Pickled Parsley or Sage 2.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Apr 17, 2019

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.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2 servings; makes about 2 cups of herbs and 2 1/2 cups of brine

  • 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 cupsfresh sage leaves, stemmed


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.

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.

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Recipe Source

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.

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