Can You Pickle Herbs? Best Herbs To Pickle and How To Do It Properly

Here’s a quick guide on how to pickle herbs, the best herbs to pickle, and the spices that can elevate the taste of your pickled fruits and vegetables.

Pickling is a fantastic way to extend the harvest of your homegrown produce and preserve seasonal fruits and veggies for when they go out of season. They also make excellent and exciting additions to salads, roasts, steaks, sandwiches, and more — all year round. Therefore, you don’t have to limit yourself to pickling fruits and vegetables alone.

Why Pickle Herbs?

You have a sustainable and delicious food storage option by pickling your homegrown or freshly bought herbs. Herbs make excellent pickles, and they are a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet.

While your vegetable garden can overwhelm you with its bounteous crop during particular seasons, you will not have that gorgeous abundance of fresh herbs during the winter months. Pickled herbs add a bright note to almost any dish – even during those cold, dreary months when they are out of season.

Fresh herbs are a fantastic addition to other pickling recipes like pickled carrot, cabbage, beet, and even fruit.

5 Herbs That Can Make Your Pickles ...
5 Herbs That Can Make Your Pickles Stand Out

The Best Herbs To Pickle

Pickle preferences are a matter of choice and depend on the flavors you relish. So if you are growing herbs to pickle, choose the ones that suit your palate. Some herbs that pickle well on their own are sage, parsley, dill, and basil.

How To Pickle Herbs – A quick Pickle Brine Recipe For Herbs

how-to-pickle-herbs
How To Pickle Herbs

This brine recipe helps the herbs retain their freshness and brightness. They can be used to pickle both parsley and sage, which blend well in salads, meatballs, and couscous mixtures, sandwiches, and salads. If you use this brine to pickle parsley, keep the leaves on the stem and pull off as needed.

This brine recipe can be made up to one week ahead and refrigerated. Refrigerate the herbs in an airtight box for at least an hour before they are added to the brine.

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Ingredients for brine (makes about 2.5 cups of brine)

  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (coarse)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Turn off the heat as soon as the mixture begins to boil, then let it cool.
  4. Transfer to a 1-quart jar without straining.

Adding the herbs

You can add 2 cups fresh sage leaves (stemmed) or 2 cups flat-leaf parsley (on the stem) to the above brine.

To pickle the herbs, rinse them in plenty of cold water and then plunge them into the cooled brine. Ensure the leaves and stems are entirely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

(Brine recipe: Based on a recipe by John Broening. Otherwise, adapted from “The Nimble Cook: New Strategies for Great Meals That Make the Most of Your Ingredients,” by Ronna Welsh.)

Herbs That Can Make Your Pickles Stand Out

1. Tarragon

This tough leafy green herb is commonly used in French cuisine. The leaves have a spicy taste and a subtle herby flavor, adding a unique tangy taste to vegetable pickles.

2. Thyme

Need a bit of oomph and spice in your pickles? Try adding this Mediterranean herb to your next batch of pickled cucumbers.

3. Mint

Mint is known for its health benefits and is used in baked goods and teas. Mint can also lend your pickles a unique sweet zing. Although it is excellent in pickled cucumbers, it can be added to any pickled vegetable and fruit.

4. Lavender

Does the scent of lavender remind you of spring? Lavender belongs to the mint family and adds a unique flavor to various dishes and a sweet and savory taste to pickles.

5. Marjoram

Another member of the mint family, marjoram’s woodsy and earthy flavor is often compared to thyme and oregano. It is used whole in various dishes and adds a balsam-pine taste to pickles. Simply pour vinegar over fresh marjoram leaves and let it sit for a while. Use this vinegar for pickling.

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Best Herbs and Spices for Pickle Fruits

When pickling fruit, are you often left wondering what spices go in pickles? Here’s some advice: choose fresh whole spices, as powdered spices can make the brine dark and cloudy. That said, smoked paprika and turmeric powder add fantastic color and flavor to pickled fruit.

Best whole spices for pickled fruit

  • Mustard seed
  • Coriander seed
  • Cumin seed
  • Fennel seed
  • Dill seed
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Bay leaves
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Black peppercorns

Best herbs for pickled fruit (dry and fresh herbs)

  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Mint

Additional flavorings

  • Vanilla bean (split and halved and without seeds)
  • Ginger (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • Turmeric (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • Garlic cloves (sliced or smashed)
  • Shallots
  • Lemongrass

Easy Recipe For Pickled Fruit

Pickled fruit is delicious on its own or when added to appetizers, salads, sandwiches, noodle bowls, ice cream, and even paired with meats for added flavor. Here’s a quick and easy recipe that you can try. Remember to allow this pickle to sit on your benchtop, away from direct heat or sunlight, for at least a few days before putting it in the fridge.

Ingredients (1 quart jar, approx. 950ml)

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt (non-iodized salts like sea salt, pink salt, pickling salt, or kosher salt)
  • 2 cups fresh seasonal fruit (any combination)
  • Any combination of spices, herbs, and one or two additional flavorings (see above list) that suit your palate

Method

  1. Wash and cut the fruit
  2. Pack the fruit in a pickling jar.
  3. Heat the brine ingredients (vinegar, water, sugar, and salt) in a saucepan.
  4. Pour the brine over the fruit in the pickling jar.
  5. Add fresh and dried spices, herbs, and flavorings to the jar.
  6. Seal the jar and store it in the refrigerator overnight.

Best Herbs To Pickle Vegetables

best-herbs-to-pickle
Best Herbs To Pickle

Choose a flavor you love when choosing spices and herbs for your pickled vegetables. If you are wondering what spices go in pickles, our advice is to go wild with colors and flavors. Do not be afraid to mix and match herbs and spices with your favorite veggies.

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Spices for pickled vegetables

  • Cardamom seeds
  • Celery seeds
  • Star anise
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Dill seeds
  • Whole cloves
  • Dried ginger
  • Fennel seeds
  • Juniper berries
  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Mustard seed
  • Coriander seed
  • Dill seed
  • Allspice berries
  • Red chili flakes
  • Bay leaves

Best Herbs To Pickle Vegetables

  • Marjoram
  • Dill
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

Easy Recipe For Pickled Vegetable

Rosemary and sage add exquisite flavors to this quick pickle that can also be made using yellow or green zucchini.

Ingredients (1/2 quart jar/ 16 oz sterilized jar)

  • 1 small white or red onion, thinly sliced OR 1 and ¼ cup chives chopped
  • 2 cups cucumber, sliced in ¼-inch rounds
  • 4 to 8 sprigs of sage (only the leaves)
  • 2 to 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 grape leaf

Method

  1. Tightly pack the cucumber, grape leaf, onions/chives, and herbs in a 16 oz sterilized glass jar until about 3/4 full.
  2. Combine the vinegar and salt in a saucepan and simmer gently until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat.
  3. Add cold filtered water to the mixture and let it cool. Pour the cooled liquid into the jar to cover the vegetables and herbs. Add more cold filtered water, if necessary. Leave some room at the top. Ensure that all ingredients are below the brine.
  4. Refrigerate for about an hour until chilled.

Can You Pickle Herbs Summary

Some of the best herbs to pickle are probably growing in your garden right now; if they are not, they are readily available during spring and summer. Fresh herbs are an exciting addition to both pickled fruit and vegetable recipes. If you know how to pickle herbs, the sky is the limit to creating new flavors that add an interesting and fun twist to every meal.

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Eve MayHew

Eve Mayhew is a stay-at-home Mum, graphic designer and wife who takes more of a relaxed and practical approach to her lifestyle. She prefers to live a more stress-free life and enjoys food and drink in moderation by counting her blessings rather than counting the calories or feeling guilty over the odd soft drink or fast food fix every now and then. (Contact Author)