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Peter Piper prepares for pickled peppers — or radishes

This week's recipes include salt-free dill pickles, pickled radishes, and pickled watermelon rind
From the Kitchen by Joyce Walter

The pickling season is here and homemakers will be shopping for equipment and ingredients to make those homemade pickles, whether they be from cucumbers, beans, carrots, watermelon rinds or beets.

This week’s recipes offer ideas for some uncommon pickling opportunities.

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Salt-Free Dill Pickles

3 1/2 lbs. small cucumbers, or large ones cut into small pieces
1/2 lb. pearl onions, or white onions cut into 1 inch chunks
12 stalks fresh dill with seed heads
9 cloves garlic, peeled, optional
1 qt. white vinegar
3 cups water
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tsps. pickling spice, salt-free
1 tbsp. red chilli flakes
1 tbsp. mustard seed
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
3 qt. jars, with lids, sterilized

Scrub cucumbers with a vegetable brush. If using large cucumbers, cut into smaller pieces, lengthwise. Rinse dill in water, shake off excess, and cut to fit into the jars.

Place vinegar, water and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

Divide all spices into equal amounts per jar and pack jars with layers of dill, garlic, onions, red chilli flakes, mustard seeds, peppercorns and cucumbers, beginning and ending with spices. Add 1 tsp. pickling spice to each jar.

Pour boiling brine into jars, filling to 1/2 inch of top. Seal with sterilized lids.

Cool then place jars in refrigerator to pickle. Do not open until one week has passed. Pickles can be stored in refrigerator for up to 8 weeks.

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Pickled radishes

1 lb. radishes, halved lengthwise
12 dill sprigs
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
5 garlic cloves, crushed, optional
5 chiles, halved
3 tbsps. kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup water
1 qt. jar, sterilized

Pack jar with radishes and dill.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, garlic, chiles, salt, sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a fast boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Pour hot brine over the radishes and dill. Seal and let cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Pickles will keep for up to 3 days in refrigerator.

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Pickled Watermelon Rind

9 cups water
4 cups watermelon rind
1 cup white vinegar
3 1/2 cups sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp. whole cloves

Remove red flesh from watermelon rind. Use a vegetable peeler to remove most of the green skin from the rind. Cut rind pieces into 1 inch chunks.

Bring 8 cups water and rinds to a boil over high heat. Boil 15-20 minutes until the rind is fork-tender. Drain and return rinds to saucepan.

Add remaining 1 cup water, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium and cook 35-40 minutes or until liquid has thickened slightly. Stir frequently.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to an airtight container and chill overnight before serving. Makes about 2 cups.

Joyce Walter can be reached at