Spicy Quick Pickled Fennel

Lately, I’ve decided to come late to the grain bowl party and have been concocting them for countless meals. As a part of this late arrival, I’ve been playing with my toppings and have found that this is a great application for pickles. You all know I love pickles but I feel like it’s a difficult task (at least for me) to incorporate them into a meal, rather than just incorporating them straight into my mouth, straight from the jar.

What is a quick pickle? Quick pickles are simple and require no canning steps. This recipe achieves great flavor in only 20 minutes but can last and get better and better in the fridge for up to a month or so. All we need to do is make a 4-ingredient brine and bring it to a boil before pouring it over the vegetables.

In this version, we pickle the ever-so-licoricey (not a word) fennel and fresh jalapeños. Our brine is sweet from apple cider vinegar and a touch of sugar then salty from kosher salt. As the pickles sit, the fresh jalapeños infuse fennel, by way of our hot brine, with a touch of spice. You can of course, omit these or just adjust the amount to your heat tolerance.

This morning, I piled these pickles on top of my eggs, avocado, and brown rice and plan to have it this evening on top of grilled chicken and quinoa. The possibilities are countless. Or again, there is nothing wrong with the straight into the mouth, straight from the jar, method.

Spicy Quick Pickled Fennel
Yields 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup filtered water
  3. 2 tablespoons white sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  5. 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  6. 1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
  7. 1 small jalapeño, very thinly sliced
  1. Make brine. In a small saucepan, combine the first five ingredients (through pickling spice) and bring to a boil. Be sure sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Soak vegetables. In a heatproof bowl, place sliced fennel and jalapeño peppers. After brine has boiled, pour the hot brine (carefully) over vegetables.
  3. Allow vegetables to pickle. At least 20 minutes. Pickles will last up to one month in the fridge in an airtight container.
  1. To reduce the heat level, either reduce the amount of jalapeño added or remove seeds/white ribbing before slicing (or both!)
  2. The longer the pickles sit, the spicier they will get! Be careful 🙂
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As the LA County Fair draws near, it’s time to get all my entries in order! As some of you may know, I entered the fair last year and experienced a little bit of victory with my Spicy Dilled Beans. This year, the pressure is on to break the beginner’s luck! I am experimenting with a few new pickles and the one I’m the most excited about so far, are these beautiful spring onions that I spiced with chile de arbol and other pickling spices.

Ingredients (makes four 1 quart jars)
– 15-20 spring onions (rinsed, and tops left on and trimmed)
– 3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity) 
– 6 cups water
– handful of dried chile de arbol peppers
– 2 tablespoons pickling spice blend of your choice
– 4 tablespoons kosher salt
– 1 tablespoon aleppo pepper
– 1/2 cup sugar

1. Combine brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
2. Once brine is boiling, place onions into mixture in batches (don’t overcrowd! you want all the onions to be submerged in the liquid). Let each batch simmer for about 3 minutes or until onions just turn from green to a brown color.
3. Remove onions as they finish their simmer and place aside in a bowl. 

4. Once you have allowed the onions to cool enough to be handled, place them bulb down into your sterilized jars (go here on how to do this!). Be sure to get some of those peppers in there!
5. Pour hot brine left over in your pot over the onions leaving 1/4 headspace (using a measuring tool!)
6. Using your tool, remove the air bubbles by placing the tool up and down in the jar.

7. If you are planning to can your pickles, process them for 15 minutes. They will last up to one year on the shelf. 

If you simply would like to enjoy them right away, refrigerate them for a week before enjoying and enjoy before a month is up!



A couple weekends ago, some friends and I got together for an afternoon of learning how to make pickles and preserved foods, some bites to eat, and a little bubbly. As I’ve talked about before, I’ve gotten quite enthralled by the process and possibilities of preserving foods over the past year and half.

There is something so inherently rewarding about spending a day doing a project or craft like this–especially when it results in a seemingly endless supply of pickled goodness. Also, maybe it’s just me, but when I attempt to do these types of all-day projects on own, distraction is a lot more probable. 

Now, the downside of making pickled delights versus cooking or baking is that it is definitely delayed gratification. Therefore, making bites to eat during the process is a must. My friends did quite well–how beautiful are these little salmon and dill toasts? They went along with homemade dips and a cheese plate. There was also quite a bit of chopping and eating as we prepared to pickle–I may have eaten my weight in cucumber slices.

I taught the group through two recipes–Garlic Dill Cucumber Pickle Chips & Classic Italian Giardiniera (Italian Giardiniera is packed in vinegar unlike the Chicago style, which is packed in oil). Cucumber pickles are my, and maybe everyone’s, favorite type of pickle but the Giardiniera is delicious and is so fun to make because it’s so visually delightful in the jar.

Only a few of my hands were splashed repeatedly with hot water during the course of the day. Canning is a dangerous sport.


My favorite part about the photo above, is the part where we got super lazy towards the end and starting mixing all the leftover vegetables into one jar, despite the intended recipes. Hey, cucumber Giardiniera may become a new thing.

In the end, I think the four of us filled nearly 30 jars. We promise to share!