Quick Pickled Strawberries are a fabulous and easy treat. Unexpected and fresh, serve in any tossed green salad or serve with cheese and crackers or charcuterie board.
When we think of eating strawberries we usually picture that classic sweet bite that signals the peek of summer and all things that can be made with these jewels- Hello strawberry shortcake, jam, ice cream, or just washed out of the garden. But most of us don’t think of tossing strawberries in a pickling brine. I sure never did but was instantly intrigued the first time I saw a recipe in an article from Bon Appetit. I was instantly drawn in because the recipe is beyond simple and the pickled strawberries looked so pretty in the clear glass jar.
Pretty much everyone loved my first try at the briny strawberries; I took my first bottle up to our family’s cabin and we didn’t even get around to serving them with accompaniments or on a salad. Forks in hand, we all just finished them off. After making them a couple of times, I tweaked the original recipe just to play around and based on the raves I got from those who tried both batches, the recipe you’re getting today is that much better. One friend even sent me a picture of her empty container within five minutes after receiving it that she and her six year-old son devoured, with the caption “obsessed”. I think we have something here. 😉
Before you begin-
- Sugar: I increased the sugar from the original recipe by two tablespoons. If you’re looking for as little sugar as possible, feel free to decrease the sugar, but the slight increase helped to maintain the natural sweet integrity of the strawberries.
- Heatproof jars: Canning (mason) jars work very well in the recipe but you can use empty mayo jars or the light, too. Anything that is safe for pouring the hot brine into with a tight fitting lid will work. The original recipe called for a quart jar for one pound of strawberries. You can use pint jars to make smaller batches for sharing, etc. I distributed one batch between four pint jars.
- Vinegar: The recipe calls for white balsamic vinegar. In my area, this is not the easiest vinegar to find, however Trader Joe’s brand is my favorite because it’s clear in color and reasonably priced. The only other brand I found at supermarkets was Alessi. If you use the Alessi brand, you’ll find it’s a little golden in color and stronger tasting than the Trader Joe’s version. I would increase the water by a few tablespoons in the recipe with the Alessi (I mention this in the printable recipe for you). If you cannot find white balsamic vinegar at all, you may substitute white wine vinegar. Do NOT use regular Di Modena balsamic. It’s too dark and heavy for this recipe.
- When to eat the pickled strawberries: The pickled strawberries are ready to eat about an hour after they’re placed in the refrigerator to chill but can sit in there for up to five days before serving. The longer they’re in the fridge, the strawberries will become a lighter pink and will be a little softer texture. Still fabulous but if you’re also REALLY interested in aesthetics, serve them within a few hours of chilling.
- Strawberry Vinegar: After you’ve eaten the strawberries out of your batch, you can actually throw in another good amount and you’ll have pickled strawberries again with almost no effort. AND whatever you do, don’t throw out that beautiful pink vinegar. Add it to your next salad dressing recipe for a perfect strawberry vinaigrette (I share a quick recipe for this in the printable below also).
If you’re serving the pickled strawberries in a salad, let me recommend pairing some fresh blueberries for a nice color contrast. The other salad ingredients that worked particularly well were red onions, crumbled blue cheese or Gorgonzola, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. And even though we loved the strawberries in the salad, overwhelmingly, most of my tasters preferred them with a slice of blue cheese on a cracker to get the best benefit of the combination of pickled strawberries, sharp cheese, and good crunch from toasted crackers.
However you serve them, pickled strawberries are gorgeous, intriguing, and mostly easy. Take a batch to your next barbecue or make some for yourself and just dig in with a fork. If you try them, I’d love to know what you think and how you served them.
- 1 pound strawberries, ripe but firm. Hulled and halved if large
- 1 1/2 cups white balsamic vinegar. May use white wine vinegar if cannot find white balsamic
- 6 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2/3 cup water
- Place strawberries in a 1-qt. or two 1-pint heatproof jars. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and ⅔ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour over strawberries. Let cool; cover and chill.
- Ready to serve in one hour but the pickling intensifies over several days. They're equally delicious either way. If appearance matters, the strawberries will start to lose their bright color after 24 hours but are still perfectly fine.
- After the strawberries are gone, you can refill the vinegar with more strawberries for another batch. Also, the vinegar from the pickled strawberries can be substituted like any vinegar in a homemade salad dressing.
- The pickled strawberries are good for any use you can think of; serve the strawberries with a good Gorgonzola/blue cheese on little multi-grain toasts or favorite crackers; in any tossed green salad for tang and color; eat just plain out of the jar!
- Though the recipe calls for ripe strawberries, lighter pink strawberries can also be used in the recipe with good success.
- If using Alessi brand white balsamic vinegar, increase added water in the recipe by 3 tablespoons.
- If you cannot find white balsamic vinegar, you may use white wine vinegar. Do NOT use regular dark colored balsamic as it is too intense for this recipe.
- Here are some ingredients to make a quick strawberry vinaigrette using the leftover strawberry vinegar-
- 1 cup strawberries, stemmed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 5 tablespoons leftover strawberry vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit.