Guide | DIY Pickling

Guide | DIY Pickling

A guide to pickling, a break from BJJ videos is sometimes needed.


Some people say cucumbers taste better pickled. I say most all vegetables taste better pickled. Have you ever had a plain piece of seared salmon with some brown rice and a side of steamed broccoli for dinner? Of course you have, and probably way more often than you would like to admit. This guide is not to say to stop eating that but is to improve on that one word we all hate, “boring.” We all hit peaks and valleys when it comes to our training and the same goes for our taste buds. If we have the same meal the same way too often we get stagnant with it and are no longer enjoying eating, what is the point of living if we aren’t doing that? Well one great way that is easy, affordable and is general fun to do is to pickle your own vegetables. Adding them to some of your mainstay dishes for a nice change of pace that will really revive the meal and awaken your taste buds! Also they aren’t horrible for you either. Soon enough instead of salivating over seeing a dry aged rib eye at the butcher counter and thinking about it seared to a nice medium rare you will find yourself staring at the produce isle and being flooded with thoughts of what flavors you would use to pickle each and every vegetable. With this guide to pickling you will add as much technique to your cooking game as you have within your BJJ game!

What is pickling?

Pickling goes back ages, as I have stated before though I am no historian so I cannot tell you when it exactly started but some speculation dates pickling all the way back to 2400 BC…absorb that for a minute. Yea this technique goes back and has lasted the test of time. Maybe you can pay homage and try it out for yourself.

This is where you want to smell interesting things, not on the mats.
This is where you want to smell interesting things, not on the mats.

Pickling is a form of preservation that allows us to have our favorite fruits and vegetables long after the season has come and gone. It just so happens that pickling, much like classic Gracie Jiu Jitsu, has been tweaked around with and has all sorts of varieties now. There is a basic pickling liquid that we can compare to Gracie Jiu Jitsu, it works, very, very well and without it there would be nothing. Now if we add our own different styles, personalities, or what one might call “flavors” to it we come up with a new and exciting style of Jiu Jitsu, or in this regard, pickles.


So you are one of the brave that want to take a stab at pickling? I bet you are the person who gladly walks over to the instructor during live training for a roll with a big smile on your face because you like a challenge and know you will walk away learning something. Good because I am that same guy. But unlike rolling with your professor pickling is very simple and you will be surprised at how easy it is, also it will not make you feel like a rag doll. All you need  is a fruit or vegetable that you want to pickle, a clean mason jar or plastic quart container that you would get soup in from Chinese take-out, and pickling liquid. Let us gather around and take a look at the details of what you will need.

What to pickle with:

Vinegar, its not just for cleaning your gi anymore
Vinegar, its not just for cleaning your gi anymore

The Liquid: First the foundation of all pickling is the liquid. The base liquid contains five ingredients that can be changed around at your discretion as long as the fundamental ratio remains the same. This is where you can add you own personal flare to your pickles just like how your guillotine is different than mine because you turn your shoulders back ever so slightly. We all love adding our own personal touches. With that though the foundation must be present.

Basic Pickling Liquid Ratio
Makes 1 quart with vegetables
Vinegar | Water | Sugar | Salt  | Spices
½ cups | 1 cup | 6 Tbsp | 1 Tbsp | 1 Tbsp

VinegarWhite, rice, red wine, and apple cider vinegar.

Sugars: White, cane, brown, and palm sugar

Spices: Allspice, bay leaf, black/white peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, clove, coriander, cumin, dill seed, fennel seed, juniper berries, mace, turmeric

If pickles are classic Jiu Jitsu then spices are what made Bravo Jiu jitsu
If pickles are classic Jiu Jitsu then spices are what made Bravo Jiu jitsu

Additional seasoning: Garlic, herbs, hot sauce, soy sauce

Important to note: The vinegar listed is your base vinegar you can take out some and replace it with higher quality vinegar as long as it totals 1/2 cups.  Using 100% balsamic would be super expensive and it is not designed for that. Also instead of water you can use soy or teas.

Next we will need our vegetable that we plan to pickle.

What to pickle:

The Main Ingredient: Primarily we see vegetables and fruits pickled and preserved. The options are honestly endless here. The variety is really up to you, mixing and matching can enhance flavors, so get creative, or stick to the basics and make your own cucumber pickles.

Absolute division of vegetables, who will be the champion of taste via pickle-ission?
Absolute division of vegetables, who will be the champion of taste via pickle-ission?

Vegetables: Beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chilis, corn, cucumbers, fennel, ginger, jalapeno, radish red onion, shallots, turnips

Fruits: Apples, Asian pears, melons (cantaloupe and watermelon), cherries, peaches

Important to note: A crucial step to remember is, once you have chosen what you want to pickle is how to prepare it. the cleaning and cutting of the vegetable. Thinly sliced carrot rounds will pickle faster and has a softer texture than if you half and then quarter a carrot and pickle sticks. You can also leave vegetables whole, for instance jalapeno peppers are great pickled whole because you can then prepare them as you wish rather than being stuck with slices.

How to guide:

Free for all pickle party! Why does that sound so wrong?
Free for all pickle party! Why does that sound so wrong?

Take less than an hour out of your week and go grab a bunch of different vegetables at the market. Clean and cut them as you wish and pack each in its own seal-able plastic container or jar. Try and buy a container worth of each vegetable. I also suggest doing this in bulk and to add variety, that way you only have to do it every once and awhile yet reap the rewards for months.

  1. Pick out the vegetables you want to pickle. Prepare them as desired and pop them into a container.
  2. In a large container combine sugar, salt, vinegar and hot water. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolves. The trick is to have the water hot enough to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Add any seasoning you want to each of the different containers.
  4. Pour pickling liquid into each container until the vegetables are covered.
  5. Place a lid on the containers and refrigerate.
  6. Ideally let the pickles sit for 3-4 days before eating.

This type of pickling is the most basic and can be implemented in so many different ways. The basic ratio above makes 1 quart of pickles so if you end up getting say 4 quart containers worth of vegetables, multiple the ratio by 4. These pickles will hold for at least a month.

Tip: Add in combinations of vegetables to make unique flavors such as adding shaved fennel or ginger to your carrots or a garlic clove or two in with cucumbers.


jalapeno usePickled Jalapenos from “closed jarred”
Makes 1 quart
Small jalapenos, whole: ~8 or enough to fill a quart loosely
Garlic clove, smashed: 1 clove
Onion, sliced thin: ¼ onion
Hot water: 1 cup
Rice wine vinegar: ½ cup
Sugar: 6 Tbsp
Salt: 1 Tbsp
Black peppercorns: ¼ tsp
(optional) Corriander, whole: ¼ tsp
(optional) Mustard seed: ¼ tsp

Prick the skin of each jalapeno a few times with a fork, this will allow the liquid to pass the guard of each while the pickling process happens.
Pack jalapenos, garlic, onion and peppercorns into a quart container. (add in optional spices here if you are using them.)
Combine hot water, vinegar, sugar and salt into a bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Pour over the jalapenos, cover with a lid and refrigerate for 3 days – 1 week.
Add these to any dish you would normally add in jalapenos for a nice change or eat them straight up!
Go roll. But make sure you wash your hands after handling the jalapenos, you training partners will thank you when their faces aren’t on fire.

Install this next to your closet full of Shoyoroll kimonos for a beautiful setup
Install this next to your closet full of Shoyoroll kimonos for a beautiful setup

Images: kitchenetteblog userealbutter pinchmysalt daringbakerduluth tastebu Peta JoyofKosher

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