Make Ahead

Spicy Celery Quick Pickle Sticks

by:
March 13, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Why should cucumbers have all the fun? Celery sticks make great, snappy, crunchy quick pickles. You can use these pickles in sandwiches, on charcuterie plates, in salads—and best of all, you can use them as the best Bloody Mary garnish *ever*. You can make these in whatever size you like. If you want to make dramatically long pickle sticks (to place in a Bloody Mary glass, for example), there are directions on how to do that below. —vrunka

Test Kitchen Notes

These spicy little sticks are just that ...spicy! And oh so tasty. They're quick to make and the kick you get from the chili flakes packs a punch. They don't need to sit for long in the pickling juice, so they're ready before you know it. There are two quantities of mustard seed listed: I used 1.5 tsp of black mustard seed. I can see why this would go well with a bloody mary! —Victoria Ross

  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes 12-20 pickles
Ingredients
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
  • 8 large celery stalks, peeled and cut into pieces (see note)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Bring the vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and add garlic, mustard seed, peppercorns, chili flakes.
  2. Place the celery pieces in a large bowl (preferably glass or ceramic) and pour the vinegar mixture over it. Stir to combine spices. Make sure all the pieces are submerged in the brine. Allow to cool completely (at least a couple hours) before serving.
  3. If you would like to make longer stalks into pickles, you can cut them to the length of the tallest wide-mouthed Mason jar you have. Stand them upright in the jar and pour the brine over them. Cover tightly. As the pickles cool, you may have to shake the jar (carefully!) to distribute the spices and brine.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michelle Howell
    Michelle Howell
  • Jaclyn King Hollands
    Jaclyn King Hollands
  • Rita Foust
    Rita Foust
  • borntobeworn
    borntobeworn
  • MeghanVK
    MeghanVK
I love experimenting in the kitchen and learning new techniques.

20 Reviews

Justin May 1, 2020
I made this last night and used a 1 quart Ball jar. However, The brine only filled up halfway. Did anybody else have this issue? I ended up just adding more vinegar, so we'll see how it goes.
 
Author Comment
vrunka May 1, 2020
Hey Justin, that should be fine! The recipe was written for a smaller pint jar (like in the picture) -- sorry I forgot to mention that the option to use a quart jar would require more brine! What you did should be fine. If you didn't increase the amounts of the other ingredients, you may find the flavor a little out too sour, but it'll still be tasty! :)
 
Justin May 1, 2020
Thanks! The 8 stalks of celery I had wouldn't fit into a pint jar. Otherwise it would have been perfect. I thought about topping with water as I sometimes do that when making other refrigerator pickles. Thanks again!
 
Michelle H. October 23, 2019
Hello, I was wondering how I could pickle celery to be spicy with Jalapenos. Would I omit the red pepper and include Jalapenos instead? I had it at a Mexican restaurant in the little dish with jalapenos, carrots, and celery. The celery was my favorite! I'm trying to figure out how to make this at home but with celery being the star. How long does pickled celery last?
 
Author Comment
vrunka November 18, 2019
Hi Michelle, sorry for the late response. Yes, I think jalapenos would be very good here I would leave the red pepper out if you're using jalapenos. The pickles last a good long time as long as everything is kept submerged in the brine and in the fridge. The celery will just get less crisp as time goes on.
 
Jessica B. July 10, 2019
My husband and I made a Sunday roast that called for four stalks of celery, leaving us with a whole bunch of leftovers. I decided to pickle them, and he loves them! We did tweak it a little, since we didn't have peppercorns and he wanted to use cloves and dill. Still, this was a great idea, and I had no idea you could pickle celery! Thanks!
 
David April 27, 2017
These are great. Not peeled. Shelf life is short but it does not matter. They go qickly.
 
Author Comment
vrunka May 1, 2017
so glad you enjoyed them!
 
Jaclyn K. June 24, 2016
Can you can these? If so, what is the shelf live?
 
Author Comment
vrunka May 1, 2017
Sorry for the late response, but I imagine that these would can well. You may lose some of the crunch, though, with the heat.
 
Nancy July 21, 2014
Vrunka - great recipe! made originally to use up quickly-wilting celery sticks. Good enough to make on purpose. When they were done, couldn't bear to throw out the brine, so I used it again - this time for blanched green beans. Even better...thanks again.
 
Rita F. June 19, 2014
Can I make these with Swiss Chard stems???
 
Author Comment
vrunka June 19, 2014
absolutely!
 
borntobeworn December 31, 2012
I made these last night and they are awesome! They would be so good in anything where you use diced celery: potato salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, etc.
 
Author Comment
vrunka January 2, 2013
Mmm... great ideas. I've always just eaten them straight, but I like the idea of adding them to salads.
 
Chokolate911 May 9, 2012
These are awesome. I made a batch for a cookout and should definitely have double the batch.
 
LuvLatte April 7, 2012
Hi vrunka, looking at this recipe it sounds wonderful, but I am still confused regarding the mustard seeds being in twice. Several other readers have commented on this and I know you stated in the summary that you use 1.5 teaspoons of black mustard seed. But that is not helping us understand why it is listed twice. Can you please just tell us whether to use 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon or is using the 1.5 teaspoons as you do enough. You have not responded to the other two readers questions regarding this confusion so I am hoping you respond to mine so we can all clear it up and get on with making these rather unusual pickles. Ciao!
 
Author Comment
vrunka April 8, 2012
Sorry for the confusion -- I think I've finally been able to edit the recipe and get the changes to stick!

The correct amount is one tablespoon.

Thanks for the question and I hope you enjoy them!
 
MeghanVK March 29, 2012
These look great to this Bloody Mary addict - I'm going to make a batch tonight. How long do they keep? Ie, should I store them in or out of the brine?
 
Author Comment
vrunka April 5, 2012
Hi Meghan, They keep for a couple days. After that, they still taste good, but get less crisp as time goes on.