I really must thank my friend and colleague, Abra Pappa of Abra’s Kitchen for the idea of pickling chard stems. This recipe is inspired by her, and modified by my desire for fun flavors in my pickled veg.
Save your chard stems and give this a try – given that 2 large bunches of collards cooks down to about 6 cups of greens, this can be a great use for leftover stems after Sunday batch cooking.
- 16 oz. canning jar, leftover pickle jar or fermentation vessel
- Stems from 2 bunches of Chard
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 1-2 shakes of red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 grape leaf (optional – the tannins in the grape leaf keep the stems crunchy)
- 4 cups water
- 3 tbsp. sea salt
- Trim off the tips of the stems and cut stems 3-5 inches long, so that they can be stacked in the jar yet are short enough to be covered with the brine.
- Crush the garlic to allow the juices to ooze out. Place peppercorns, bay leaf, and red pepper in the jar. Stack chard stems upright into the jar and then wedge the garlic in between the stems. If using a grape leaf, lay it atop the chard.
Fill the jar with brine until the chard and grape leaf are fully submerged.
- Leftover brine can be stored in the fridge for 7-10 days – if you are unable to use it to pickle another vegetable (radish, cabbage, carrots, green beans) incorporate it into a brine for chicken or pork.
- Close the jar tightly, and set aside on a plate in a cool, dark place to ferment for 5-9 days. If you are using a canning or pickle jar, you’ll need to check on it daily to release mounting pressure as it ferments. Top off the jar with brine, if needed.
- When ready, these can be stored in the fridge for up to a year. Top them off with brine before storing to ensure freshness.