Pickling food in brine or vinegar is one of the oldest preservation methods (the high acid content prevents spoilage). It falls completely in line with our culture’s embrace of the farm-to-table movement and with Wisconsin’s long love affair with frugality. Plus, some pickled foods are fermented, a process that creates probiotics, which help your digestive system.
Even people who don’t think they have time to cook can whip out simple, small-batch pickled vegetables without using formal canning techniques. Here we’re talking about short-term storage, not months on a shelf. But after all, you want to eat these bright, pungent beauties – not look at them! And they provide a pleasant contrast of flavors when added to a dish.
If you want to see how pickled flavors transform food without stocking up on apple cider vinegar, pick up a jar of dilly beans, pickled beets or Brussels sprouts made by Door County-based Wienke’s Market (available at Outpost Natural Foods) or head to restaurants like Sanford where co-owner Justin Aprahamian preserves ingredients with such dedication that he recently secured a commercial pickling license to sell the restaurant’s creations to the public. Soon you’ll be able to buy his first offerings – pickled quince and Moroccan spiced rutabaga – to use at home. At Sanford, he’s serving everything from pickled tea eggs to fermented ramp paste over roasted vegetables.