Sponsored Post: Crunchy, Delicious Pazazz Apple Pickles

You'll wonder how you ever lived without these pickled apples topping a sandwich.
You’ll wonder how you ever lived without these pickled apples topping a sandwich.

Sure, back in the day, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

But today’s more learned Peter Piper would surely pick a peck of pickled apples instead.

Especially in the form of these additive “Quick Bread-And-Butter Apple Pickles” that are made with Pazazz apples, that brilliantly ruby red variety with flashes of yellow-green, an arresting crunch, and a burst of sweet, tangy juiciness.

This snappy, late-season apple that’s descended from the popular Honeycrisp, is at its flavor peak now through June. Lucky for you, Pazazz apples are easy to find at Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons.

February is an especially appropriate time to indulge in them, too, because it’s National Cancer Prevention Month. Pazazz has partnered with the American Institute of Cancer Research to promote the benefits of a diet rich in foods high in fiber and antioxidants such as fresh apples that are thought to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

When enjoying apples, don’t toss the peel, a valuable prebiotic that induces the growth of good-for-you microorganisms to ensure a healthy gut.

Late-season Pazazz apples to enjoy now.
Late-season Pazazz apples to enjoy now.

Indeed, the flesh and peel star in this easy-as-it-gets pickled apple recipe. When I received a sample of Pazazz, I wouldn’t wait to highlight them in this genius recipe by Amy Traverso, food editor of Yankee Magazine.

It’s from her cookbook, “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2020), a must-have for any apple aficionado.

As she notes, red-skinned apples make for the prettiest pickles because of their rim of deep color.

A mandoline makes quick work of thinly slicing the apples, English cucumbers, and shallots that go into this pickle mix. Just be warned that if you have very fresh shallots, your eyes may start to water as you slice them ever so finely.

Next, whisk together rice vinegar, water, honey, and granulated sugar, and pour over the apples, shallots, and cucumbers, while snuggling in a cinnamon stick and sprig of fresh tarragon. Nope, no heating of the vinegar solution is required, either.

You don't even have to heat up anything to make these easy apple-cucumber-shallot pickles.
You don’t even have to heat up anything to make these easy apple-cucumber-shallot pickles.

Let everything sit for 30 minutes before using — then let your imagination take hold on ways to use these crisp, refreshing, sweet, and mildly piquant pickles that taste far less salty than most. The apples lend an unexpected burst of wine-y fruitiness, with the shallots offering up a contrasting savory touch.

Crunchy, sweet, and lightly pickled tasting.
Crunchy, sweet, and lightly pickled tasting.

They proved a perfect topper for a ham and melted cheddar sandwich, with the pickled apples beautifully complementing the smokiness of the ham.

The pickles also would be a fabulous garnish for grilled salmon in much the same way as mango salsa. Or swap out the usual pickled carrot-daikon blend for this instead on a banh mi to really shake things up.

The pickles would be a fun little side to Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas porchetta, too. Or the ideal condiment for chicken or pork burgers or Italian sausages.

Dig in for a true taste sensation.
Dig in for a true taste sensation.

The pickles keep for about two weeks in the fridge, taking on more flavor as time goes by, while still maintaining quite a bit of crispness.

No doubt, after one batch, you’ll be hooked, and hankering for a full peck of pickled Pazazz.

So delicious that you'll want to nibble on these pickles even just on their own.
So delicious that you’ll want to nibble on these pickles even just on their own.

Quick Bread-and-Butter Apple Pickles

(Makes about 4 cups)

1 large seedless (English) cucumber, unpeeled

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 large firm-sweet apples such as Pazazz (about 1 pound total), unpeeled and quartered lengthwise

2 medium shallots

1 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 sprig fresh tarragon, cut into 4 pieces

First, prep your cucumbers: Cut off the ends and discard, then slice on a mandoline. Put in a colander and toss with the salt. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prep the apples: Trim the seeds and core from each apple quarter, then thinly slice on the mandoline. Slice the shallots on the mandoline as well, then put in a medium bowl with the apples.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, honey, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon stick and tarragon, and pour the mixture over the apples and shallots.

Rinse the cucumbers well and lightly blot dry (still in the colander) with paper towels. Add the cucumber slices to the bowl with the apples and stir well. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Note: Feel free to experiment with flavorings, such as subbing the tarragon and cinnamon stick for fresh lemon verbena and a lightly bashed lemongrass stalk instead.

Adapted from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” by Amy Traverso

More Recipes Using Pazazz Apples to Enjoy: Williamsburg Wrapples

And: Apple Beehive

And: Cheese and Apple Focaccia

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