How to make the Perfect Crudités

It is no secret that we like our dishes a little on the dramatic side here at Pearl and Johnny. Why have a run of the mill vegetable tray when you can have an avant-garde crudités? Why confine yourself to the width of a serving platter, when you could make a work of art right on the counter or table? Wow your family and guests with a meal starter that is also a conversation starter. Follow along as we show you how easy it is to make the perfect crudités.

Fill a small bowl with dip.

Spinach and leek dip in wooden bowl.

Our organic dips were created to showcase the beautiful color palate of Mother Nature. Each mix has a unique color made from only real ingredients like organic spinach or organic beets. In this arrangement we chose the verdant green of our Spinach and Leek dip. Our Beetroot and Garlic dip is a soft magenta color that would also look beautiful here. Chili Lime is a muted orange and, like the cream color of Maple and Onion, would give this crudités a more neutral center. Remember this is art, not a science, so choose whichever color and flavor speaks to you! Or make all four and have a whole buffet of crudités.


Start with a base of greens. 

leafy greens and spinach and leek crudites

Symmetry is what gives our crudites artistry. Start by laying down greens like kale and Swiss chard evenly around your bowl. Fill in with smaller greens and start creating some textural interest with green vegetables that aren’t leafy like asparagus or broccoli. This will give you a base to work from as we move into using some more vibrant vegetables in our next step.

Add some color to the mix.

beautiful fresh vegetable crudites

Now is the time to add in some leaves with a little more color. Radicchio tucks into the base of green leaves perfectly. Get creative; check out the produce at your local market and see what looks fresh and beautiful. Purple broccoli, multicolored carrots, or yellow wax beans would all look beautiful in a display like this.

Now for the Finishing touches.

the perfect vegetable crutites

At this point it is fun to really get creative, adding texture and interest. Here we left our small bell peppers whole and cut our red cabbage cabbage along the equator to create these patterned “steaks.” This is also a great time to add a garnish to your dip. Here we saved a few of the pieces of chili from the mix before we stirred in the sour cream. You could also chop up your own pepper, herbs, or other garnish to give a nice finishing touch.

Snap a picture before the party starts, because this beautiful work of art will be in the stomach of all your happy guests in minutes. Everyone will enjoy trying each veggie and dip to see which combination is their favorite. When you are making appetizers, it is important that they are not only delicious, but that they help break the ice. This spread will do just that.

We love seeing your creations. Tag us in your crudités photo on Instagram and Facebook @PearlandJohnny for a chance to be featured on our page.

How to Garden Cucumbers for Pickles

For some of us, planting season is already here! For others, it is just a matter of weeks before the threat of frost has melted away, allowing seedlings to thrive outdoors. But, no matter where in the country you are, spring fever is surely taking hold. At Pearl and Johnny we love planting a garden as diverse as the types of produce we pickle. Here in the Ozarks we often get a good harvest of jalapenos, bell peppers, zucchini, and not the least of these, cucumbers!

Though we could go on and on about all the great produce we love to pickle (and we did in this latest blog), we will just focus on the king of the pickled vegetables: cucumbers! These crisp and gently flavored vegetables are still our favorite thing to pickle. They grow well in most climate in the US. So, follow along as we give you some quick tips on how to garden cucumbers to make the ultimate pickles!


What variety should I buy?

Any cucumber can be pickled; and in our experience, they are all pretty tasty! If you want to grow cucumbers specifically for pickling though, go for a smaller thicker skinned variety. Many of these varieties have the word pickle right in their name like The Boston Pickling Cucumber or The National Pickling Cucumber.

When should I plant cucumbers?

The ideal time to plant cucumbers actually has little to do with the calendar date and everything to do with temperature. First, you want to wait to plant your cucumbers until there is a good chance temperatures will not dip below freezing at night (which can cause frost). This differs drastically depending on where you live. Check out this map from The National Centers for Environmental Information to see when your area is usually clear of frost.

Date of the last spring freeze map
National Centers of Environmental Information by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Last Day of Spring Freeze Map.”


The other number to consider is the daily average temperatures. Cucumbers will do best if planted after the average highs are in the mid 70s. Once frosts are done with for the year, and it is looking like the average weather forecast is above 70 degrees, you should be good to get planting!

Where should I plant my cucumbers?

Cucumbers grow on a sprawling vine and require lots of space. The best way to ensure they have enough is to use a trellis. Make sure to plant them directly beneath the trellis so that they are able to crawl up it. If you do not use a trellis, plant the cucumber seedlings in a small mound of dirt at least 3 feet apart. This will ensure they have enough room to sprawl out which can prevent common diseases.

How and when should I water my cucumbers?

Water your cucumbers at the root, not on their leaves. The biggest reason for this is again preventing disease. It will also ensure that the roots get soaked. Make sure to water in the morning. This will make sure your cucumbers have enough moisture to bare the sun throughout the day and also will prevent them from staying soaked over night which can cause issues as well.

How do I harvest my cucumbers?

Though cucumbers can usually be harvested when they are 7-8 inches long, when harvesting for pickles, it is best to harvest them at about 4 inches long. Be sure to use a sharp knife or garden shears to harvest ripe cucumbers. Twisting or pinching the fruit off of the vine can cause unnecessary stress.

What do I do with all these cucumbers?

We are glad you asked! Now that you know how to garden cucumbers, it is time to learn all the amazing ways you can use them. Cucumbers will last in the fridge for about a week, but doing a quick pickle can help them last a couple extra weeks. Just follow the directions on the back of our 10-Minute Pickle Kits! You can also try one of our favorite recipes like our Marinated Cucumber Salad, Dill Pickle Dip, or Homemade Relish.

            Dill Pickle Dip       Organic homemade pickle relish with definition

Even with all these creative ideas you may still be left with more cucumber than your family can eat. The good news is that they make the perfect gift for your family, friends, and neighbors. Gift them already pickled or fresh alongside a Pearl and Johnny 10-Minute Pickle Kit. You could also whip up Pearl and Johnny Organic Dip Mixes and serve them with all your freshly picked vegetables. Can you say garden party !?

Our Mission and More About Us

We can still remember what grandma’s root cellar looked like at the end of an abundant growing season. It was so satisfying to see the walls lined with colorful jars of pickled and canned produce. At that time, growing your own food and preserving it wasn’t trendy, it was just what you had to do. Though, no one did it quite like Aunt Pearl and Uncle Johnny. They took it to the next level, and turned everything into a party! Their farm house was the gathering place where we have so many memories with family and friends with good wholesome food at the center of it all.  

Pearl and Johnny is a small family-owned company tucked away in the Missouri Ozarks. Our mission is to share our family’s time-honored traditions in a way that fits in with today’s busy lifestyle. Out of this 10-Minute Pickle Kits and our Organic dip & Spread Mixes were born!  We love using these products to showcase the natural flavor of fresh produce. They turn homemade veggies into colorful jars of pickles that are pretty enough to give away as gifts, and they turn a gathering of friends and some fresh veggies into a party full of memories. Pearl and Johnny helps keep the memory of a slower time alive, without actually having to slow down at all.

What makes our mixes different?

Most people’s reaction to pickling is that it looks way too hard, too time consuming, too confusing, and requires a bunch of equipment. Plus it seems like all of the recipes and products out there make huge batches! For us, the most shocking discovery we made in our journey to finding the perfect pickle was that none of the “dill” pickles at the store actually had dill in their ingredients. 

We were determined to figure out how we could make pickles in minutes, just a jar or two at a time, with real honest ingredients. Organic, non-GMO ingredients only. If the label says dill, the pickle mix has actual dill in it.  If the label says jalapeno, you better believe there’s going to be a kick from some real jalapeno. And no sneaking in things you wouldn’t want or expect in your pickles either.  Yellow #5 or polysorbate 80 anyone? No thank you! We realized we had to make pickle kits, because we can’t go back. Seriously. Tried it. Can’t do it.

Our Organic Dip Mixes were inspired by the fact that real food is beautiful. We wanted each dip to be surprisingly different in color to showcase Mother Nature’s amazing pallet. These fun hues are completely natural, coming from things like organic beets and organic spinach. Plant based foods in their most whole state are not only gorgeous and good for you, they also taste best. Our dip mixes make a super easy appetizer that is not only a crowd-pleaser, but a conversation starter.

Keep in touch with us on social

How are you using Pearl and Johnny products to create new traditions? For a chance to be featured on our story, tag us @PearlAndJohnny in photos showing how you are using our products.

The Best Pickle Flavor Combinations

Making your own pickles means you can be as creative as you want. Between the dozens of common types of vinegar, an infinite variety of produce, and our four exciting flavors of 10-Minute Pickle Kits, the possibilities are truly endless. We usually start with the neutral flavor of white distilled vinegar, but you can swap in a different vinegar for a whole other layer of flavor to experiment with. The following combinations are some of our staff favorites, and we hope they inspire you to get your own creative juices flowing. We can’t wait to hear which combo is your favorite!

Dill-icious 10-Minute Pickle Kit

Okra: Because of it’s unique flavor and texture, pickled okra has quickly become one of our all time favorite pickled vegetables. It is best pickled with our Dill-icious Pickle Kit. We like to eat these as a stand alone snack; they really don’t need anything else!

Cabbage: Pickled cabbage, AKA sauerkraut, usually takes upwards of 20 days to prepare. Which is 20 days longer than we can wait when we are craving it! On the other hand, our Quick Kraut recipe is way better than the jarred stuff at the store and only takes minutes!

Vegetables that work best for pickling, cabbage

Red onions: Dill-icious pickled onions are the ultimate condiment. Their crunchy texture and acidic flavor perfectly cuts through meaty sandwiches like pulled pork or a Reuben. Top everything from tacos to avocado toast with these beauties for an eye catching garnish. We prepare ours with red wine vinegar to give them extra color and flavor. You could also pair white onions with malt vinegar for an English spin on your onions.

Fire and Spice 10-Minute Pickle Kit

Vegetables that work best for pickling, Radishes

Bell peppers: Fire and Spice pickled bell peppers are full of that sweet heat that has us going back into the jar again and again. They pair perfectly with any of our Organic Dips Mixes.

Radishes: Mexican cuisine often garnishes a spicy dish with fresh radishes to cool the mouth. This hot and cool combo is what makes Fire and Spice pickled radishes so hard to stop eating. In addition, pickled radishes turn the brine a fun red color, and their normal white flesh turns pink!

Broccoli: We can certainly all agree that broccoli is super good for us; likewise, apple cider vinegar is rumored to have so many health benefits; in addition, spicy foods tend to speed up your metabolism. All that being said, we aren’t sure if there is anything as healthy, and delicious, as Fire and Spice pickled broccoli made with apple cider vinegar. Bonus points for topping a salad with these jewels. 


Jalapeño Horseradish Pickle Kit

Green beans with asparagus: With their subtle flavor and crunchy texture, green beans and asparagus are the perfect match for our Jalapeño Horseradish flavor. So, why not pickle them right in the same jar? They make the perfect unexpected garnish for a bloody Mary.

Cauliflower: AKA the chameleon of the veggie world. For example, they are the perfect canvas for a bold flavor like Jalapeño Horseradish. We suggest using white wine vinegar which is more subtle and keeps the bold flavor of the mix at the forefront.

Jars of pickled cauliflower, spring onion, carrots, and beets created with Pearl and Johnny's Pickle Kits.

Bell pepper with cucumber and onion: Pickling chunky pieces of bell pepper, cucumber, and onion together in the same jar creates a tasty piece of art. This combination is so colorful and packed with flavor. It is delicious with our Jalapeño Horseradish Mix, or any one of our four flavors.


Sweet Dreams 10-Minute Pickle Kit

Grapes: Okay, we know this sounds crazy, but stay with us! When pickled with Sweet Dreams, and swapping out champagne vinegar for white distilled, pickled grapes strike the perfect balance of sweet and savory. They are both elegant and unexpected. 

Vegetables that work best for pickling, grapes

Ginger: Stuff your jar with very finely sliced fresh ginger (bonus points if you grab young, pink ginger from your local Asian market) and pickle with Sweet Dreams, replacing white vinegar with rice wine vinegar. Your friends will be so impressed!

Jalapeños: We are obsessed with homemade pickled jalapenos. They are perfect on top of nachos! Check out our recipe for Game Day Ready BBQ Nachos to learn a couple tricks on how to prepare these sweet and spicy morsels. 

Think Outside the Cucumber

Wondering which type of pickle is our favorite? Honestly, even at Pearl and Johnny we tend to reach for the trusty cucumber more often than not! Pickled cucumber may not be unexpected, but the flavor certainly is when combined with our four unique spice mixes. But don’t stop there! The best part about making homemade pickles with Pearl and Johnny is that you get to put your own creative spin on every jar. Through trial and error, we have found these to be some of the vegetables and vinegars that work best for pickling. We hope this gives you a jumping off point to try your own new and exciting combinations. Comment below and share your favorite creative pickling combo!

Tag a picture of your pickles with @pearlandjohnny on Instagram for a chance to be featured in our story.