kale pik w. liqWe eat a lot of kale every summer. We cook it in just about every way possible. Our son even grilled kale leaves recently that were pretty good too. But, there is always a but; every time I clean kale and strip those leaves from the stems I wonder why the stems are always added to the compost bin. Recently while visiting our daughter we all found ourselves cooking in-between unpacking boxes from the recent move. I loved it! Our daughter was making lemon gelato, our son was pickling chard stems while he made homemade mayonnaise for fresh, deviled eggs, and even our six-year-old grandchild was making fresh guacamole. Heaven in a kitchen! The chard pickles looked really good and the next day they passed the taste test. Hmm, why not make pickles with kale stems? It makes perfect sense. Kale leaves are super nutritious. So I thought since the stems transport all those nutrients to the leaves, the stems have to be nutritious too. So I tweaked the ingredients our son used for pickled chard stems and here is Kale Pickles. These are so good.  These pickles are just calling out for a bloody Mary! You can just make them to enjoy the same day and put them in the refrigerator or you can process them as you would any other pickle. They are different, unique, and yes, good. They are sweet, savory and just right.

Kale Pickles

kale pik ingred14 – 18 kale stems, leaves removed

1 sweet, red pepper

4 cloves of garlic

½ medium white onion

4 small bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh dill

1-teaspoon red pepper flakes – optional


1-cup rice vinegar

1-cup apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1-teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons mustard seed

1-teaspoon ground ginger

1 level teaspoon turmeric

kp w:out liqCut the kale stems into 3-inch lengths. Core and seed the red pepper and cut into 3-inch lengths. The recipe will explain the steps for 4, half-pint jars, but you can just do this in a jar, or any glass container with a lid you have on hand if you will be eating them within 10 – 12 days. I have made this recipe in a large glass bowl and it was just as good as when made in jars. If using a bowl or other large container just place pickle ingredients in the container together. If using jars, stand your kale stems and pepper strips in half-pint jars; somewhat tightly; the stems and pepper strips should be ¾ of an inch from the top of the jar. Add one clove of garlic, a chuck of raw onion, and dill sprig to each jar. Add pepper flakes if you are choosing to use them – 1/4 teaspoon per jar.  In a pan on medium heat add all the brine ingredients except the sugar. Bring to a boil. Add the sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Carefully pour brine over pickle ingredients. If using canning jars, leave ½-inch space at the top of the jar. Add lids and rings and process 15 minutes. If using a bowl or other container, pour the brine over pickle ingredients. Stir and cover. Refrigerate 4 – 6 hours prior to eating. These keep about 10-12 days in the refrigerator.

If processing, check out the National Center for Home food Preservation’s website at



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