Make bright and colorful pickled chard stems from Rainbow Chard! See how easy it is to make these quick homemade refrigerator pickles to brighten up your sandwiches. No canning equipment is needed for these rainbow chard pickles.
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Swiss chard is one of the first fresh local vegetables we get in the summer, with its ruffled leaves and bright stems. I use the chard much the same way I use kale, by sauteing them in olive oil or as an ingredient in a frittata. But one thing chard has that kale doesn’t is bright and pretty stems – especially if you get rainbow chard. Rainbow chard has stems in orange, red, yellow and green which makes for colorful pickles.
Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems
Chard stems are not only edible, they make a nice crunchy treat. They have a consistency that is similar to celery, and can be eaten raw or sauteed right along with the leaves. Any kind of chard stems can be make into homemade pickles and will taste excellent. But, if you have a choice, rainbow chard is the most impressive looking. Making the stems into easy refrigerator pickles is a great way to preserve them and make crunchy, colorful pickles that will brighten up your next sandwich.
How to Make Pickled Chard Stems
Making refrigerator pickled chard stems is quick and easy. One large bunch of rainbow chard gives you enough stems to make a pint jar of pickles. Some people like to pickle long stalks, but I always cut mine up into bite sized pieces about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch long. I also add a little onion to the chard stems to help flavor them.
Then I make an easy homemade brine for the pickles. The brine starts out by heating mustard seeds for a few minutes in the saucepan. This releases the flavor of the mustard seeds and adds to the tangy flavor of the pickles. Then a combination of rice vinegar, vinegar and water is boiled with sugar and peppercorns to make the brine.
After the rainbow chard stalks and onion are packed into a Mason jar the brine is poured over the top and the pickles are done. These quick chard stem pickles can be made in just a few minutes! The resulting pickles are tangy and sweet and with their bright colors they make a sandwich both tasty and pretty.
Pickled Chard Stems
- 1 cup Swiss Chard stems (from 1 large bunch of chard)
- 1/8 cup red onion
- 1 teaspoon pickling salt or Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
- Remove the stems from one large bunch of Swiss chard and chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Finally dice a little bit of red onion.
- Put the chard stems and onion in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Set aside while you make the pickling brine.
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes. Then add the mustard seeds and let them toast for 2 minutes or so to release the flavor.
- Add the two types of vinegar, water, sugar and peppercorns. Bring to boiling and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat.
- Place the chard stems and onion in a pint mason jar, packing the vegetables tightly. Pour the warm brine over the rainbow chard stems and cap the jar.
- Let the jar cool at room temperature for an hour or so, then put it in the refrigerator. The pickles will be ready in a day, and will last in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.
- To make the pickles a little spicy add a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the brine along with the peppercorns. This gives the Rainbow Chard Pickles a sweet and spicy flavor.
- I like the combination of rice vinegar and white vinegar but any kind of vinegar will work for the pickle brine. However if you use a colored vinegar like apple cider vinegar the colors of the chard stems will not be as obvious, so stick to clear vinegar.
- Using regular table salt in the recipe might cause the pickles to become cloudy or discolored. So it really is worth it to buy some pickling salt or Kosher salt if you make pickles often.