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Pickle me Pink

by Jasmine McNenny on Jun 05, 2013

Hot weather is a catalyst for the love all things fresh and crunchy. Crisp salads, succulent fruits, and all those tasty pickles.

Hot weather is a catalyst for the love all things fresh and crunchy.  Crisp salads, succulent fruits, and all those tasty pickles.

Not a pickle fan?  Fear not, for though most associate pickles with olive green-colored cucumber floating in a jar of acidic brine, the pickle is not so type-cast.  A pickle is anything - vegetable, fruit, meat, fish – that has been left to soak in a spiced vinegar.  With such an open-ended definition, it’s a wonder that most people limit themselves to only the cucumber variety. 

As the internet shows, almost anything can be pickled.  Such favorites being: radishes, carrots, zucchini, eggs, grapes and other fruit, and the sushi staple, ginger. 

Pickled radishes are as delectable as they are beautiful.  When soaked in vinegar, the skin of the radish stains the brine which gives these pickles a gorgeous ruby color, perfect for topping salads or mixing with other vegetables for a crispy slaw. 

Recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/10/health/pickled-baby-turnips-or-radishes-recipes-for-health.html?ref=health&_r=0

Pickled carrots are typically seen in authentic Mexican restaurants as thin slices soaked in a brine spiced with jalapeños for spicy-savory pickle.  In Vietnamese restaurants, carrots are cut into julienned sticks, usually mixed with daikon, and tossed in rice vinegar and sugar.  This mixture can be seen topping the Vietnamese bánhmì sandwich and other dishes.

Mexican pickled carrots recipe: http://mexicanfood.about.com/od/sidedishes/r/spicycarrots.htm
Vietnamese picked carrots recipe:
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/vietnamese_daikon_and_carrot_pickles/

Pickled zucchini is probably the closest to its cousin the cucumber, but when preserved it has a pleasing spongy texture and, at least based on popular recipes, and is usually prepared in a savory dill brine or sweet, spice-filled brine.  These little spears are perfect served alongside sandwiches and burgers. 

Recipe: http://www.shockinglydelicious.com/sweet-zucchini-refrigerator-pickles-recipe/

Eggs are another ingredient that are found pickled pink or purple by the brine.  Pickled eggs were traditionally served as a bar food and can now be found in the deli section of the supermarket or at outdoor picnics.  A general agreement is that they are to be eaten whole as a snack or side dish.  

Recipe:  http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/08/09/only-pickled-eggs-recipe-youll-ever-need

Pickled grapes so easy and incredibly delicious.  Just slicing grapes in half and tossing them in a little red wine vinegar is perfect for a quick, refreshing salad, but other recipes go further and soak the fruit in spiced apple cider vinegar, creating sweet and sour bursts of flavor. (Though of course, any fruit can be pickled just as successfully.)

Recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-crisp-spicy-pickled-gra-126685

Pickled ginger has been a staple condiment at any sushi bar.  Sometimes it’s dyed bright pink by beets or food coloring, other times it is left its natural pale yellow color.  Either way, pickled ginger is not just for garnishing sushi rolls.  These paper-like slices are soaked in rice vinegar which replaces the overwhelming sharpness with acidity and sweetness while leaving enough of that distinct ginger flavor to give anything you put it in an instant pop.

Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ming-tsai/pickled-ginger-recipe/index.html

And these are just a few ideas.  In this day and age, it seems that people have just about pickled everything.  Leftover fruits and vegetables?Pickled them.  Need a new topping for a dessert or ice cream?  Pickled fruit.  Want something unique to bring to an outdoor cookout?  Pickled slaw.

So leave the cucumbers alone for a while because even if you don’t like traditional pickles with an endless list of pickling possibilities it’s impossible to dislike them all.