Harvesting Alaska: Bullwhip Kelp Pickles

Kelp pickles, or kelples as my hubby calls them, are an unexpected and tasty adaption to my spicy pickle recipe, detailed here.

Since the hubs is a boat captain in Prince William Sound, I have plenty of access to various seaweed, but I prefer Bullwhip kelp. Interesting fact, the scientific name is Nereocystis, and is Greek for mermaid’s bladder. Which is probably why I like it so much… such a delightful name!


Kelp Pickles © Nicole Geils

3 1/4 c. Bullwhip kelp, cut into 1/4″ rings
3 1/4 c. jalapeños, sliced
4 cloves garlic, quartered
1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 heaping tablespoons coarse salt
2 c. ice cubes
3 c. vinegar, cider or white
2 1/4 c. cane sugar
1 T. whole mustard seeds or dry ground mustard
3/4 t. celery seed
3/4 T. while black peppercorns
1 T. turmeric
1 T. red pepper flakes


To draw out excess liquid and increase crunch factor, toss kelp and onion with salt in a large colander. Add ice and toss again.


Place over a bowl, and refrigerate, tossing occasionally, for 3 hours. Drain. Rinse well, and drain again.

Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, and red pepper flakes to a boil in a large saucepan. Caution, this will make the entire house smell like vinegar.

Kelp Pickles © Nicole Geils

Tightly pack jars with kelp, onion, jalapeños, and garlic.

Kelp Pickles © Nicole Geils

Ladle pickle brine into packed pint jars, leaving about 1/4″ headspace.

Kelp Pickles © Nicole Geils

Wipe rims of jars with a clean, damp cloth; cover tightly with new sterilized lids and screw tops. Using tongs or a jar clamp, transfer jars to a rack in a large canning pot filled with hot water.

Cover pot and bring to a rolling boil. Process for 10 minutes. Remove jars from hot water and allow to cool. Press down on each lid. If lid pops back up, it is not sealed; refrigerate unsealed jars immediately. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Remember, the kelples will need time to cure and infuse with flavor… so wait at least a month to try them.

Happy Pickling!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s