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Pickled Swiss Chard Stems

['1 pound chard stems (from about 4 bunches), cut into 4" lengths', '1 small shallot, thinly sliced', '1/4 cup kosher salt', '2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds', '1 tablespoon caraway seeds', '1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar', '1/2 cup sugar']

Toss chard stems, shallot, and salt in a colander set in the sink. Let stand 1 hour. Rinse and drain well.
Meanwhile, toast mustard and caraway seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until mustard seeds begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Let seeds cool.
Bring vinegar, sugar, and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan; let cool slightly. Pour brine into jars. Let cool slightly, then cover and chill.
DO AHEAD: Pickles can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep chilled.
Pickled Green Papaya Use the same salting method and brine, but instead of chard stems and shallot, use 1 sliced seeded peeled green papaya (about 1 lb.). Omit mustard and caraway seeds, and use 2 red or green Thai chiles and one 1"-piece peeled turmeric or ginger, thinly sliced. Pickled Banana Chiles Use the same salting method and brine, but instead of chard stems and shallot, use 1 lb. fresh banana chiles (cut a long slit in each pepper to allow brine to penetrate) and 1 sliced peeled carrot. Omit mustard and caraway seeds, and use 1 garlic clove.

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