The Holy Trinity Of Bloody Mary Toppers

Update: This recipe won a 1st place Blue Ribbon at the 2013 Arizona State Fair in the Pickles, Relishes, and Spiced Fruits category.

After I made my Dilly Beans I got some feedback. “Put them in a Bloody Mary” they said. “The spicier the better” they said. “And add some pickled asparagus and pickled Brussels sprouts too!”

I thought this would make a wonderful idea to bring to a holiday party. Some mixer, vodka, and a variety of pickled vegetables and olives as toppers. But the idea of toting several quart jars around with me in December wasn’t appealing. Then it hit me. Why not do them in the same jar?

I started reading the NCHFP’s directions on pickling each of the individual vegetables. The real difference was that asparagus and brussels sprouts are processed for 10 minutes whereas the beans are only processed for 5. So I did some asking around and found someone who said that they processed their dilly beans for 10 minutes and they still come out crunchy. And with that was born the idea for the holy trinity of Bloody Mary toppers. But the idea of those three things hanging out in a jar together seemed awfully green to me. So while I was at the store I picked up those miniature red, orange, and yellow peppers as well as purple pearl onions.

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Bloody Mary Pickle Mix
Asparagus
Green Beans
Brussels Sprouts
Mini Sweet Peppers
Pearl Onions
Garlic
White Vinegar
Pickling Salt
Water
Dill
Black Peppercorns
Mustard Seed
Dried Red Chiles
Red Pepper Flake

I decided to go with the same brine and seasonings as my Dilly Bean recipe, except that I also add mustard seed to the jars.

Let’s start with the Brussels sprouts. First off, did you know they grow like this?

20121201-214458.jpg I never really thought about or imagined what Brussel sprouts look like as they grow, but I guess I thought it was more like tiny cabbages coming out of the ground. Turns out they grow on gigantic stalks that look like DNA. My wife picked up two of these stalks to use for Thanksgiving. It turns out that was twice as much as we needed so we had one left for this project. She told me ahead of time that she’d started by cutting the little sprouts off of the stalk. However she quickly discovered that simply snapping them off was much quicker and more efficient. So if you buy your sprouts like this, simply start at the bottom and snap them off, working your way around to the top.

20121201-214745.jpg These bad boys are going to be cut, blanched, boiled in brine, and then sitting in a jar for who knows how long. So you want healthy, tight, clean little sprouts. I started by trimming the stem just a little bit and then pulling off any leaves that weren’t firmly wrapped around the sprout or had blemishes. Then I sorted them into two piles, big and small. I cut all the big ones in half so that their total size were about equal.

20121201-215040.jpg Get a pot of water boiling and drop your sprouts in. Set a timer for four minutes. Blanching helps start the cooking process to make them tender, improves the color, and can help kill harmful bacteria. After four minutes immediately remove them and place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

20121201-215203.jpg For directions on how to blanch the pearl onions see my entry on pickled beets.

Get an assembly line going for your jars. Put the dill, garlic, black peppercorns, mustard seed, red pepper flakes, and dried red chili in each jar. Then start working on your Tetris skills. Each jar needs asparagus, green beans, brussels sprouts, mini sweet peppers, and pearl onions.

20121201-215610.jpg I found it easiest to stack the very vertical beans and asparagus against one side of the jar and then fill up the remaining space with the oddly shaped items. The onions and garlic fill the little recesses left over. Try to get a fairly even mix of vegetables in there so that the last person to the jar isn’t stuck with four green beans and a half of a brussels sprout.

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20121201-215813.jpg Follow the directions from the dilly bean recipe to make your brine. Pour your hot brine over the vegetables. Add your clean lid, clean ring, finger tighten it, and place into a water-bath canner.

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Process for 10 minutes. Once the time is up remove the jars carefully and set them on a tea towel or cutting board where they can have a chance to cool slowly and undisturbed.

20121201-220102.jpg And there you have it. First off, these are some of the coolest looking jars that I’ve ever made. Second I think they’ll do well as gifts or as favors to the host or hostess of a holiday party that you are attending. Since they are pickles remember to make them three weeks ahead of the date that you need them so they have time to brine. Also my peppers are desperately trying to float to the top. I found out afterward that to avoid this you can take a small knife and cut one or two slits and each pepper. This will allow the air to escape and the pepper will suspend in the liquid.

Set this jar out with some picks and a bowl of olives and your guests have their choice of what to place on their Bloody Mary. Alternatively this would also make a good accompaniment to a cheese or antipasto platter.

Do you have a different combination of pickled vegetables you enjoy? What are your favorite Bloody Mary toppers? Let me know.

Happy canning.

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16 Responses to “The Holy Trinity Of Bloody Mary Toppers”


  1. 1 Beth Richards December 2, 2012 at 6:13 am

    We pickle the brussel sprouts and call them frog balls, people love the name and of course they are very good! Okra would be a good addition to your blody mary toppers! Love your idea and will do some next summer. Love your site!

  2. 2 DebBlee December 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    great idea! looks SO delicious – sure would make for an AMAZING antipasto =D

  3. 3 Jimmie Tinius December 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Somehow I never saw this side of you when you were sliding down the home made water slide at Yonah View.Aunt Jimmie and Uncle Richard

  4. 5 Lisa January 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Do you blanch the asparagus, green beans, or mini sweet peppers? I’ve pickled green beans and asparagus but I always blanch them first and then shock them in ice water. Many years ago I read that blanching stops the growing process and inhibits bacterial growth. Also, can you add whole button mushrooms to this mix?

    • 6 masonjarsandmixingbowls January 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      I don’t blanch the beans or asparagus because I want them to stay crispy. I made over 110lbs of Dilly Beans this year and don’t blanch any of them. The Brussels sprouts need to be softened up a bit.

      Mushrooms should be okay since this is a high acid brine. Please know that it is never safe to can mushrooms in a water bath unless they are pickled.

  5. 7 Lisa January 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    This is good information to know. How about the sweet peppers, do you blanch them? And if I do add mushrooms, should I blanch them first?

  6. 9 Lisa January 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Ok, I’m gonna try this this spring when the asparagus and beans are fresh. One more question – you said the only thing big enough to require blanching but your instructions include a link to blanching the pearl onions. Is this just to get the skins removed before canning?

  7. 13 kaymac13 May 8, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Reblogged this on Legacy of Pretty and commented:
    I have got to try this…all of my favorite things in one. I would eat this by itself

  8. 14 Andrea August 9, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Thank you Thank you Thank you! I have been looking online for days for someone who has done this because no one in my local area has ever put together a pickled medley like this. My plan is to make bloody mary baskets for Yule gifts. We are going to distill our own vodka and I’ll make up some yummy tomato-y goodness for the mix, add some pretty sticks and straws and voila! From the info here I can derive exactly the process I need to make this part of this project work :)

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