If you are like me, when you hear the word “pickle” you automatically think of the words “dill,” “gherkin,” and “Swedish.” However, if you are not from the United States or Canada, this is not true; your world of pickles is far grander than ours. Once you leave the comfort of the pickled cucumber behind, the world is your oyster. No, really, you can pickle oysters.
In fact, you can pickle almost anything; a pickle is only something that has been fermented in a brine, vinegar, or other solution for a period of time. Some things that are great pickled are cherry peppers, beets, and cauliflower with purple cabbage.
If you are up for an adventure in the culinary arts, I would recommend taking a look at Apartment Therapy’s site and their article entitled “10 Things To Tickle Your Pickling Pleasures.” I would really suggest that if you have the time and you like trying new culinary things, this is a great way to jump into pickling.
However, if you are like me and your summer has just blown up with events, home projects, and yard work, you don’t really have time to be pickling your own veggies. But I’ll bet that you are also tired of the same old dill pickles at the company picnic, or that stuff your grandmother tries to push off on you as pickles on those Sunday afternoons at her house.
Thus, I would like to spend some time exploring the gourmet world of pickles and help you to steer away from those pickled pigs feet your Great Aunt Milly is always trying to serve you at the family reunion.
The World of Gourmet Pickles
I know some of you got lost when I said the words “gourmet” and “pickle” in relation with each other, but in fact, they should be said more often in the same sentence. Let me blow your mind with a few companies that do a glorious job of pickling everything from asparagus to garlic.
I love McSweet Pickled Gourmet, not only because they combine several different vegetables when they pickle (like their Giardiniera), but they will also send you a free sample of their product before you decide to buy.
There is one small glitch in this in that they do charge you a small shipping price, however they will refund that money to you on your next purchase. And really, it’s only $2.69! I spend more money on shipping earrings off of Etsy than it costs to ship those pickles. And the fact that McSweet’s does free samples shows how confident they are. That is something that I love in a business: confidence in your product.
McSweet’s pickled offerings also include beets, asparagus, garlic, and beans.
Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles is fabulous for their innovation in pickled cucumbers. If you don’t want to venture into the world of pickled onions, you can stay with your cucumbers in a more refined way.
If I was going to recommend any of the pickled cucumbers on Lynnae’s site, I would recommend the Hot Mama Chips. I love these because they have a little kick, but overall they are great in sandwiches or just to eat.
Another great attribute to Lynnae’s website is that they have recipes right on the site. I love the Beer Battered Deep Fried LGP Pickles recipe, but if you are watching your figure, the grilled all natural chicken hot dogs with spicy pickles and fresh apple relish can hold you all day.
The next time that you are going to have a summer block party or a picnic with the family, I would propose that you order from Lynnae’s; they won’t let you and your family down.
Real Pickles: Naturally Fermented & Raw lives up to their name in the fact that they take their pickling very seriously. They may be the only vendor that I have explored that goes into the great details of the lacto-fermentation process. If you have the time, read through the information on this highly fascinating process and the frequently asked questions section of their website.
One of the facts that I found interesting is that although “lacto” is in the name of the fermentation process, it has nothing to do with lactose. Thus, although the pickles are made with lactic acid fermentation, they are lactose-free, which is good for all our lactose-free friends out there.
Out of all the gourmet pickles I have showcased thus far, Real Pickles may be the most expensive, but they are worth it. Their products include ginger carrots, beets, and red cabbage, but if you are going to purchase one thing from them, I would suggest ordering their organic sauerkraut; it can make one hell of a sandwich.
I love grilled cheese sandwiches and you can make a truly inventive sandwich with Real Pickles sauerkraut, sourdough bread, Granny Smith apples, and cheddar cheese. Here is a link to the recipe: Grilled Cheese with Cheddar, Apple, & Sauerkraut. You really need to try this!
Give Real Pickles a chance to impress you with their great recipes and convictions about absolutely exceptional pickles. There is no way to visit their website without leaving more informed about pickles than you ever thought you would be.
To conclude, there is no reason to keep buying the same old pickled cucumbers, or not to try other pickled vegetables. The internet is filled with people exploring and innovating the culinary world, so give them a chance to do it in your kitchen. You won’t regret it.
Photo credits: redteam, McSweet, Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles, and Real Pickles.