How to use the rest of that bunch in the fridge
I’ve been a quick pickle experimenter for several years. Right now there is a bowl of radishes in my fridge, halved and floating in an orange/red vinegar solution. They’re lovely to look at and retain their crunch and bite. But my current fascination is the lowly celery, that versatile stalk we mainly used on mayo salads and as part of a mirepoix base. It turns out that celery, when pickled, makes an amazing snack. And it is a great way to preserve those stalks going limp in your crisper.
I cut the celery on the bias into 1.5” chunks but you can cut any size you want. Put them into a non-reactive bowl (glass, ceramic, or stainless steel) just big enough to hold them. For this recipe that’s about 2 cups or three large stalks. If the celery is tough and fibrous, consider following Jacques Pepin’s lead and peeling the outer layer to remove the worst fibers. Add a couple of crushed garlic gloves, some herb stalks (basil, oregano, or dill work well) and a whole dried Thai chili or a pinch of red pepper flakes, then pour the hot pickling solution (recipe below) over. It should just cover the celery.
Let the bowl cool on the counter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. You can eat them the next day but don’t be hesitant to try one in several hours, bearing in mind that the flavors develop over time. These keep for up to three weeks in the fridge.
I eat them as is, slice them into salads for a vinagery bite, or put them on a charcuterie or cheese plate. This recipe works for many other vegetables including cukes, red onions, blanched green beans, and more. Use your imagination!
Quick Pickle Solution (makes 12 oz.)
¾ C vinegar (I use cider or white but any sharp vinegar works well. Sweet vinegars like balsamic are not recommended)
1 C water
1 tsp pickling spices (I use a commercial mix or you can use mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander, clove, and other whole spices)
1T kosher salt
1 bay leaf
Put everything into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. When the salt and sugar are dissolved, pour over the celery mixture. It should just cover the vegetables. Let cool, chill, and enjoy the next day.