Death Pickles

I like my pickles strong. Like really strong. These pickles are designed for summer cookouts, to counteract all the meat and cheese and sugar. You can pickle just about anything, but squash and cucumbers are classics. Try pineapple, radishes of all kinds, and even green tomatoes. I like to slice soft watery vegetables like cucumbers on the thicker side for maximum crunch and flavor. They're called Death Pickles because Danielle can't stomach them and made many unmarryable faces.

Brine Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 big, long slices ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns

Vegetables to Pickle:

  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 small cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers or ⅓ hothouse cucumber
  • 1 large shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ jalapeño pepper


  1. Make the brine: Bring all of the brine ingredients to a simmer to dissolve the salt and sugar, then cool to room temperature.
  2. Pickle the vegetables: Slice the squash and cucumber ¼-inch thick. Slice the shallot about ¹⁄₈-inch thick. Thinly slice the garlic and jalapeño. Submerge in the brine for at least 4 hours. I like to keep pickles in a Chinese restaurant quart container, inverting once a day. Pickles will keep about a week in the fridge.