14 Surprising Foods That Make Great Pickles

We've all had pickled cucumbers and perhaps green beans, but the list of foods you can pickle is practically endless!

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Did you buy some rock-hard avocados but don’t really feel like waiting days for them to ripen? Try pickling them! You can use pickled avocados anywhere you’d use fresh ones, from avocado toast to salsa for your tacos. (Look for more avocado inspiration here!)

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You won’t find pickled shrimp in many places other than the Southern states, and that’s a shame! These brined crustaceans are perfect for tossing into pasta dishes or salads–or eating out of hand as a snack.

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Orange Peel

If you happen to be wandering around South India, you’ll probably see pickled orange peel on offer; in America, it’s more rare. The tangy peel is actually full of vitamins and tastes great as an accompaniment for rice, among other things.

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Walnuts kernels on dark desk with color background, Whole walnut in wood vintage bowl


Pickled walnuts are a traditional English delicacy, but we don’t often see them in the US. (Weirdly enough, they turn black in the brine.) They make an awesome addition to a tomato salad, or served on a cheese plate with an English blue cheese.

Here are some more British foods Americans have been missing.

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Young spinach in a wooden plate
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Stems of Leafy Greens

The next time you chop up spinach for a salad, be sure to save the stems. These tough, bitter components of leafy greens pickle up beautifully and can be eaten plain or even tossed into a salad.

Need more ways to bring leafy greens into your diet? Here you go!

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Fresh and dried turmeric roots in a wooden bowl. Grey textile background.

Turmeric Roots

Turmeric is one of the most talked-about ingredients these days, and for good reason. Among other benefits, it’s been proven to help reduce inflammation. In its pickled form, turmeric roots are a magnificent accompaniment for a spicy curry dish. Test it out with one of our most flavorful curry recipes.

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fresh blueberries

Juicy Fruits

Pickled fruit isn’t a new thing, but blueberries, cherries and grapes are especially well-suited for it. Their burst of sweet juice mingles with the sour brine to create a unique flavor experience. Add pickled grapes or berries to anything from cocktails to baked brie to roasted chicken.

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Glass Jar with Pickled Radishes


Pickled radishes are common in a number of cuisines, including Korean and Mexican. The crunchy, tangy vegetables are ideal for topping your tacos, eating with Korean fried chicken or adding flavor to a banh mi sandwich.

For a bumper crop of radishes from your garden or the farmers market, here are some fresh radish recipes you might love, too.

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Garlic Cloves and Bulb in vintage wooden bowl
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We add garlic to many of our pickle brines for extra flavor, but have you ever tried plain ol’ pickled garlic? It loses its harshness and becomes an excellent addition to things like salad dressings and sauteed vegetables… and we wouldn’t judge you if you ate it straight from the jar!

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Pickled eggs used to be an ever-present snack at the local bar (and maybe they still are). Use them to make an extra-flavorful egg salad or batch of deviled eggs.

Test Kitchen tip: Adding a fresh beet to the pickling mix will give your pickled eggs the loveliest pink hue!

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Watermelon Rind

Don’t waste your watermelon rind! Simply peel off the outer green portion and pickle the remaining rind–you’ll find that it makes a wonderful complement to many meats. You can even wrap it in bacon and bake it for a flavor bomb of an appetizer! Here’s a great recipe to get you started.

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Pile of raw natural green tomatoes

Green Tomatoes

We’ve all had fried green tomatoes, but have you tried them pickled? They remain nicely crisp and readily take on the flavors of any spice or herbs you add. Use them on sandwiches or hot dogs in place of relish, or get fancy and use to garnish your next batch of Bloody Marys!

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Pumpkin (and Pumpkin Rind)

Pumpkins are very pickle-friendly–you can pickle the flesh and the rind! Spicing the pickled pumpkin with cinnamon and cloves will make it perfectly suited for the holiday table, and the pickled pumpkin rind makes an interesting and unexpected addition to an elegant charcuterie board.

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There is a popular condiment in Middle Eastern cuisine called amba, and it’s essentially pickled mangoes. These tangy morsels are used as toppings for falafel and other Mediterranean dishes. Here are some of our favorite Mediterranean recipes that might go well with pickled mangoes!

Grace Mannon
Grace learned a ton about the nitty-gritty of food and nutrition while earning her master’s degree in food science. She worked for a well-known baby food company and a company responsible for many favorite snack foods before transitioning to being a stay-at-home mom. She loves writing about complicated food science concepts in an understandable way and as a Taste of Home contributor, Grace covers a little bit of everything, from vintage recipes to must-have holiday foods and treats.