In the satirical Portlandia! “We Can Pickle That” sketch, fictional characters Bryce Shivers and Lisa Eversman mock hipster food culture by pickling bandaids, jewel cases, and dead birds while referencing the beloved 1960s children’s book A Pickle for a Nickel. Pickles may cost more than a nickel now, but they remain essential on our hamburgers and bánh mì.
Late summer is prime pickling season. As fruits and vegetables arrive at farm stands and markets, fill your grocery bag with sweet watermelon with thick rinds, crunchy okra pods, bright-hued radishes, tiny chiles, unripe mangoes, and green tomatoes, and you’ll be on your way to zesty South Asian achaars and Brazilian conservas. To ward against botulism and spoilage, be sure to use sterilized wide-mouth canning jars (which are great for easy scooping) and to submerge the pickles in a hot-water bath if that step is required.
These are our favorite pickle recipes from the archives—the ones we come back to again and again. If you’ve inherited your grandmother’s silver pickle forks (or snapped up at a yard sale), it’s time to bust them out.
Chef Cheetie Kumar boosts the flavor quotient of classic Southern pickled watermelon rinds with spices from her childhood home in Chandigarh, India in this achaar that she serves at Garland in Raleigh, North Carolina. Get the recipe >
This quick pickle only takes one hour to prep, making it a perfect last-minute condiment to accompany noodle dishes both cold and hot. Get the recipe >
Fresh citrus cured with turmeric, cumin, and mustard seed is a tart, briny pairing for steamed white rice or naan, but we also like it with grilled chicken and juicy pork chops. Get the recipe >