A great use for stems from collard greens, kale or Swiss chard!
- Stems. From a bunch of collard greens. Chard or kale stems would work well too.
- Vinegar of any type. You’ll want enough to cover your stems in whatever jar(s) you’ve selected for storing your pickles.
- Salt. To taste. Or, follow Smitten Kitchen’s lead and use 3 teaspoons Kosher salt for every half cup of white vinegar.
- Sugar. Stacy didn’t use sugar, but some recipes call for it. This Food52 recipe suggests one part sugar and one part water to every three parts rice vinegar.
- Bay leaf. Not required, but a great flavor addition. Stacy didn’t boil her bay leaf with the vinegar, but instead left it in the jar with the stems. Though you could boil it too.
- Spices. Ideally in seed form. Peppercorns are essential. Stacy also used panch phoron, a Bengali mix of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, black mustard seeds and nigella seeds. She didn’t have a packet of mustard seeds, which her original recipe called for, but such seeds were included in the panch phoron she had on hand. You can play with whatever spice mixture sounds good to you. Most recipes tend to suggest using whole spices (i.e. peppercorns instead of ground pepper). That will prevent your brine from being clouded by tiny spice particles.
- Chop your stems to a length that will work well for you. You could go bite size for salad or sandwich add-ons, or keep them long for pickle-spear-like snacking.
- Put the stems in a glass jar that has a tight-fitting lid.
- Add a bay leaf to the jar.
- Boil the vinegar with the spices.
- Once the vinegar starts to boil, pour it into the jar and screw on the lid. Pouring hot vinegar over the veggies will cause them to acidify faster, which will extend their shelf life. A high ratio of vinegar will also extend shelf life. (A big thank you Elizabeth Andress of the National Center for Home Food Preservation for consulting with EatOrToss on this!)
- Store in the fridge. Your pickles will be ready for snacking, adding to salads or whatever else you’d like, in about 24 hours.
And, once you finish the pickles, make sure to use the juice!