These ratatouille pickles are, as the name implies, made with traditional ratatouille ingredients including bell peppers, red onion, zucchini, and eggplant and are easy and unconventional pickles.
These ratatouille pickles takes the traditional ratatouille and slices it, dices it, deconstructs it, and reimagines it as pickles in a fashionably brilliant approach to Indian summer surplus.–Renee Schettler Rossi
- 4 cups wine vinegar (red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar or a combination)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 3 cups cold water
- 2 red onions cut into wedges (about six or so)
- 4 red, yellow or green bell peppers thickly sliced and seeded
- 2 firm zucchini unpeeled, thickly sliced crosswise into circles or lengthwise into thick spears
- 2 small firm eggplants unpeeled, halved, and cut into thick sticks
- 8 garlic cloves unpeeled, crushed lightly
- 4 rosemary or thyme sprigs or 5 bay leaves
- In a large nonreactive pot, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and water and slowly bring them to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. When the mixture begins to boil, add the vegetables, garlic, and herb sprigs or leaves and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and ladle the mixture into sterilized jars. Seal the jars according to manufacturer’s directions. (For further information, check out the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning.)
- Keep the pickles in a cool, dark place for up to 6 weeks. Once opened, refrigerate and use within a month.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These ratatouille pickles were delicious with hamburgers and would be great with other grilled meats as well. I didn’t process them, just stored them in the refrigerator. I especially liked the onions and the zucchini. Everything stayed crisp except the eggplant, which was a little chewy. I might leave that out next time.
This recipe makes a large amount of pickles, which isn’t readily apparent until you start chopping the vegetables. I washed and sterilized four 32-ounce Mason jars and two 16-ounce jars. I used the wide-mouth variety, which made getting the vegetables in the jar easy. I used half red and half white wine vinegar for my pickling liquid, and I used pickling salt, which I happened to have in the pantry.
I recommend using tongs to divide up the vegetables between the jars. I added a fresh sprig of thyme (my herb of choice) to each jar and then ladled on the hot liquid. After screwing on the tops, I let them cool upside down. The filled jars are quite lovely. I can’t wait to try them in 6 weeks!
Originally published October 22, 2019
Turning the jars upside down is not a safe canning practice and has not been for many years. You are not sealing the jars this way. And the vinegar should be 5% acidity to be used for canning. And per USDA rules, eggplant is not safe to can this way. To properly preserve these pickles and leave them on the shelf, they would need to be waterbathed.
Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention, and you are absolutely correct. The method of turning the jars is upside down is an older method that was often used for jams and jellies but which was also included in the original version of this pickles recipe. In theory, the idea behind this practice is that the heat of the contents would form the seal on the lid. But in practice, sometimes food particles would get trapped under the seal, preventing the vacuum from forming. Hence the recently revised USDA guidelines calling for the use of water baths.
And yes, the vinegar does need to be 5% acidity. The acidity of a vinegar can be checked on the label, although most commercial vinegars, except rice wine, fall within this level (which is why many recipes no longer specify the 5%). But you’re right, always best to be safe. Anyone seeking more specifics regarding safe canning practices can refer to their canning pamphlet at