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Pickled Seeds

Pickled Seeds

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Feel free to play around with other herbs and spices to make your own custom brine.


  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • ¼ cup mustard, coriander, nigella, cumin, fennel, or caraway seeds

Recipe Preparation

  • Bring bay leaf, vinegar, salt, sugar, and 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar.

  • Meanwhile, toast seeds in a dry medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add seeds to pickling liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (they should yield easily between your front teeth), 30–45 minutes. Let seeds cool in liquid; transfer to an airtight container, cover, and chill.

  • DO AHEAD: Store pickled seeds in their liquid in the refrigerator up to 3 months.

Recipe by Thomas McNaughton,Photos by Michael Graydon Nikole HerriottReviews Section

Recipe Summary

  • ½ cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 pounds cod fillets, cut into 2 to 3 ounce portions
  • salt to taste
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced into rings
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 whole allspice berries
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 red chile pepper, seeded and sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and place in the skillet. Fry on both sides until fish is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Fry the onions and garlic in the same skillet over medium heat until translucent. Add the peppercorns, allspice berries, bay leaves, and red chile pepper. Pour in the vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Season with curry powder, turmeric, cumin and coriander. Taste and adjust the sweetness if desired.

Layer pieces of fish and the pickling mixture in a serving dish. Pour the liquid over until the top layer is covered. Allow to cool then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

Quick Pickled Carrots

If you haven’t ever pickled carrots, it’s super easy, and takes just minutes. Unlike regular, traditional canning recipes that require the use of a water bath, these carrots are quick pickled.

To make these pickled carrots, start with vinegar and water, combined with sugar, salt, garlic cloves and pickling spice. I really suggest using dill seeds if you enjoy their flavor, too -but they are completely optional.

Stuff the carrots into your pint canning jar with a clove of garlic in each jar pushed near the bottom. Bring your brine to a boil, then gently pour over the top of the carrots until they are submerged. Then top with a lid and a band and allow to cool before placing in the fridge.

These carrots are best enjoyed after 24 hours – to allow the flavors to permeate.

Pickled Mustard Seeds


In a small saucepan over high heat, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 35 minutes, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of syrup (but is not as thick as honey). Let cool, transfer to a nonreactive airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Reprinted with permission from Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by Naomi Pomeroy with Jamie Feldmar, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Recipe Summary

  • 10 pounds fresh small beets, stems removed
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 1 quart white vinegar
  • ¼ cup whole cloves

Place beets in a large stockpot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes depending on the size of the beets. If beets are large, cut them into quarters. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the beet water, cool and peel.

Sterilize jars and lids by immersing in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Fill each jar with beets and add several whole cloves to each jar.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, beet water, vinegar, and pickling salt. Bring to a rapid boil. Pour the hot brine over the beets in the jars, and seal lids.

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.

Pickled Mustard Seeds

Pickled mustard seeds, the kind that top the notorious Bo Ssäm at David Chang’s Momofuku. Plump, sweet and sour, with a caviar-like texture that begs to be popped, one-by-one, between your teeth.

C hang claims the preparation was “straight up copped” from his years at Craft Tom Colicchio‘s restaurant. And if you’ve tried the Korean fried chicken (KFC) at Boke Bowl here in Portland—which is excellent—you’ve essentially had the same sauce preparation used in Momofuku’s Bo Ssäm.

From the outset it’s not a terribly exciting ingredient. And outside of it’s regular role in pickling brines, the humble mustard seed sees little play. But it’s usually just those type of ingredients that go overlooked which can bring a fresh take to a dish.

Mustard Seeds: A Primer

Mustard seeds are produced by the mustard plant. A revelation, I’m sure. They hail from the Cruciferous vegetable family, and come in white, yellow, brown and black varieties. Black seeds, the most difficult to find, are extremely pungent and challenging to harvest, making them more costly. White and yellow seeds are less pungent, with brown falling somewhere in-between. The darker seeds are commonly used in Indian and Southern Asian cuisine, and are often the whole seed component commonly found in coarse deli mustards.

Usage and Applications

On their own, pickled mustard seeds make a fine addition to a charcuterie board. They’re excellent sautéed with leafy greens, like Elise Bauer’s recipe for Sautéed Swiss Chard with Mustard Seeds, which would be excellent with a splash of Pepper Sauce. Outside of solitary consumption, they make a versatile inclusion to various sauces and dressings. For a more refined preparation, I’ll serve these in faux-caviar style atop hors d’oeuvres, like a gravlax blini with crème fraîche, on smoked deviled eggs, or an accompaniment to gravlax.

Pickled Mustard Seeds

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: Easy

Pickled mustard seeds, the kind that top the notorious Bo Ssäm at David Chang’s Momofuku. Plump, sweet and sour, with a caviar-like texture that begs to be popped, one-by-one, between your teeth.

Pickled Mustard Seeds Recipe

I found this recipe as part of a Blue Apron package featuring salmon as the entry. The pickled mustard seeds were used as a finishing topping for the salmon to give it an extra layer of flavor and they did just that.

I’ve used mustard seeds in a variety of spice blends for rubs and bouquet garni but never as a garnish for a protein like fish. I had no idea these tiny seeds (1 – 2 millimeters) would double in size after boiling in water.

A Little Mustard History

Mustard seeds go way back in time. I read they have been referenced all they way back to the fifth century BC in India from a story of Buddha. In the bible, the mustard seed is mentioned in both Luke and Matthew.

The largest countries to produce mustard seeds are Canada, Nepal, Myanmar, Russia, Ukraine, China and the United States. The US produced 16,660 metric tons of mustard seeds in 2015 compared to Canada who produced 154,500. That’s a lot of mustard!

Patience Is A Virtue

I’ll warn you up front, to make these pickled mustard seeds takes time. Most of that time comes in the form of cooking down 5 cups of water used to pickle them.

There was a point when I was preparing these seeds that I thought this damn water was never going to reduce in time to serve with the rest of the meal.

I was even prepared to leave it out of the meal but I’m glad I didn’t. It took a while but when the liquids started to thicken up, it happened very quickly and was worth the wait.

  • 2 1/2 pounds purslane (weighed with the leaves still attached to the stems)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (OR 1 1/2 tablespoons honey)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (kosher or other non-iodized salts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3 allspice (whole)

The key to making great purslane pickles is to use only the thickest stems. They should be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick

Set up the boiling water bath that you will process your jars of pickled purslane in, and turn the heat on high to bring the water to a boil.

Wash the purslane. Pinch off the clusters of leaves and any stems that are too skinny to pickle. But don't discard those leaves and thinner stems! They are fantastic in salads or chopped and added to soups, where their mucilaginous property will have a nice thickening action.

Chop the thicker purslane stems into pieces approximately 1 1/2-2 inches long.

Slice off the ends of the onion and peel it. Cut the onion in half lengthwise and then slice the halves into slivers.

Combine the vinegar, water, sugar or honey, salt and spices in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to release the flavors of the spices.

While the vinegar and spice brine is simmering, load the jars. It is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe, but they should be scrupulously clean. Place one of the jars on its side (it's easier to load in the purslane stems that way). Put the purslane stems in so that they will stand vertically when the jar is upright. First, create a bottom tier of stems. Scatter some of the onion slivers over that layer. Start a second layer of purslane stems on top of the onion. Keep adding more stems until it is impossible to fit in even one more: the purslane will shrink a little during canning, and packing the stems in tightly keeps them from floating up out of the brine.

Repeat with the other jar(s).

Pour the hot brine over the purslane stems. The liquid should completely cover them, but still, have at least 1/2 an inch of space between the surface of the brine and the rims of the jars.

Screw on canning lids. Process in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Wait at least a week before tasting—it takes that long for the flavors to combine and mellow.

Pickled Habaneros

Meet your new favorite go-to &ndash that is, if you&rsquore a bold eater. Pickled habaneros pack a wallop of heat with that wisp of fruitiness that makes them oh so tasty. Try them wherever you&rsquod use pickles. They turn a plain burger into something with serious attitude. Or use them instead of pickled pepperoncini on your next Italian sandwich to enjoy a little extreme eating. They even work as a topper (with big bite) for fresh fish.

Note &ndash it&rsquos important to wear kitchen gloves with any hot pepper recipe, but with chilies with habanero heat and above it&rsquos critical. If you experience chili burn, look to one of these solutions. In fact, know them before hand if you use chilies often.

If pickled habaneros are just too hot (and they will be for many), there are a lot of delicious options right down the pepper scale. For those that prefer more of medium level of heat, our pickled jalapeños recipe is just perfect. Or, if you&rsquore looking for something even milder, pickled banana peppers are the way to go. They have more of a warm simmer than a spiciness, so most everyone in the family can enjoy them.

Place fiddlehead ferns in a large bowl of cold water and wash well. Rub away any brown chaff and trim cut ends.

Add two tablespoons of salt to two quarts of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add fiddlehead ferns and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Combine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Place spices and garlic cloves into the bottom of a prepared pint jar. Pack fiddlehead ferns into the jar and add hot pickling liquid to cover.

Wipe rim, apply lid and ring and process in a small boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove jar from canner and let cool on a folded kitchen towel. When jar is cool enough to handle, remove ring and check seal.

Sealed jars can be stored in the pantry for up to one year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly. Let these pickles age for at least a week before eating.