Sichuan Five Spice Pickled Apples
Makes about 3 cups.
Five Spice is a Chinese blend that‘s traditionally used in braised dishes. Our version combines sweet spices — star anise, cassia, coriander, and cloves — with the exciting finish of Sichuan pepper.
In these pickles, tart, sweet, and spicy flavors pair well with apples, which share those flavor notes. Super easy to make, you’ll enjoy these pickled apples with savory dishes, from grilled cheddar sandwiches to pork chops.
2 firm, crisp apples, such as Pink Lady, Pippen, or Ginger Crisp
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons Sichuan Five Spice blend
4–6 tablespoons Demarara sugar
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
Wash a wide-mouth quart jar and its tight-fitting lid with hot soapy water. Set aside.
Make the brine by combining the vinegars, salt, spices, sugar (using the smaller amount for very sweet apples), and 1 cup of water in a small sauce pan. Lightly crush the peppercorns and add them to the pan. Set pan over medium high-heat, boiling the brine for 2 minutes.
While the brine heats, prep the apples. Peel and core the apples, then cut into thinnish slices (about an 18” thick). Put the apples into the jar (you’ll have extra room and could add another apple, if you’d like).
Pour the hot brine over the apples in the jar. Put the lid on the jar and tighten it down. Let the brine cool to room temp, transfer the jar to the fridge. Let the pickles rest in the fridge for at least eight hours, so that all the beautiful flavors can fully develop.