There’s fruit salad, and then there’s fruit salad. One bite of this pickled blackberry and grapefruit salad and you’ll know what I mean. Serve it as a refreshing first course, over greens for a light lunch, or drizzled with honey over creamy yogurt for breakfast. Yum.
I go into a sort of pickling frenzy once the warm weather hits. I like to do quick refrigerator pickles that take anywhere from a few hours to a day to be ready to eat. The process jazzes up raw veggies like Quick Pickled Rainbow Carrots, or, in this case, fruit. The spicy brine takes an already delicious berry and gives it a mysterious edge. I don’t do anything fancy, just brine them in cider vinegar, water, and a little bit of classic pickling spices.
Are you thinking dill pickles? Because that’s not it at all ~ these berries are fragrant with gorgeously warm spices like chilies, coriander, cumin, ginger, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, bay leaf, mustard, cloves and turmeric.
This pickled blackberry and grapefruit salad might seem like a novel combination, but don’t be afraid of it, it’s basically a fruit salad perked up with an extra tang and a lovely hint of spice. My Spicy Fruit Salsa has a similar flavor profile, and it’s one of my favorite ways to brighten up grilled meats and fish all summer long.
My pretty jar is made by the German canning company Weck. I collect all the shapes and sizes and use them for storage as well as canning.
Tips for making pickled blackberry and grapefruit salad ~
Choose large sized pink grapefruit for easier sectioning. Some stores sell them already prepped in the refrigerated section.
Keep leftover berries in the refrigerator for up to a week. Make sure the berries are submerged in the brine.
When you’ve eaten all the berries, don’t toss the pickling liquid, use it for more berries, or in salad dressings.
- 6 ounces blackberries, rinsed, plus 2-3 extra berries
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp pickling spice (find it in the spice aisle of your supermarket)
- 2-3 pink grapefruits, sectioned
- lime zest
- thyme leaves
- To make the pickled blackberries, carefully fit your berries into a jar, taking care not to bruise them. A wide mouthed canning jar works well. Reserve 2 or 3 berries for later.
- Heat the vinegar, water, and spices in a small saucepan until it comes to a simmer. Turn off the heat and let cool.
- Strain the brine, then crush 2 or 3 berries and stir into the brine. Pour the mixture over the berries, making sure all the berries are completely submerged. Add more water if necessary. Cover and let sit for 4 hours.
- Put the grapefruit sections in a serving bowl and add the pickled berries, along with a tablespoon or two of the pickling liquid.
- Serve with a garnish of lime zest and fresh thyme leaves if you like.
Make it your own ~
- Make it with other citrus fruit ~ I don’t recommend using white grapefruit, which would be too sour with the pickled berries, but you could use oranges, or blood oranges.
- Make it less tangy ~ use rice vinegar instead of the cider vinegar.
- Make it sweeter ~ add a tablespoon of sugar to the brine before heating it. You could also drizzle honey over the finished salad.
- Make it with other pickled berries ~ try strawberries or blueberries. I would halve the strawberries unless they are very small.
- Make your own pickling spice. Recipe here.
don’t forget to pin this pickled blackberry and grapefruit salad!
If you’re intrigued by the idea of pickling fruit, try these other recipes, like Vanilla Bean Pickled Strawberries, or Russian Pickled Cherries. Pickled fruit goes beautifully in green salads, too ~ try this Sriracha Glazed Chicken with Pickled Plum Salad or this Pickled Nectarine Salad with Burrata.