Fennel Pickles

By • March 21, 2013 1 Comments

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Author Notes: I'm a sucker for a good pickle, especially a pickle that's not made out of a cucumber. I've seen tons of fancy pickles — okra, string beans, watermelon, peaches — I don't think I've ever seen pickled fennel. So I made some because fennel seems to be begging for a pickling. It's cripsy, it's crunchy, it goes great on salads, in slaws, on sandwiches. Plus, it's seeds are perfect for brine, just upping the fennel ante. No other vegetable can say that.

These are so easy and so versatile. I made these like pickle spears so I can eat them alone or serve with a sandwich. Slice the fennel thinly like you would for a slaw if you want a quick pickle or to use them as sandwich toppers. Toss them in a salad, eat them with some stinky cheese, or just munch on them for a refreshing snack.

I like a salty vinegary pickle, so these have some pucker. Play around with the salt/sugar/vinegar ratios to find the balance you like in your pickle.


Makes 1 quart jar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon cut into 4 or 5 slices
  • 1 large fennel bulb with 3 inches of stalk and fronds
  1. Toast all the seeds in a pan till fragrant
  2. Place water, vinegar, toasted seeds, sugar, salt, and lemon slices into a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the stalks and fronds off the bulb. Trim the stalks and use a vegetable peeler to remove the more fibrous outer skin, then slice them in half. Reserve the fronds.
  4. Slice the bulb down the middle from top to bottom. Remove the core.
  5. Separate the fennel by it's natural layers, then slice each layer into 1-inch wide strips. I also like to take a vegetable peeler to the outermost layer since that can also tend to be a little more fibrous than the tender inner layers.
  6. Once the brine is boiling, remove it from the heat. Add the fennel and fronds.
  7. Allow to cool, uncovered.
  8. Once completely cool, store the fennel and brine (being sure to keep all the seeds but remove the lemon) in a jar or air-tight container and place in the fridge. Wait 24 hours before eating. I don't know how long they stay good for, they never last long enough for me to find out.

More Great Recipes: Snacks|Vegetables|Pickles|Fennel