A Complete Guide to Pickling Okra, Cucumber, Peaches and More

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Have you ever stumbled upon a jar of pickled okra and felt an instant connection to the rich history and traditions of the South? Its the simple things like this that keep us grounded and fulfilled in life. Pickling in the South has been a culinary cornerstone for ages, one that has evolved with every generation.

From classic pickled cucumbers to unique pickled watermelon rinds or peaches, you’ll find a technique that suits every occasion and flavor preference. A perfect combination of flavors, textures, and spices, all preserved in a jar, just waiting to be enjoyed.

I hope you enjoy this complete guide to pickling we have prepared for you. We try to cover as much detail as possible, and with some time, you can taste the love and care that went into creating all these tangy Southern delights.

A Guide to Pickling Methods

In the South, pickling isn’t just a culinary technique; for some, it’s a way of life. An important way to preserve the seasonal bounty of the land and preserve food throughout the year. From crunchy okra to fiery peppers, the art of pickling captures the essence of the region’s diverse culinary heritage.

When it comes to pickling, there are a few key techniques to explore. Knowing when to use each one is key, as they provide different benefits and varying degrees of time and effort requirements. Each one has its proper time and place. Each kind of pickle benefits from choosing the right method to maximize your pickle potential!

the basics of southern pickling

A Time-Honored Technique

The history of pickling in the South, where generational techniques transform humble okra, cucumber, fiery peppers, and other delectable ingredients into mouthwatering delights.

Each jar of pickles tells an important story, with regional variations that reflect the heritage of the South. From sweet bread and butter pickles in Georgia to tangy dill pickles in North Carolina, the flavor profiles of southern pickles are as diverse as the folks who make them.

Beyond the delicious taste, there are also health benefits to be found in pickling. The fermentation process involved in traditional pickling creates probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health. Pickled vegetables also tend to retain most of their nutrients. This makes them a nutritious addition to any meal.

In our home, we enjoy them as a side dish, a topping for sandwiches and burgers, or even as a snack straight from the jar. Unique variations like old fashioned pickled watermelon rind or spicy pickled peaches are stand-out family favorites for our household. These recipes really showcase how great fun and different pickling can be, something that goes beyond what most folks imagine!

Quick Pickling: Beginner-Friendly

There’s something truly satisfying about transforming fresh vegetables into tangy, crunchy treats that can be enjoyed all year round. It doesn’t have to be an arduous process the Quick Pickling method is your way to get delicious preserves with limited time and effort.

Quick Pickling Key Points:

  • Easiest method for pickling! Suitable for beginners.
  • Involves packing fresh produce and spices into sterilized canning jars.
  • Pour vinegar-based pickling brine to submerge the produce.
  • Preserve further using the water bath canning method.
  • Good for cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, and fruits like peaches and cherries.
  • Ready to eat in a few days, may have less depth of flavor.
Typical Shelf Life: Several Weeks

Quick pickling is the perfect technique for those new to pickling or those who are feeling adventurous and want to experiment with bold flavors. This technique is the easiest method, making it a popular go-to option for beginners.

When it comes to quick pickling, the possibilities are almost endless. You can start with classic options like cucumbers and onions, or get creative and try pickling okra, peppers, or even watermelon rinds. The key is to choose fresh and tangy ingredients that will hold up well to the pickling process.

Quick Pickles: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Prepare the Produce: Wash and prepare the produce by trimming, peeling, and cutting them into the desired size and shape. For some vegetables, blanching or cooking may be required to achieve the desired texture.
  2. Sterilize Jars: Wash canning jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Rinse well and place them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes to sterilize. Remove and let them air dry.
  3. Pack the Jars: Pack the prepared produce into the sterilized jars, leaving some space at the top. Add any desired spices, herbs, or aromatics.
  4. Prepare the Brine: In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar (if desired). Bring the mixture to a simmer until the salt and sugar are dissolved. You can also add spices like mustard seeds, dill, or garlic for flavor.
  5. Fill the Jars: Pour the hot brine over the packed produce in the jars, ensuring they are completely submerged. Leave a bit of headspace at the top.
  6. Seal the Jars: Wipe the jar rims clean to remove any residue. Place the sterilized lids on the jars and screw on the bands until they’re fingertip-tight.
  7. Water Bath Canning: Process the jars in a boiling water bath canner for the recommended time based on the recipe and altitude. This helps create an airtight seal and ensures the pickles are safe for long-term storage.
  8. Cool and Store: Carefully remove the jars from the canner and place them on a clean towel. Let them cool completely before storing them in a cool, dark place. Check for proper seals by pressing down on the center of each lid; if it doesn’t pop, the seal is good.
  9. Aging and Enjoying: Some quick pickles are ready to enjoy after a few days, others really are better aging for a week or more to develop deeper flavor. Store opened jars in the refrigerator and consume within a few weeks for the best quality.
pickled veggies canned veggies

Salt Brine Pickling

Salt brine pickling is a widely-used preservation method that you’ve likely enjoyed before. This method focuses on removing the excess water from vegetables with the help of salt.

This is accomplished by either directly salting the veggies, or by immersing in a salt-water brine. Drawing out the excess water before the addition of the pickling (flavor) brine. This allows the pickling liquid to permeate deep into the cells of the veggies. You can expect deep and rich flavors as well as a fairly long shelf life when using the salt brine pickling method.

Salt Brine Pickling Key Points:

  • Great texture for a satisfying crunch.
  • Involves drawing out water before the addition of the flavored brine.
  • Great flavor absorption with this method.
  • Preserve further using the water bath canning method.
  • Great for nearly all types of produce.
Typical Shelf Life: Several Months+

Salt brine pickling will take a bit more effort than the quick pickling method, but the results are usually better. You will get a deeper flavor, better texture and longer shelf life. A well-prepared salt brine pickle will last over a year when water bath canned.

Salt Brine Pickling: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Choose Your Produce: Select fresh vegetables or fruits with high water content, such as cucumbers, cabbage, radishes, or peppers. Wash and prepare the produce by trimming, peeling, and slicing them as desired.
  2. Create the Salt Brine Solution: Prepare a salt brine solution by combining water and kosher or pickling salt. A ratio of about 1 cup of salt to 4 cups of water. Adjust the amount based on the volume of produce you have.
  3. Salt-Brine Soak: Place the prepared produce in a large bowl or container. Pour the salt brine solution over the produce, ensuring that it covers the vegetables completely. The salt will draw out excess moisture from the produce.
  4. Weigh Down the Produce: To keep the produce fully submerged in the brine, you can place a weighted plate or lid over them. This helps ensure that all parts of the produce are evenly salt-brined.
  5. Allow for Soaking Time: Let the produce soak in the salt brine solution for the recommended time, which can vary depending on the type and size of produce. Usually this will be a few hours to overnight.
  6. Rinse the Produce: Thoroughly rinse the produce under cold running water to remove the excess salt. This step helps balance the saltiness and prepares the produce for pickling.
  7. Prepare Pickling Liquid: In a separate pot, prepare the pickling liquid. This liquid usually consists of vinegar, water, and a combination of spices, herbs, and sugar. Bring the liquid to a simmer to allow the flavors to meld.
  8. Pack the Jars: Pack the rinsed and drained produce into sterilized glass jars. You can layer the produce with aromatic ingredients like garlic cloves, dill, or mustard seeds for added flavor.
  9. Pour Pickling Liquid: Carefully pour the prepared pickling liquid over the packed produce in the jars, ensuring that the produce is fully submerged.
  10. Seal the Jars: Wipe the jar rims clean to ensure a proper seal. Place sterilized lids on the jars and secure them tightly. The jars can be processed for long-term storage or stored in the refrigerator for shorter-term use.
  11. Process or Refrigerate: If you choose to process the jars for long-term storage, follow the appropriate water bath canning process based on the recipe. If you’re going for a refrigerator pickling method, seal the jars and place them in the refrigerator.
  12. Flavor Development: Allow the pickled produce to rest and develop flavors over time. Refrigerator pickles can be enjoyed within a few days, while processed pickles will benefit from a few weeks in the pantry.

The salt brine pickling method is a cornerstone of Southern culinary tradition, offering an array of pickled condiments to highlight the region’s flavors. From tangy bread-and-butter pickles to spicy pepper relishes, many beloved Southern condiments are born from the salt brine pickling process.

And let’s not forget the appeal of pickled okra, an iconic Southern treat. The salt brine method helps preserve the natural crunch and distinct flavor of okra while infusing it with a briny tang.

Vinegar Brine Pickling

Vinegar brine pickling is a method that uses the infusion of flavors with the preservation power of vinegar. This process uses the same principles as salt brine pickling, aiming to create room within the vegetables or fruits for the pickling liquid to work its magic.

The gradual, multi-stage process involves soaking, draining, and soaking again, using a vinegar solution. Sometimes, a salt-water brine is incorporated alongside the vinegar, often with sugar. The results are delicious, fully infused pickled treats that you’ll absolutely love.

Vinegar Brine Pickling Key Points:

  • Amazing flavor that is completely absorbed.
  • More involved process that can take days to complete.
  • Involves using a vinegar brine to repeatedly draw out excess water in stages.
  • Works well with fruits and vegetables alike.
  • Preserve further using the water bath canning method.
Typical Shelf Life: Several Months+

The additional steps and stages in the vinegar brine method require a bit more effort, but it is well worth it.

Vinegar Brine Pickling: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Choose Your Produce: Select fresh vegetables or fruits of your choice. Popular options include cucumbers, peppers, and more.
  2. Clean and Cut: Wash the produce thoroughly and prepare them as desired – sliced, halved, or whole – ensuring they are ready for pickling.
  1. Choose Your Vinegar: Decide on the type of vinegar you’ll use – white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or other flavored vinegars.
  2. Add Sweetness: If desired, add sugar to the vinegar to balance the flavors and enhance the overall taste profile of your pickles.
  3. Incorporate Spices: Enhance the flavor complexity by adding a combination of pickling spices such as mustard seeds, coriander, peppercorns, and more.
  1. Initial Soaking: Place the prepared produce in a container and pour the vinegar mixture over them. Ensure the produce is completely submerged.
  2. First Drain: After an initial soaking period, drain the produce, reserving the infused vinegar for later.
  1. Add More Flavors: Return the drained produce to the container and layer additional ingredients, such as sliced onions, garlic, or herbs.
  2. Second Soaking: Pour the reserved infused vinegar back over the produce, ensuring they are well-covered.
  1. Soak and Infuse Again: Let the produce soak in the vinegar solution for an extended period. This allows the flavors to meld and intensify.
  1. Pack Jars: Carefully transfer the pickled produce and the flavorful brine into sterilized glass jars.
  2. Seal and Preserve: Seal the jars tightly with lids and store them in a cool, dark place. The vinegar acts as a natural preservative, extending the shelf life of your pickles.
  1. Taste and Experiment: Allow the flavors to develop over time. As your pickles mature, they’ll become more flavorful and complex.
  2. Savor the Creations: Incorporate your homemade pickled delights into various dishes, such as sandwiches, salads, charcuterie boards, and more.

Fermented Pickling

Fermented pickling is a different technique from the previous methods. This pickling method uses a salt brine that the vegetables are covered with and left to ferment. These batches are typically left at room temperature for at least a few hours to allow the salt brine to do its work.

The brine will help to remove excess water from the vegetables, as well as start to gently break down the sugars in the liquid that preserves the vegetables. The natural process of this imparts a distinct aroma and flavor. This is why fermented pickling is so unique, as it is natural flavors form the process, rather than added vinegar, sugars and spices that make the strong taste profiles. Popular fermented recipes like sauerkraut and chow chow are great examples of this.

Used for generations, it’s not just about the tangy and unique taste it imparts, but also about the health benefits it offers. The fermented vegetables have naturally formed microbes that may help with digestion. The process also maintains most of the original nutritional value of the vegetables. This traditional method of pickling has been practiced for centuries in various cultures around the world, each with their own unique techniques and flavors.

Fermented Pickling Key Points:

  • Ideal for vegetables with high water content.
  • Produce is salted with a brine to draw out natural water content.
  • Allows pickling liquid to penetrate deep, enhancing flavor, texture, and shelf life.
  • After salting, rinse and drain the produce.
  • Pack produce and spices into jars, add vinegar-brine solution, preserve with water bath canning.
  • Common for items like bread-and-butter pickles, kosher-style dill pickles, cabbage, zucchini.
  • Offers classic taste, crunch, and shelf life, suitable for intermediate picklers.
Typical Shelf Life: 3+ Months

The fermented pickling method enhances the shelf life by using salt to draw out excess water from the produce. This reduction in water content prevents bacteria and yeast that cause spoilage.

One of the most creative aspects of fermented pickling is the wide variety of pickled condiments that can be made. From pickled jalapeños to chow-chow, there’s a pickled option for every taste bud. These flavorful condiments are used to jumpstart any dish, adding a burst of flavor that’s both refreshing and satisfying.

For beginners, fermented pickling could seem intimidating, but it’s actually fairly simple. As long as you have fresh vegetables, salt, water, and a little bit of patience you’ll succeed. The idle process of fermentation takes time, but the results are well worth it!

Fermented Pickling: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Prepare the Vegetables: Start by cleaning and preparing the vegetables you want to pickle. This can include cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, or other vegetables. Cut them into the desired size and shape, considering how they’ll fit in the pickling container.
  2. Create the Brine: Mix a brine solution by dissolving salt in water. The salt concentration is crucial for fermentation, as it encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria while inhibiting harmful ones. A good ratio is 2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water.
  3. Submerge the Vegetables: Place the prepared vegetables in a fermentation vessel, such as a glass jar or ceramic crock. Pour the brine over the vegetables until they are fully submerged. It’s important to ensure that no vegetables are exposed to air, as this can lead to spoilage.
  4. Add Flavorings: Enhance the flavor of the pickles by adding seasonings, herbs, and spices of your choice. Popular options include garlic, dill, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes. These additions will infuse the pickles with unique and delicious flavors.
  5. Weight the Vegetables: To keep the vegetables submerged in the brine, use a weight or a plate that fits inside the container. This prevents the vegetables from floating and getting exposed to air, which can result in mold growth.
  6. Cover and Ferment: Seal the fermentation vessel with a lid or cover it with a cloth secured by a rubber band. This allows gases produced during fermentation to escape while preventing contaminants from entering. Place the vessel in a cool, dark spot with a consistent temperature.
  7. Monitor Fermentation: Check the pickles daily to monitor the fermentation process. Bubbles and fizzing are signs that fermentation is taking place. Taste the pickles after a few days to gauge their flavor and texture. Fermentation time can vary depending on factors like temperature and vegetable type.
  8. Taste and Adjust: Once the pickles reach the desired flavor and texture, remove the weight and taste a pickle. If they’re to your liking, it’s time to halt the fermentation process. If you prefer a stronger flavor, you can allow them to ferment a bit longer.
  9. Transfer and Store: Transfer the fermented pickles to clean jars, ensuring they’re fully covered by the brine. Store the jars in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process. The pickles will continue to develop flavor over time but at a much slower rate.
  10. Enjoy and Share: Your homemade fermented pickles are ready to be enjoyed! Serve them as a side dish, snack, or condiment. The natural tanginess and complexity of flavors will add a unique twist to your Southern-inspired meals.

Canned Pickling: Long-Term Preservation

Preserving the flavors of the harvest for months to come, canned pickling method is a long-term solution for your favorite veggies. Also known as a vinegar-brine soak and rinse method, it is the most powerful type of pickling technique you can use. Implement it to preserve the bounty of summer and enjoy the tangy goodness of pickled vegetables throughout the year.

Canned Pickling Key Points:

  • Similar to salt-brined method but more complex.
  • Draws maximum water out of produce, saturating it with pickling liquid.
  • Requires soaking, draining, and soaking again with vinegar solution.
  • Classic recipes like nine-day and 12-day pickles, Sweet Gherkins use this method.
  • Used for pickling watermelon rind and soft fruits.
  • Offers traditional crunch, texture, and flavor, suited for experienced picklers.
  • Maximum shelf life of several months to even years.
Typical Shelf Life: Months to Years

The canned pickling process involves sealing vegetables in jars with vinegar, spices, and brine, creating a long-lasting, flavorful and preserved treat.

There are so many various preserving methods and pickling recipes that can be used for canning. From dill pickles to pickled peppers, the options are endless. Each vegetable requires a specific brine and spice combination to bring out its unique flavor. By experimenting with different recipes, we can find the perfect balance of sweetness, tanginess, and spice that suits our taste buds.

Canned Pickling: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Prepare the Produce: Wash and prepare the vegetables or fruits you intend to pickle. Peel, slice, or cut them into desired shapes and sizes. For some fruits and vegetables, blanching or cooking will be necessary before pickling.
  2. Create the Brine Solution: In a large pot, combine vinegar, water, and the desired amount of salt and sugar. You can also add spices, herbs, and flavorings at this stage to infuse the brine with additional flavor.
  3. Soak the Produce: Place the prepared produce in a non-reactive container, such as a glass or ceramic bowl. Pour the brine solution over the produce, ensuring that it’s completely submerged. Cover the container and let it soak for the recommended time, which can vary depending on the recipe.
  4. Drain and Rinse: After the soaking time is complete, drain the produce from the brine. Rinse the produce thoroughly under cold water to remove excess salt and enhance the final flavor.
  5. Pack the Jars: Sterilize canning jars and lids according to proper canning guidelines. Pack the rinsed produce into the jars, leaving some space at the top. You can also add additional spices, herbs, or flavorings between the layers of produce.
  6. Pour the Brine: Carefully pour the brine solution over the packed produce, ensuring that the produce is completely covered. Leave a small amount of headspace at the top of the jars.
  7. Seal the Jars: Wipe the jar rims to ensure they are clean and free of any residue. Place the sterilized lids on the jars and screw on the bands until they are fingertip-tight.
  8. Process the Jars: Process the filled jars using the water bath canning method. This involves placing the jars in a large pot of boiling water and processing them for the recommended time to create a vacuum seal and prevent spoilage.
  9. Cool and Store: Once the processing time is complete, carefully remove the jars from the water and place them on a clean, dry towel. Allow the jars to cool completely. As they cool, you’ll hear the satisfying “ping” sound of the lids sealing.
  10. Check Seals: After the jars are completely cool, check the seals by pressing down on the center of each lid. If the lid doesn’t flex and makes a popping sound when pressed, the jar is properly sealed. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and consumed within a reasonable time.
  11. Label and Store: Label the sealed jars with the pickling date and contents. Store the jars in a cool, dark, and dry place. Properly sealed canned pickles can have a shelf life of up to a year or more.

Traditional Southern Pickling Recipes

Now that we’ve talked about the best southern produce for pickling or canning, its time to explore some delicious traditional Southern pickling recipes. These are some of the best pickling methods we’ve gathered over the years from friends and family alike. Some are old classic original, and a few are new twists that push the boundaries.

jars of pickled veggies on picnic table

Classic Bread-and-Butter Pickles

These sweet and tangy pickles are a Southern staple, perfect for adding to sandwiches, burgers, or enjoying on their own.

Homemade Chow-Chow Relish

A medley of pickled vegetables including cabbage, peppers, and onions, chow-chow relish is a versatile condiment that adds a burst of flavor to Southern dishes.

Spicy Pickled Peaches

Peaches aren’t just for desserts! Pickling them with spices and peppers creates a sweet and spicy treat that’s perfect for charcuterie boards.

Zesty Pickled Okra Spears

Okra is a Southern favorite, and pickling it preserves its unique texture and flavor, making it an irresistible snack or side dish.

Spicy Pickled Peppers

Whether jalapenos, banana peppers, or bell peppers, pickled peppers add a fiery kick to dishes and are a must-have for Southern barbecue.

Tangy Pickled Beets

The earthy sweetness of beets shines through in this pickling recipe, making them a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches.

Classic Pickled Cucumbers

No list of traditional Southern pickling recipes is complete without the iconic dill pickles that have graced many Southern tables.

Savory Pickled Green Tomatoes

Unripe green tomatoes are transformed into a tangy and savory treat that’s perfect for snacking or frying.

Southern Pickled Watermelon Rind

A Southern classic, pickled watermelon rind showcases the art of preserving every part of the harvest.

Spicy Pickled Green Beans

Crunchy and flavorful, pickled green beans are a classic Southern side dish or garnish for Bloody Marys.

Tangy Pickled Okra and Corn Relish

A delightful combination of pickled okra and sweet corn, this relish is a great addition to salads and seafood dishes.

Traditional Pickled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs take on a new level of flavor when pickled with spices, making them a beloved Southern snack.

Southern Pickled Pearl Onions

These tiny onions are pickled to perfection, offering a burst of tangy flavor in salads and cocktails.

Best Ingredients for Southern Pickling

Here is where we can dive into the details. When it comes to pickling, we have a true bounty of produce to choose from. When you think of classic southern pickling, cucumbers and okra probably come to mind.

Peppers, ranging from sweet to fiery also play a role in pickling, adding a kick of heat and complexity to the mix.

But there’s so many more options out there. Here we will cover the 15 most popular vegetables for pickling in the south.

The Best Southern Produce for Pickling

In the world of pickling, creativity knows no bounds. Adventurous combinations like watermelon rinds and green tomatoes, there’s a whole lot of options out there to tantalize your taste buds.

The real magic lies in the ability to combine different flavors and textures, giving a perfect medley bursting with complexity and depth. Choose the best combination of produce, spice and brine and you will be dearly rewarded!

Pickled vegetables have a delightful flavor on their own, but they also open the door to a world of culinary uses. Just like the tangy crunch of pickled okra in a Bloody Mary, or the sweet and spicy kick of pickled peppers on a juicy burger. Delicious!

The possibilities are nearly endless, which is why I love pickling so much. Small changes, tweaks or additions to each batch gives you a new and delightful surprise.


Okra, a unique staple in traditional southern cuisine, takes center stage in the art of southern pickling. Using time-honored techniques, southerners have perfected the art of pickling okra, resulting in a flavor-packed experience that is hard to resist.

okra for pickling

Pickled okra can be enjoyed as a standalone snack, adding a delightful crunch to any gathering. Its unique flavor profile also makes it a fantastic accompaniment to sandwiches, salads, and even cocktails. The tangy brine cuts through rich and heavy dishes, adding a burst of acidity that elevates the overall flavor.

Best Uses for Pickled Okra

  1. Cocktail Garnish: Add a tangy kick to your cocktail by using pickled okra as a unique garnish.
  2. Charcuterie and Cheese Boards: Elevate your charcuterie and cheese boards by adding pickled okra as a vibrant and flavorful element.
  3. Salad Toppers: The tangy and crunchy texture of the okra slices adds a refreshing contrast to the greens and other vegetables.
  4. Sandwich Enhancements: Whether it’s a burger, wrap, or sub, pickled okra adds a unique twist to your favorite sandwiches.
  5. Southern Po’ Boy: Incorporate pickled okra into a classic Southern po’ boy sandwich for a burst of tanginess and crunch.

But the benefits of pickled okra go beyond its taste. Known for its high fiber and vitamin content, okra is a nutritious addition to any dish. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, which are known for their immune-boosting properties. Not only does pickled okra satisfy your cravings, but it also provides a range of health benefits.


Peppers are the perfect ingredient to add a kick to your pickling creations. And not just the spicy ones; bell peppers pair so well with nearly any pickling recipe. There’s something so perfect about the way they infuse into the brine, transforming into tangy delights.

banana peppers for pickling canning

When it comes to pickling peppers, there are a variety of techniques and spices you can experiment with. For sweet peppers, a simple brine of vinegar, sugar, and salt can work wonders, enhancing their natural sweetness and creating a delightful balance of flavors. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a fiery kick, hot peppers like habaneros or serranos can take your pickling game to the next level. Add some garlic, onions, and a medley of pickling spices like mustard seeds, coriander, and peppercorns, and you’ve got a recipe that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy.

Best Uses for Pickled Peppers

  1. Taco Toppings: Add a burst of tangy and spicy flavor to your tacos by using pickled peppers as a topping.
  2. Pizza Pizzazz: With the addition of pickled peppers, their tanginess and heat bring a new dimension of flavor to each slice.
  3. Spicy Sandwiches: Transform your sandwiches into flavor-packed delights by incorporating pickled peppers.
  4. Stir-Fry Brightness: Stir-fries are taken to a whole new level with the addition of pickled peppers. Their vibrant color and bold flavor cut through the richness of the stir-fried ingredients, creating a new and exciting dish.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are countless pickled pepper recipes out there to explore. From pickled banana peppers and spicy pepper relishes, the possibilities are endless.


There’s no surprise here; pickled cucumbers are exactly what comes to mind when you mention the term ‘pickles’. The humble cucumber is such an easy vegetable to pickle, and it takes on a new dimension, offering a satisfying crunch and a delightful tang that awakens the taste buds.

pickled cucumbers in a jar

Cucumbers are a natural best choice for pickling with a high water content and mild flavor. They easily take on new flavors. Combine them with a brine of vinegar, water, sugar, and spices, and cucumbers transform into a crispy treat that’s perfect for snacking or adding a zesty addition to your meals.

Best Uses for Pickled Cucumbers

  1. Sandwich Upgrade: Their tangy and crunchy texture complements a variety of fillings, from deli meats to grilled veggies.
  2. Refreshing Snack: Enjoy straight from the jar as a refreshing and low-calorie snack. Their cool and tangy flavor is perfect for satisfying midday cravings.
  3. Relish and Condiment: Finely chop pickled cucumbers to create a flavorful relish. It’s a fantastic topping for hot dogs, burgers, and grilled sausages.
  4. Salad Enhancer: Upgrade your salads by adding pickled cucumbers.
  5. Cocktail Garnish: Drop a couple slices into your Bloody Mary or gin and tonic for an unexpected twist to your drink.

There are so many great southern pickled cucumber varieties, from Sweet Tea Pickles to Peach and Bourbon Pickles. There’s a recipe for nearly everyone out there! Slice them long and thin, a classic spear or leave them whole. The great thing about pickling cucumbers is you have so many options with flavor and style. There’s no wrong way to do it.

Watermelon Rinds

When you think of watermelon, the juicy pink flesh is likely what comes to mind. But did you know that the rind of the watermelon can also be turned into an amazing treat through pickling? Its true, and pickled watermelon rinds are amazing! See my recipe for it here.

pickled watermelon rinds

Watermelon rinds are the often-overlooked and discarded part of the fruit that has hidden potential for pickling enthusiasts. The rind features natural sweetness and crisp texture which is perfect for the pickling process.

Best Uses for Pickled Watermelon Rinds

  1. As the Star: Our favorite way to eat pickled watermelon rinds is by itself as a snack. Its so refreshing on a hot day, you’ll have a hard time only eating a couple pieces.
  2. Charcuterie and Cheese Boards: Its sweet-tangy flavor pairs well with a variety of cheeses, cured meats, and crackers. Presentation factor is unique as well!
  3. Salads: Chop the pickled rind into smaller bite-sized pieces and toss it into green salads, grain bowls, or pasta salads (amazing!) for a tangy twist.
  4. Sandwiches and Wraps: It’s unique texture and taste complements the flavors of many different styles of sandwiches or wraps. Experiment with your favorites.

The important process of pickling watermelon rinds involves removing the green outer layer from the rind. This outer skin is too tough, and will not soften with pickling.

After removing the green skin, cutting the inner rind into manageable bite-sized pieces is key. These pieces are soaked in a brine solution infused with spices and vinegar. Over time, the rinds absorb the flavors of the brine, creating a delightful contrast between the natural sweetness of the rind and the tanginess of the pickling liquid.

The next time you enjoy a juicy watermelon, don’t let that rind go to waste. Turn it into a custom pickled delicacy that’s sure to impress both friends and family alike.

Green Tomatoes

When summer comes to an end and the garden is still abundant with unripe tomatoes, there’s no need to let them go to waste. Enter green tomatoes, a versatile ingredient that can be transformed into tangy delights through the art of pickling.

green tomatoes for pickling

Green tomatoes have a slightly tart flavor that lends itself well to pickling. By soaking them in a brine solution that combines vinegar, spices, and a touch of sugar, you can create a treat that’s both vibrant and flavorful.

The tanginess of pickled green tomatoes makes them a perfect accompaniment to a variety of dishes. Add them to salads for a burst of flavor, or use them as a topping for sandwiches and burgers.

Best Uses for Pickled Green Tomatoes

  1. Fried Green Tomato Po’ Boy: One of my favorite ways to use pickled green tomatoes is in a sandwich. The tangy and crunchy texture of the pickled tomatoes is perfect addition.
  2. Tacos and Burritos: Much the same as with sandwiches, the tartness of the pickled tomatoes complements the savory fillings of tacos and burritos, adding a burst of flavor.
  3. Savory Salsas: Create a zesty and unique salsa using pickled green tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and mix them with diced onions, peppers, cilantro, lime juice, and a touch of heat.
  4. Southern Charcuterie Platter: Add pickled green tomatoes to your Southern-inspired charcuterie and cheese platter. Their vibrant color and tangy flavor make them a standout addition that pairs so very well with cheeses, smoked meats, and crusty bread.

Embrace the southern tradition of pickling by exploring the possibilities that green tomatoes offer. With their tangy twist and versatility, these pickled delights are sure to become a favorite addition to your pantry.


Yes, peaches! Pickled peaches offer a unique blend of sweet and tangy flavors that can be both refreshing and surprising. The natural sweetness of ripe peaches is balanced by the tanginess of the pickling brine.

southern pickled peaches in mason jar

Follow a method that incorporates a bit of spice, and you’ll have one of the most unique pickled treats around. It wasn’t until I was an adult that tried them for the first time; very unique to say the least.

I prefer my pickled peaches with just a bit of cinnamon and a light vinegar brine. The sweetness of the peach shines through for a really fun taste profile. I’ve shared a method for Spicy Southern Pickled Peaches that you should have a look at!

Best Uses for Pickled Peaches

  1. Salads: Toss sliced pickled peaches into a spinach salad along with some mild cheese, toasted pecans, red onion, tomatoes and a creamy dressing.
  2. Glazes and Sauces: The pickling liquid from pickled peaches can be reduced and used as a glaze for roasted meats or as a base for sauces. Peach-bourbon BBQ glaze anyone?
  3. Desserts: They can top ice cream, be layered into parfaits, or even be baked into tarts and pies for a unique twist on classic recipes.
  4. Cheese and Charcuterie Boards: Pickled peaches make a fun addition to cheese and charcuterie boards. Their sweet-tangy flavor pairs well with many cheeses, cured meats, and crackers.


Carrots, with their vibrant orange hue and crisp texture, are a popular choice for pickling in the South. When pickled, carrots maintain a delightful crunch and absorb the flavors of the brine, creating a great blend of taste and texture.

pickled julienne carrots in jar

Pickled carrots are a great ingredient and can be enjoyed in quite a few ways. They make a wonderful addition to salads, adding a burst of color and flavor. You can also use them as a topping for sandwiches and wraps, enhancing the overall taste with their tanginess.

Best Uses for Pickled Carrots

  1. Grilled Vegetable Wraps: Create a flavorful wrap by layering pickled carrots along with grilled vegetables, garlic aioli and fresh greens. They will complement the grilled veggies well.
  2. The Snack Star: Enjoy pickled carrots on their own, as the star of the snack plate. They hold up so well to pickling, and take on flavors perfectly. Makes for a great snack alongside cheese and crackers.
  3. Pickled Carrot Slaw: Use pickled carrots as the main ingredient in a refreshing slaw. Combine them with shredded cabbage, bell peppers, red onions, and a zesty vinaigrette or creamy dressing for a fun side dish.
  4. Morning Omelets: Elevate your breakfast by adding pickled carrots to your morning omelet. The tangy and crunchy carrots provide a unique twist to the usual omelet fillings, creating a satisfying and flavorful breakfast option.


Beets may not be the first vegetable that comes to mind when you think of pickling, but they really are a hidden gem in the world of southern pickling. Their earthy sweetness plays beautifully with the tanginess of the pickling brine, creating a unique combination of flavors.

southern pickled beets in bowl

Not only do they taste amazing, served in salads, sandwiches or wraps they provide an unmatched color and soft texture. I’ve always loved beets, and only as an adult really appreciated pickled beets. They are just so satisfying to eat, their soft texture give a sense of luxury.

Best Uses for Pickled Beets

  1. Colorful Salad Accent: Add an exciting burst of vibrant color and tangy flavor to your salads by tossing in some pickled beets. Their bold hue and sweet-tart taste complement fresh greens for a dramatic and delicious salad.
  2. Beet Pickled Eggs: Add a twist to your deviled eggs by using beet-pickled eggs as the base. The eggs will take on a gorgeous pink hue from the pickling liquid for a unique appetizer.
  3. Beet Burger Toppings: Create a gourmet veggie burger by piling pickled beets on top of your burger patty. The tangy and earthy flavor of the beets pairs perfectly with the savory components of the burger.

Beyond their culinary appeal, pickled beets also offer a range of health benefits. Packed with essential nutrients, they provide a nutritious addition to your diet.


I always enjoyed cauliflower, from roasted to raw, but it really takes on a whole new identity when pickled. With its naturally crisp texture that’s perfect for southern-inspired dishes. Cauliflower readily takes on the flavors of the pickling brine, giving you beautiful results with every pickling batch.

pickled cauliflower florets on a plate

Cauliflower works best broken down into small bite-sized florets, is amazing addition to a pickling medley and will stand up to months of storage when properly canned.

Pickled cauliflower is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways. It can be added to antipasto platters for a pop of color and flavor, or incorporated into salads and grain bowls for an extra layer of texture. Its unique taste complements a range of dishes and adds a touch of sophistication to your meals.

Best Uses for Pickled Cauliflower

  1. Antipasto Platter: Add a tangy and crunchy element to your antipasto platter with pickled cauliflower florets. They bring a burst of flavor and unique visual appeal.
  2. Cauliflower Tacos: We love to create unique and flavorful tacos by topping tortillas with pickled cauliflower, along with other favorite taco fillings.
  3. Pickle Bowls: Build your own healthy pickle bowl by combining pickled cauliflower with other pickled vegetables, grains, and protein.

Green Beans

Classic green beans are a staple vegetable in southern cuisine, no foolin they’re also a very popular pickling vegetable. Their vibrant green color and distinctive crunch, pickled green beans are a delightful addition to your table.

jar of pickling beans

In addition to being a delightful snack, pickled green beans are great when used as a garnish for cocktails or added to sandwiches for a burst of flavor. They hold up well over long periods of time when pickled, giving you enjoyment for months if not years.

Best Uses for Pickled Green Beans

  1. Snack Attack: Pickled green beans, also known as dilly beans make for a fantastic and crunchy snack straight out of the jar.
  2. Cocktail Garnish: Elevate your cocktails by using pickled green beans as a garnish.
  3. Salads with a Crunch: Add texture and flavor to your salads, the satisfying crunch pairs well with leafy greens and other vegetables.
  4. Charcuterie Platters: Arrange pickled green beans alongside cheeses, cured meats, olives, and crackers on your charcuterie platter.
  5. Sandwich and Wrap Enhancer: We love adding pickled green beans to wraps, they fit in there so well and amp up the flavor and crunch components.

As you explore the world of southern pickling, don’t overlook the potential of pickled green beans. Their tangy and crispy nature adds a new dimension to your culinary creations and brings a burst of flavor to every bite.


Another great candidate for pickling is cabbage. Sturdy and versatile, cabbage takes on a tangy and crunchy texture when pickled that adds depth and interest to your dishes.

southern pickled cabbage

The old favorite, sauerkraut quickly comes to mind, but there are many other great uses for pickled cabbage. The favorite in my house is probably Jalapeno Pineapple Slaw that’s so delicious on its own, but game-changing added to a pulled pork sandwich! The humble cabbage has a lot to offer.

Best Uses for Pickled Cabbage

  1. Classic Southern Slaw: Transform your pickled cabbage into a unique coleslaw that complements BBQ sandwiches, fried chicken, and pulled pork.
  2. Tangy Tacos: Add pickled cabbage to tacos for a zesty crunch that balances out the richness of meats and cheeses.
  3. Soulful Salads: Toss pickled cabbage into salads for an extra layer of texture and acidity that enhances the overall flavor. Even a plain garden salad turns exciting!
  4. Chow-Chow: Chow-chow is a relish made from pickled cabbage, bell peppers, onions, and green tomatoes. This Southern staple is both sweet and tangy, and holds up well when canned.


Radishes are one of the most beautiful and vibrant vegetables when sliced. They seem to just scream ‘Spring!’ With their delightful presentation factor, comes a peppery kick that makes them a perfect pickling option.

southern pickled radish

Use in a medley of pickled veggies, or by themselves. When pickled, radishes retain their beautiful color while taking on a slightly milder flavor.

Best Uses for Pickled Radish

  1. Radish Pickles: Radishes can be pickled to create flavorful and tangy radish pickles. The pickling process mellows out the sharpness of the radishes and infuses them with the flavors of the pickling brine.
  2. Garnishes for Southern Dishes: Radishes are often used as garnishes for Southern dishes like greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. Sliced or whole pickled radishes add a touch of color and a tangy kick to these dishes, enhancing their visual appeal and flavor profile.
  3. Radish Relish: Create a zesty relish with pickled radishes that adds a pop of color and flavor to sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers.
  4. Radish Slaw: Pickled radishes can be used to create a unique and vibrant radish slaw. Combine pickled radishes with other coleslaw ingredients, such as cabbage and carrots, and toss them in a tangy dressing.


Another powerful pickling veggie, asparagus, with its slender stalks and delicate flavor. When pickled, asparagus maintains its crispness and easily absorbs all the tangy brine flavor.

asparagus for pickling

Best Uses for Pickled Asparagus

  1. Antipasto Platters: Pickled asparagus makes a wonderful addition to antipasto platters or charcuterie boards.
  2. Bloody Mary Garnish: Pickled asparagus spears are often used as a garnish for cocktails, particularly Bloody Mary’s. The crispness of pickled asparagus adds a satisfying crunch to the drink, while its tangy flavor enhances the overall cocktail experience.
  3. Salads: Pickled asparagus can be sliced into bite-sized pieces and tossed into salads. Its tangy and slightly earthy flavor pairs well with a variety of greens, vegetables, and dressings.
  4. Sandwiches and Wraps: Pickled asparagus can be used as a flavorful and crunchy component in sandwiches and wraps.
  5. Appetizers: Pickled asparagus can be wrapped with ham or prosciutto to create elegant and savory appetizers.

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