In A Pickle

Quick-Pickled Apples and Pears

An easy, adaptable recipe for apples and pears that are sweet, salty, and ready to liven up a variety of meals

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Photos: Laura Vincent

Obsessed with pickles? So are we. In a new regular feature, I’m exploring different ways of making this delicious fridge staple so you can enjoy seasonal produce all year round.

This is a purposefully low-key recipe, borne from what was already in my kitchen. So, you may feel free to do the same with your own ingredients. The cloves and cardamom are the first thing you could kick out — replace them with peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, chili flakes, citrus peel, or if you’re stuck just leave them out altogether. Salt and sugar are pretty crucial to the proceedings, though you could use golden caster sugar or raw sugar instead of plain. The vinegar can be messed around with — apple cider vinegar obviously dovetails nicely with the apples themselves, but I had a greater quantity of white vinegar in the pantry, hence my proportions. Wine vinegar or white balsamic would also be lovely here. You can use all pears or all apples, and need hardly any of either to fill a jar — or if you’re overloaded with fruit you can double this to make a huge batch.

But let’s say you follow my recipe to the letter: the clean sharpness of the white vinegar soaks into the fruit, the gingery-lemony cardamom and warmth from the cloves lends elegance and comfort. Sweet, salty and dense, these apple and pear slices are perfect in a slaw, on a platter, or in a sandwich. They’re particularly begging to be paired with walnuts or pecans, and wouldn’t be out of place in a slow-cooked vegetable stew.

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Quick-Pickled Apples and Pears

Makes two jars, around 30oz in total depending on the size of your fruit — my apple was on the small side, but the pear was comically large.

  • 1 large, firm pear
  • 1 medium, crisp apple
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons non-iodized salt
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom pods
  1. Cut as much of the usable fruit as possible from the apple and pear into slices a couple millimeters thick and pack the slices into clean, sterile jars.
  2. Bring the vinegars, sugar, salt, and spices to the boil in a small pan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once it’s boiling, remove from the heat and carefully, slowly pour the liquid and spices into the jars until the fruit is completely submerged. Slide a skewer down the insides of the jars to release any trapped air bubbles, then fasten the lids.
  3. Once the jars are cool enough to handle, place them in the fridge overnight, by which point they’ll be ready to eat. Consume within a week.

Written by

Food blogger and author from New Zealand. Writing at; Twitter at @hungryandfrozen; and exclusive stuff at

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