Vinegar, sugar, salt. Acid, sweet, seasoning. When combined with water these ingredients become magic, and become a brine party for pretty much any vegetable imaginable. Peter Piper knew it and today, chefs, consumers, mixologists all are obsessed with pickling. Forty percent of all menus boast some sort of pickle which is 15% more than four years ago.1 Whether it’s the DIY trend, social media, or the appreciation for handcrafting, it seems everyone is enamored with pickling.
To show just how enamored, check out the highest rising Google searches related to “pickled.”2
You won’t find cucumber in the top 5, but there are some more unique ingredients being pickled – one of the breakout Google searches is pickled paw paw. A native North American fruit that captured the fascination of Thomas Jefferson, the paw paw is part banana, part mango with a vanilla custard flavor and texture and it grows from trees in Michigan down to Florida. Depending on the variety, the paw paw can have a downright stinky smell but obviously, someone likes it if it’s one of the top “pickled” searches.
Pretty much anything is being pickled these days. Just a few to mull over from Pinterest3
Fermented Pumpkin Spears with Cardamom
Old Bay Zucchini pickles
Spicy Pickled Grapes
Quick Pickled Fiddleheads
IPA Pickled Eggs
Spicy Pickled Pineapples
Traditional Pickle – We can’t talk about pickling without touching on tsukemono or Japanese-style pickles. Tsukemono plays an extremely important role of balancing the heavy umami in a typical Japanese meal. The traditional recipe for tsukemono calls for bathing vegetables in a blend of ingredients like rice vinegar, sugar, chile, and lemon. The veggies are then compressed with a tsukemono press and left to sit for hours to pickle. Next time you are out for sushi, take note of the accompanying ginger—that’s tsukemono.
Brine Time – All that luscious brine can’t be thrown down the drain so leave it to industrious mixologists and creative manufacturers to package it for use as cocktail mixers or sauce bases. Pacific Pickle Works is banking on the consumers love for the Brooklyn-born Pickleback which is a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle brine. Pucker up, people.
Spotted and Seen
Preservation & Co. – Purveying hickory-flavored pickled Brussel sprouts with peppercorns, garlic and apple cider vinegar is a specialty of the brand along with their annual offerings of horseradish dilly beans. They also sell the brines of their favorites pickles like the Hefeweizen Bread and Butter.
Mister Tuna – The Denver spot is serious about pickles. Mister Tuna sports a pickle bar with over two dozen house made pickled veggies and fruits including cucumbers, kohlrabi, lemons and rhubarb.
Pizootz Peanuts – How about some peanuts infused with New York Dill Pickle flavor? Pizootz dries peanuts and after removing the shell, soaks them in a bath of water and natural spices. They might be on to something…pickled potato chips anyone?
Turkey and Wolf – The NOLA sandwich shop, named best restaurant of the year, has a much talked about fried collard green melt on rye bread that gets its zing from pickled cherries. We’ve got to get there.
If all this pickle talk has your mouth watering, check out our umami pantry for a few ideas on how to balance it all out. And feel free to contact our technical team—they’re experts on how to get out of the proverbial project pickle.