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2017 Zlupko Family Cook Off Ends in Tie

The fourth annual Zlupko Family Cook Off ended in a tie with Health-O-Rama attendees finding it difficult to select one Zlupko Family Member’s Pickled Summer Harvest Vegetables over the other.

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2017 Zlupko Family Cook Off Ends in Tie

Published: September 29, 2017

Dr. Michael Zlupko kicked off the event sharing with the enthusiastic crowd his brine ingredients and cooking methods. Next, he shared his tips on using the brine to pickle and his famous pickled red onions. Dr. George Zlupko began his presentation with an unexpected educational presentation on the history of pickling. Following his seminar, Dr. Zlupko shared his brine recipe and pickling techniques using summer vegetables. He also explained the importance of presentation of the final pickled produce.

Family Cook-off pic-1

Following their presentations, all the attendees were invited to sample both Doctors’ pickled vegetables, but not before Dr. Michael Zlupko commented that after listening to his father’s Pickling 101 it appeared that someone was busy Goggling the history of pickling while he was busy seeing patients!

After the sampling was done with lots of complements for both Doctors’ original recipes and even seconds of samplings, voting began. It took several rounds of voting before declaring the contest a tie. 

The Zlupko Family Cook Off is an annual event held in conjunction with Health-O-Rama, a health and wellness expo sponsored by the Lung Disease Center of Central Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Altoona Mirror. Watch for next year’s date and time for the Fifth Annual Zlupko Family Cook Off and be sure to attend.

Dr. George M. Zlupko's True Pickle Experience Recipe


  • 1 quart Mason jar
  • Pot, large enough for liquid
  • 4 cups cauliflower, cut
  • 4 cups carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 cups red/green peppers, chopped
  • 4 cups vinegar
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling/canning salt
  • Peppercorns, to taste
  • Garlic powder or cloves, to taste
  • Coriander seed, to taste
  • Bay leaves, ground, to taste



Start by chopping, cutting, and slicing your vegetables. Take your Mason jar and pack it full of your vegetables to the top. In your pot, add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, garlic powder or cloves, coriander seed, and ground bay leaves. Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiled, remove from heat and slowly pour over the vegetables until the liquid comes to the top.

Loosely screw on the jar’s lid and leave to cool. When cooling, the liquid will shrink which will help suction the lid to the jar. Periodically tighten the lid until the jar is cool enough, then tighten completely. Place your jar in the refrigerator to pickle, and enjoy after 24-48 hours.

*These pickles last for up to one month in the refrigerator.

Dr. Michael Zlupko's Master Recipe for Pickled Vegetables


  • Glass jar (any size, kind)
  • Measuring cup
  • Pot, big enough for amount of brine
  • Vegetables, any variety (enough to fill jar)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)



Start by chopping your vegetables into the size chunks you prefer. Fill your jar with the vegetables to the beginning of the rim. For this recipe, I used 6 total cups of liquid, but if you have a different sized jar, this is how to figure out how much brine to make:

  1. While keeping the vegetables in the jar, fill the jar the rest of the way with water. Dump the water out into a measuring cup to see how much liquid you need to fill the jar once it’s full of veggies.
  2. Take half of the total volume of liquid and make this vinegar. (I used red wine, but you can use any vinegar you choose.)
  3. Make the other half of the total volume of liquid water. So for example, if your jar holds 4 cups of water after the vegetables, you would need 2 cups of vinegar, and 2 cups of water.

Add your water and vinegar to a pot, followed by the sugar, salt, mustard seed, coriander seed, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes (these are optional, but a lot of the heat will be muted by the sugar in the brine).

Turn the heat to high and bring the brine mixture to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, remove it from the heat and gently pour it over your vegetables in the jar. Fill your jar with this brine until it is about a half inch away from the top, and all of your veggies are fully covered.

Place the lid on the jar tightly and place into your refrigerator. Leave them to pickle for one day, then enjoy!

*These pickles last for up to one month in the refrigerator.

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