Top Five Items on the Pickle Shelf
Photos by John Kiely A crisp Kosher dill, and a good whiskey chaser, too.
It's risky business trying to predict food trends--Peruvian has been the next "it" cuisine for about six years running--but there's a whole lot of pickling and fermenting going on in restaurants and stores. Lately I've had kimchi and spicy pickled carrots on restaurant dishes, and an order of fried pickles, so basically I'm on a spree, which I took to the supermarket.
The following five items are pickled vegetables that can be found on most grocer's shelves for a low price. It doesn't include olives or pickles from the refrigerated section, which is pretty much owned by Claussen pickles, and they are delicious, too.
5. Farmer's Garden by Vlasic
These Kosher dill spears have a subtle mix of sweet and tart, tempered by garlic and peppers, and the vinegar taste and saltiness does not overwhelm. The pickles have a remarkably good crunch, and they stay crunchy after the jar is opened and stored in the refrigerator.
Don't eat the peppers, as they are slimy, but try the carrot just to experience a bizarre texture. Surprisingly, the best thing in the jar are the garlic cloves--crispy, with little taste of garlic. I'd like a whole jar of those.
Bonus: The cup measurements on the jar are accurate, the lip of the jar is smooth, and the label is easy to soak and remove. This pickle jar is a keeper, for use around the kitchen.
Chase Me, I'm Irish
I don't know if the guy who invented the pickle-juice chaser for Jameson Irish Whiskey was a genius or an idjit (how they pronounce "idiot" in Ireland), but I'm opting for genius with leprechaun luck, because Jameson is the only whiskey that works with pickle juice. The Farmer's Garden pickle juice is drinkable on its own, and excellent as a "pickleback".
Pickled okra is nothing like cooked okra.
4. Talk o' Texas Hot Okra Pickles
These required mild courage to try, because I hate cooked okra. It's slimy. Fortunately, pickling eliminates the sliminess, and though these pickles are unattractive, they taste like a cross between a cucumber pickle and a pickled pepper.
What are they good for? A snack, challenging hors d'ouevres, and as a truly Texan garnish for a Bloody Mary.
This story continues on the next page.