This brine mimics the taste of good store-bought relish and helps the herbs retain their brightness. Keep the parsley on the stem, and pull off leaves as you need them. Use the pickled herbs in salads, sandwiches, couscous and meatball mixtures.

MAKE AHEAD: The brine can be refrigerated up to 1 week in advance. The herbs need to be refrigerated in an airtight container for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 weeks. They may darken over time, but that will not affect their flavor.


  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seed
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley (on the stem) OR 2 cups fresh sage leaves, stemmed

Step 1

Combine the vinegar, sugar, water, salt, garlic, mustard seed, crushed red pepper flakes and coriander seed in a small saucepan. Cover and bring just to a boil over high heat, then immediately turn off the heat; let sit (steep) until cool. Transfer to a 1-quart container, without straining.

Step 2

To pickle the herbs, rinse them first in plenty of cold water, then plunge them into the cooled brine, making sure the leaves and stems, if using, are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.

The brine recipe is based on one from John Broening, when he was chef at Spuntino in Denver; otherwise, adapted from “The Nimble Cook: New Strategies for Great Meals That Make the Most of Your Ingredients,” by Ronna Welsh (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019).

Tested by Andy Sikkenga and Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to

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The ingredients were too variable for a meaningful nutritional analysis.