One of our favorite seasonal preparations? Pickling.
This popular method of preserving foods with salt water or vinegar (try white distilled or cider vinegars) is a culinary mainstay for fresh vegetables (i.e. low acidic, root vegetables), and a great way to add, new seasonal ingredients to your menu as well as elevate your sustainable practices.
As we’re seeing an uptick in sour over sweet in dining trends these days, now’s the perfect time to experiment with pickling. Here are a few fall pickling ideas and tips to enrich your menu this season.
House-made Pickles. When most of us think ‘pickling’ we think ‘pickles.’ So, let’s start there. Sure, they’re menu mainstays but as guests are more flavor-profile adventurous these days, we suggest in addition to traditional dill and garlic sours, heighten flavors by infusing pickles with the likes of habaneros, jalapeños, sweet red bell peppers, pearl or red onions, even a blend of your favorite herbs and spices such as basil, curry, sage, fennel, mint or dry mustard.
Mix ‘n Match. We love the idea of urging guests to get creative with unexpected combinations of their choosing. How yummy would pickled red onions, cauliflower, and golden beets be, accentuated with a hint of curried spices? An interesting way to engage guests (+gain social media mileage!) is to introduce a “pickled bar” i.e. offer a weekly selection of house-made pickled items guests can chose 2-3 from to mix ‘n match. Tip: work with your local supplier to choose fresh market produce.
Increase Shelf Life. Pickling is a good resource to increase the shelf life of food items that are left over in your kitchen. Since fresh foods are best for pickling, don’t wait longer than a day or two to use these items but this is a budget saving, sustainable, and viable option to serving a delicious product and incur no waste, as pickled items can stay fresh for weeks.
Show off your Pickling Prowess. Display your pickled fare for all to see. It’s an excellent, cost effective way to brighten your décor and entice guests all at once. This photo, courtesy of MoCo’s Founding Farmers, is a great example of a pickling display that surely garners their guest’s attention.