Pickling at the Roots

Words by Hannah Zisman  //  Photography by Conor McGlauflin

Why is a pickled cucumber called a pickle and every other pickled item called a pickled [insert pickled item]? How did a cucumber come to own such a broad term? For pickling is really just a method of preserving food by storing it in an acid solution like vinegar.

This is what I realized while browsing the Union Square farmers market in New York one winter’s day in a desperate search for    Kirby cucumbers. When I discovered that cucumbers were totally out of season (duh), my eyes were finally opened to the variety of things that could taste delicious doused in vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.

So go to your local farmers market, find out what’s in season, and well…just pickle it!


Rich and tangy, perfect in salads or as a solo snack

Rich and tangy, perfect in salads or as a solo snack


To roast the beets,  toss all of the roasting ingredients in a large bowl. Place in a foil pouch and roast in the oven for 40 minutes at 400°F. 

Remove the skin from the roasted beets and slice thinly. Arrange in 1-quart jars alternating layers with the onion. In a pot, boil the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water and fill the jars. Tightly seal the jars and refrigerate for 3 to 7 days before serving.

Roasting Ingredients:

4-6 medium beets

2 large shallots, peeled

2 sprigs rosemary

2 teaspoons olive oil

Pickling Ingredients:

Roasted beets

1 large red onion, frenched

1 cup tarragon wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water