pickled strawberry + beet salad with an herbed vinaigrette

Sometimes life gets busy. You know, real life. And, I'm okay with that. 

There are birthday parties, baby showers, visitors, weddings, places to go people to see ... and sometimes you might even throw a dinner party in there because things are not just busy enough.

As you can tell from my lack of posts over the past week, life has taken over recently. It's been all good and all fun things though. On top of all of the fun life events taking place right now, we moved ..... again. It was a good move though, and I think we are going to stay put for quite some time. 

But now the boxes are unpacked and life is slowing down a bit. I am finally getting a chance to spend more time in my {new} kitchen.

So when I got back into the kitchen, there was one thing I was dying to make. 

Pickled. Strawberries.        Yes. 

A few weeks ago Michael and I took a pickling and preserving class at the Stone Barns. I signed us up for this class for two reasons.

First, I have always wanted to delve into canning, but despite having read my fair share about it, I have always been incredibly intimidated and paranoid about all of the boiling and sterilizing involved. 

Second, I thought it would be really funny to see Michael take a class with all women, mostly over the age of 55, because let's face it, canning is far more attractive to women of older generations than mine. 

And, I just love any reason to go visit the Stone Barns. Well, I guess that makes three reasons.


The greatest takeaway from the class was that you do not have to go through the whole canning process to pickle or preserve your garden gems. You will need to keep whatever it is that you canned or preserved in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, but you do not need to worry about the sterilization process unless you want to store your preserves somewhere other than the fridge. 

Super valuable information. I can make pickles and not worry about all that boiling and canning? Yay! Although now I think I might even give it a go after seeing how easy it was.


So, what does this mean to you, or someone who wants to pickle something? It means it can be done, easily, and in about 10-15 minutes you can have yourself a pickle that can be enjoyed right away, or a preserve that can last about a year in the fridge. 

So strawberries might not be the first thing you would think to run off and pickle, but I've got to tell you, my first pickled strawberry made me really happy and excited.

It's sour, it's sweet, it's crazy good. Because of it's crazy sour sweetness, it goes so well with so many things. I'm always one to say that I don't like fruit in my salad, but a pickled fruit is certainly an exception. However, it's more than an exception in this case, this is going to be a new staple in my recipe book. 



pickled strawberry + beet salad with an herbed vinaigrette  

{The pickled strawberry recipe is adapted from a class I took recently at the Stone Barns }

A note about sugar and pickling: I decided to try this out using maple syrup in a smaller amount vs. a larger amount of granulated sugar, in hopes of making it a little lighter on the sugar. It definitely altered the taste and made it quite sour (as expected). Maybe a little too sour. I will give you both the maple syrup amount that I used and the white sugar and you can choose which is best for you. 

Enough salad for 4, with some leftover pickled strawberries to enjoy with different preparations


for the pickled strawberries:
3 cups of red wine vinegar 
3/4 cup of maple syrup OR 1.5 cups of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
3 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 bay leaf
4 cloves
3 lemon peel pieces (about 1" long)

approx. 2lb of fresh, ripe, organic strawberries (The fresher, the better. Freshly picked ones would work best) washed well + hulled

for the herbed vinaigrette:
1 clove of garlic, chopped
a handful of cilantro
a handful of basil
a few chives, chopped
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice 
1 tablespoon of avocado (optional, to make it slightly creamy)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil 

for the salad:
about 10 small beets, cleaned well and thinly sliced
several large handfuls of greens, I used arugula and spinach
optional garnish: a sprinkling of herbs such as chives, basil, and cilantro


Start by pickling the strawberries:

  • Place all of the ingredients in a large, heavy pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Place the hulled strawberries into a canning jar, or any jar with an air-tight lid. 
  • Pour the hot brine over the strawberries filling the jar to 1/4" before the rim. Make sure you get all of the spices, etc into the jar as well. 
  • Set aside and allow it to cool while you prepare the salad. 

Make the herbed vinaigrette:

  • Place all of the ingredients expect for the oil into a food processor. Pulse a few times and then while the food processor is running continuously add in the oil until it is emulsified and you have the consistency you like. 
  • Taste and adjust as necessary, but keep in mind the strawberries are a bitter component to the salad so do not add too much acidity. 
  • Set aside until you're ready to dress the salad. 

Steam the beats and prepare the greens:

  • Place the beets in a pot with a steamer basket and steam, covered for about 10 minutes, or until the beets are fork tender. 
  • While the beets are steaming, wash and prepare the greens. Place the washed greens into a bowl and toss with the a little bit of the dressing and any other add ins that you like. 

Assemble the salad:

  • Plate the dressed salad greens and add the beets on top and then the pickled strawberries. Sprinkle with some herbs and nuts if you like, a drizzle a little more of the vinaigrette over top. Serve immediately. 

Storing the pickled strawberries: 

  • Once the strawberries have cooled to room temperature, cover them and keep them in the fridge when you are not enjoying them. They will keep for a long time (around a year) as long as they are stored in an glass, airtight container in the fridge.