Our series “Whisk” offers sage advice on becoming a better home chef by using the best ingredients, tools, and techniques.
When you think of fruits and vegetables to pickle, pears may not be at the top — or even the bottom — of the list. But hear us out. Pickled pears are simple to make and, because of how uncommon they are, make for a fun surprise on any cheese platter, sandwich, or salad. They’re a fall treat that will steal the spotlight from all those other seasonal fruits.
And they’re easy to make. Just place thinly sliced pears in a glass jar and cover with a homemade brine of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Rather than using plain ol’ distilled white vinegar, this brine’s liquid base is apple cider vinegar, which gives the pears a delicious tang with just a hint of sweetness.
If you find yourself hosting an impromptu gathering, you can add pickled pears to several quick appetizers. Layer them on a sliced baguette and top with candied walnuts. They also melt exquisitely into a grilled cheese sandwich (we recommend using cheddar) and take a salad from boring to amazing in seconds. Yes, seconds — we timed ourselves.
- 4 Harry & David pears (peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick)
- 1 ¼ cups apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon pickling spice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- Divide the sliced pears among two 8-ounce canning jars. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to a boil on medium-high heat.
- Turn the heat to low and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard.
- Carefully divide the vinegar mixture between the two jars.
- Place the lid on the jars and refrigerate for 1 hour.