When you pickle, you fight time, preserving some of those summer perfect fruits and vegetables for later. By pickling today, you're also reaching back into the history of the pickles that were once sold from pushcarts across the Lower East Side.
While we don't really have to pickle to preserve our food anymore, the art of pickling has become a hot topic lately. As noted in a quick piece in the New York Times Dining section today, some of the interest is coming from Wheelhouse Pickles and Rick's Picks, two new high-end pickle producing operations based here. For more about these guys and a recipe, check out this article [PDF] from the summer issue of Edible Brooklyn magazine.
We're not leaving things to the professionals though. Food bloggers have been buzzing about pickling (and its cousin canning) this summer. A Chicken in Every Granny Cart introduced me to the idea of pickling summer squash with tumeric into a treat "yellower than the August sun." This recipe is a god way to get started becasue it isn't fussy. You don't need to buy special equipment and sterilze jars, you just make sure you eat them up quick. (Thanks, Ann!)
There's a class on basic pickling and canning techniques this Saturday morning at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Or, if you want to go it your own with a good cookbook, head to Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks on West 10th Street. She has a shelf full of old cookbooks about making pickles. Make sure you ask for help though -- her stack of pickle books is hidden behind a chair in the small shop. Must be she hasn't heard of this pickle mini-trend yet? When I stopped in, Bonnie told me about her adventures in asking farmer from the farmer's market to bring her peach leaves, an important ingredient in one of her pickle recipes.
Novice or pickle pro, post here and let us know about the pickles in your kitchen.
picture: New York Public Library Digital Gallery