Product Roundup: Brine Art
Today’s pickles go well beyond cucumbers and classic dill.
Products now pull from a range of culinary traditions, such as Central American, North African, and Korean. The DIY movement helped launch a wave of innovators, pickling everything from okra and asparagus to apples and watermelon rinds. Spices and seasonings run rampant, with excellent results, and simple recipes satisfy even the most discerning label reader. Here are the latest creations to hit store shelves.
Chukar Cherries - Owl Orchards Pickled & Spicy Asparagus. Washington is famed for its cherries. Lesser known are the state’s many asparagus farms. Chukar Cherries hand-cuts asparagus and pickles it in a brine of water, vinegar, salt, sugar, spices, garlic, and crushed red chiles. The result is slightly spicy spears ideal for appetizers or cocktail swizzle sticks. Hand-packed into clear 12-ounce jars, this product was previously available only in gift packs. The company website offers recipe ideas and serving suggestions, including a bloody mary with an asparagus garnish and prosciutto-wrapped pickled asparagus. chukar.com
FoodMatch - Divina Pickled Chipotle Carrot Sticks, Hot Crunchy Okra, Pickled Asparagus, and Pickled Spicy Snap Peas. Four new Divina pickled products have made their debut, featuring produce cultivated by family growers in the U.S. Pickled Chipotle Carrot Sticks, ideal for garnishing cocktails or serving with dips, are brined in a bath of vinegar, salt, sugar, chipotle peppers, and turmeric extract. Hot Crunchy Okra uses whole okra, ideal on a Cuban sandwich. The company’s Pickled Asparagus can be added to cold pasta salads or used as a garnish for quiches or a bloody mary. Pickled Spicy Snap Peas, which add heat with crushed red pepper, can bolster stir-fries or other Asian dishes. foodmatch.com
Genuine Grub - Spicy Pickled Cabbage, Radish, and ’Cukes. Launched just over a year ago, this small company turns out creative adaptations of kimchi. The new 16-ounce jars of pickled cabbage, radish, and cucumbers contain no seafood, sugar, additives, preservatives, brines, or vinegars. Instead, products are naturally fermented and probiotic. A base of apple, hot pepper powder, green onion, garlic, and sea salt kick off each recipe: Spicy Pickled Cabbage combines Napa cabbage with apple, radish, and onion, plus ginger; Spicy Pickled Radish mingles with apple and ginger; and the brand-new Spicy Pickled ’Cukes derive sweetness from the addition of apple. genuinegrub.com
Pickled Pink Gourmet - Jalapeño Pickles, Sweet Heat Jalapeños, and Spiced Watermelon Pickles. This young company offers inventive takes on classic recipes. Its Spiced Watermelon Pickles feature the melon’s white rind, seasoned with cloves, cinnamon, and more. Launched in 2014, this traditional Southern ingredient can be paired with grilled meats or used to top desserts. Also new is Sweet Heat Jalapeños, starring thick-cut green and red jalapeños and a bit of garlic, which can top cheeses or be chopped into a slaw for po’boys, burgers, and sandwiches. Coming next is Gourmet Jalapeño Pickles, featuring thick-cut cucumbers in a brine of white vinegar, sugar, and natural jalapeño juice extract, great for topping sandwiches, brats, or burgers. pickledpinkfoods.com
Rick’s Picks - K.O. Pickles. After numerous customer requests for a kosher and organic product, the company has introduced these dill spears with their primary features at the forefront—the K stands for kosher, and O for organic. Made in season with sliced local cucumbers, the pickles are seasoned with celery seed, mustard seed, turmeric, and red pepper flakes and hand-packed into 24-ounce jars. Try them with pastrami and other deli sandwiches. The company turns out more than a dozen varieties of shelf-stable pickles, including its Smokra, a 2014 sofi winner. rickspicks.com
Root Cellar Preserves - Apple Cinnamon Pickles. Recently relaunched, these apple cinnamon pickles—which pair well with meat or poultry dishes, salads, and hard cheeses—are crunchy and sweet. For a bold flavor, chunks of apples are brined with natural apple and cinnamon extracts. The company offers a full line of pickles, including its best seller, Bread & Butter Pickles. In addition to using traditional, small-batch pickling techniques, Root Cellar Preserves is devoted to the preservation of early American homesteads. The company founders have established a fund from the proceeds to support local community efforts to maintain historic sites and landmarks. rootcellarpreserves.com
Sid Wainer & Son - Jansal Valley Pickled Garden Vegetables, Marinated Button Mushrooms, Sliced Sweet Banana Peppers, and Hot Italian Style Chopped Peppers. For this new line, U.S.-grown vegetables are picked at peak ripeness and pickled quickly to retain a firm texture and fresh, vibrant flavor. The best sellers in the line—which features more than a dozen products, most kosher and all packed in mason jars—include Pickled Garden Vegetables, featuring cauliflower, carrots, celery, red peppers, pepperoncini, and olives in a white vinegar brine; Marinated Button Mushrooms, ideal for steak dinners or Thai tom yum soup; the sweet, tart, and slightly spicy Sliced Sweet Banana Peppers; and Hot Italian Style Chopped Peppers, which retain their seeds for heat. sidwainer.com
Sinto Gourmet - Fresh Pickle Soy Ginger Cucumbers. Soy sauce, ginger, and jalapeño add an Asian-inspired flavor profile to these pickles, introduced last year. Ingredients include cucumber, yellow onion, jalapeño, water, and garlic. Traditionally treated as a side dish in Korea, these crunchy pickles can also be incorporated into salads and sandwiches and served with rice. Free of MSG, preservatives, and additives, the pickles also use non-GMO soy sauce. The company, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, sources local ingredients whenever possible. sintogourmet.com
Sutter Buttes - Natural & Artisan Foods Preserved Meyer Lemons and Spicy Pickled Vegetable Tapenade. In its take on a North African staple ingredient, Sutter Buttes packs Meyer lemons whole into a salty brine. Slightly tart and intensely lemony, the whole preserved lemons, which come seven to eight in a 16-ounce jar, can be used in stews, salads, fish dishes, sauces, dressings, pasta and grain dishes, and dips. The all-new Spicy Pickled Vegetable Tapenade features pickled garden vegetables, pepperoncini, oregano, and garlic immersed with California olives and extra-virgin olive oil. Try on a cheese platter, stirred into egg or tuna salad, and on sandwiches and burgers. sutterbuttesoliveoil.com
Wickles Pickles - Wicked Pickle Chips and Wicked Jalapeño Slices. Two new 16-ounce jars of pickles join the Wickles line, produced by Sims Foods. Inspired by customer demand for thinner slices to top burgers and sandwiches, the crunchy Wicked Pickle Chips star thinly sliced cucumbers with ridges, fresh-packed right into the jar (rather than fermented). Meanwhile, the Wicked Jalapeño Slices consists of fresh jalapeños. Both products, which are kosher and gluten-free, use a brine of cider vinegar and red chile pepper, making them equally sweet and spicy. Beginning with a 70-year-old family recipe, Wickles got its start bottling homemade pickles as holiday gifts. wicklespickles.com
Wildbrine - Fermented Salsas. The four products that make up this new line of non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan fermented salsas are naturally probiotic, with a 160-day shelf life. They include Salsa Rojo, a Mexican red salsa; Salsa Verde, a Mexican green salsa; Cortido, Salvadoran fermented cabbage; and Escabeche, a Central American antipasto of pickled vegetables. The escabeche features a mix of jalapeños, red bell peppers, carrots, Anaheim peppers, and radishes; serve as an appetizer, side salad, or over rice. In addition to salsas, Wildbrine makes sauerkraut and kimchi. wildbrine.com
Wine Forest - Wild Foods Pickled Sea Beans. Sea beans (also known as pickleweed, samphire, and glasswort) are small plants that grow where fresh water enters the sea. Wine Forest harvests sea beans from Northern California estuaries, cutting off only the top four inches, leaving the anchoring plants to grow back. The sea beans, which taste like a cross between asparagus and spinach, are then pickled in white wine vinegar, seasoned with coriander seeds, ginger, black peppercorns, bay leaf, chile flakes, and thyme. The briny, crunchy, tangy result garnered a 2014 Good Food Award. Wine Forest recommends adding the sea beans to sandwiches; cheese, cured meat, and vegetable plates; salads; bloody marys; and tartar sauce. wineforest.com
Dina Cheney is the “Taste Test” columnist for Every Day with Rachael Ray, plus the author of several cookbooks, including Meatless All Day and the forthcoming Mug Meals and
The New Milks.
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