Chard stems are delicious in their own right, with a delicate beet flavor and lots of crunch. I came up with this recipe as a way of using up the stems from a bunch of chard and the remains of a bunch of scallions. Flavored with garlic, pepper, thyme, fennel, and bay, these pickles are quite addictive. You could eat them straight from the jar, or chop them up and use them as a relish on sausages or burgers. —ieatthepeach
Stems from 1 bunch chard, trimmed
(6-8) scallions, white and light green parts only, trimmed
medium garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
whole black peppercorns
crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
bay leaf, broken in half
apple cider vinegar
pickling salt OR 2 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
Cut the chard stems and scallions into pieces just long enough to fit upright inside your jar, with about 1/2 inch of space at the top. Cut the chard stems lengthwise into thin batons, and cut the scallions in quarters. Combine the chard stems and scallions in a bowl, and toss to combine.
Place garlic, peppercorns, thyme, fennel seeds, chili flakes, and bay leaf in the bottom of the jar. Pack the chard stems and scallions upright into the jar on top of the spices; you want them fairly tightly packed, but not so tightly that they get crushed.
In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, water, and salt to a simmer, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove the brine from the heat and pour into the jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. Tap the jar gently on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles, then cover tightly and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer the jar to the refrigerator.
The pickles will be ready to eat after a couple of hours in the fridge. They’ll be fully pickled after about 2 days, and will last in the fridge for about 2 months.