Johnny Miller
3 pints

When Joshua McFadden, the culinary whiz behind Ava Gene’s, a modern trattoria in Portland, Ore., was little, he’d go into his grandmother’s garden and dip just-picked pink rhubarb stalks into a pail of sugar for a snack. “Sugared rhubarb is the coolest thing,” says McFadden, whose aunt’s farm in Wisconsin inspired his love of vegetables. 

“That’s such a chef memory,” says Abbi Jacobson, the co-star, writer, and producer of the hit comedy series Broad City. “I did not have rhubarb as a kid.” Jacobson’s proudest childhood food moment stems from a home-economics class on pizza, which was made with the kind of packaged dough you whack against the kitchen counter to open. “I remember coming home from school and saying, ‘Mom! I know how to make pizza on a croissant!’ ”

VIDEO: Watch Broad City's Abbi Jacobson Learn to Pickle Vegetables


The actress has since developed a taste for fresh food, though she admits there’s typically not much in her fridge beyond avocados, grapefruit, hot sauce, and hard-boiled eggs. She’d cook more if she had time, but she’s been busy. Not only has Jacobson been working on Broad City’s fifth season this year, but she’s also channeled a ’60s-era Gloria Steinem for the spoof TV show Drunk History and taken on a dramatic role as the sister of a heroin addict (played by Dave Franco) in Netflix’s 6 Balloons.

Today, Jacobson is stepping out of her content-creator comfort zone to play sous chef to McFadden, as the duo pickle produce using recipes from his cookbook, Six Seasons: A Way with Vegetables. Under McFadden’s thumb, the beets, carrots, cauliflower, and fennel on display will become crunchy little flavor bombs. He likes to draw on nostalgic taste profiles, like the sweet-tart goodness of his sugared rhubarb, to transform humble farm-fresh fare into beautifully composed veggie-centric meals reminiscent of the Sunday dinners his family used to make. McFadden’s cookbook—a go-to resource for Jacobson—is an homage to these memories and celebrates ways to “eat the seasons” based on when produce is at peak freshness. McFadden envisions pickled delights not only as the perfect accompaniment to summer favorites like burgers and tacos but also as delicious stand-alone staples.

Credit: Johnny Miller

After mixing a brine solution of vinegar, salt, sugar, and hot water, the chef and comedy star fill mason jars with the prepped veggies and aromatics like orange rinds, coriander, chilies, rosemary, and thyme. “Pickled vegetables are super-easy to make, and it’s fun to add simple components that enhance the flavor,” McFadden says as they finish the recipe—a process that takes less than 10 minutes. Jacobson is wowed. “You know what?” she says, clutching a pretty container of rainbow carrots. “I would actually make this at home.”

Photographed by Johnny Miller. Fashion editor: Alexis Parente. On Joshua McFadden: A.P.C. shirt, FairEnds ball cap, his own jeans. On Abbi Jacobson: her own shirt, Madewell jeans. Plants provided by Flowers By Yasmine

For more stories like this, pick up the June issue of InStyle, on newsstands and for digital download now.

Credit: Johnny Miller

How To Make Pickled Vegetables

How to Make It

1. Put everything in a pot or big pitcher and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
2. Fill canning jars with the various vegetables, one type per jar, then top with aromatics (see below).
3. Pour the brine over the vegetables until completely covered and screw on the cap.
4. Taste the next day to see how the flavor and texture are developing; adjust by adding ingredients, if necessary. Refrigerate for up to two months. 
For Beets Halve beets (enough to fill a jar) and add 4 thyme sprigs.
For Carrots Cut the green stems of slender carrots to ¼ inch (enough to fill a jar), add 5 smashed garlic cloves, 2 dried chilies, 3 or 4 thyme sprigs, and 1 tbsp toasted coriander seeds.
For Fennel Halve and slice small fennel bulbs lengthwise (enough to fill a jar), add 5 smashed garlic cloves, 2 dried chilies, 3 strips orange zest, and 2 rosemary sprigs.

Cookbook Source

Six Seasons: A Way with Vegetables, by Joshua McFadden

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