inch of headspace.
Process the jars for 10 minutes in a water-bath canner. While you can eat the Brussels sprouts once they have cooled pickles improve with time…give them at least a week before enjoying in cocktails…or food, if you’re into eating.
• 5 parts gin
• 1 parts dry vermouth
I won’t get into the politics of shaking, stirring, or using vodka but play around with the above ratios and garnish with a pickled Brussels sprout and add some of its pickling liquid to make it “dirty”.
Rocco, the test kitchen’s guard dog scoping out stalks of Brussels sprouts. He approves.