I didn’t think I over planted fennel. I only planted 10 plants but time got away from us and I only had used a couple of them. They were starting to bolt and I didn’t want to waste them so I decided on the hottest day of the year so far that I needed to pickle them as soon as possible.
Because it was so hot I decided that your standard pickles with the hot water bath just wasn’t going to happen. Our Wedgewood throws off some serious heat and we were out of propane for the outdoor burner. Refrigerator pickles, however, have minimal heat use so it really was going to be the best option. As long as we ate them up withing 3 months we wouldn’t have to worry about them spoiling.
Most people are turned off by the smell of fennel with is similar to black licorice. However I find when I cook it that taste and smell go away rather rapidly. The brine I made from this is very spicy so feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes. It’s also a bit sweet but not as sweet as bread and butter pickles.
- 16 cups trimmed and sliced fennel bulbs (a mandolin works best for this)
- 4 cups apple cider vinegar, 5% acidity
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 Tbs kosher salt
- 2 Tbs pickling spice
- 2 Tbs red pepper flakes
Pack the sliced fennel into sterile quart jars (makes about 3 quarts). Combine the rest of the ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Ladle hot brine over the fennel in the jars and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for 24 hours but best after 2 weeks. Enjoy!