Pickle Bloody Mary Mix Is A Brunch Game-Changer

By Lindsay Funston

Delish 

A Pickle Bloody Mary is the new pickle trend!

 

Don’t trust people who don’t love Bloody Mary’s. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true. They’re the ultimate brunch partner—they cure your hangovers, they go great with everything from chicken & waffles to burgers, and they’re so complex: salty, spicy, and briny. I’m also someone who doesn’t trust people who don’t like a pickle in their bloody. When I heard that Gordy’s Pickle Jar—the brilliant minds behind canned pickle brine—were adding their prized brine to bloody mary mix, I was SO game.

I traveled to Washington D.C. to meet the power couple behind Gordy’s, Sarah Gordon and Sheila Fain, and make some mix! This wasn’t my first rodeo making bloody mary mix (the Nashville hot chicken mix I made in Tennessee was insane), but the women’s recipe definitely sets itself apart. It’s super bright, thanks to fresh dill and cucumber juice (game-changer btw), intensely peppery, and has an intense kick; they stir in brine left over from their pickled cherry peppers.
The mix is a must-drink (and, ahem, perfect holiday gift) for any pickle or bloody mary lover.

 

Texans Eat Pickles At The Movie Theater, And They Think Everyone Else Does Too

By: Zachary

Shared 

Pickles are the best snack at the movie theater!

 

They say you learn something new every day, and sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that we don’t know as much about the world (or even our own country) as we think we do.
Take the great state of Texas for example.

 

If you ask anyone in America to describe the Lone Star state, they’ll tell you about 10-gallon hats, pickup trucks, and ropin’ dogies.
But mention “movie theater pickles” to someone from another state, and you’ll probably get a few confused looks.

The truth is Texans do eat pickles at movie theaters, and they’re actually surprised that the rest of us don’t.

 

The internet actually examined Texas’ love for eating pickles in front of the big screen back in 2015, when a few articles about the strange fad appeared online.

But the news “broke” again this month, drawing surprised reactions from movie-goers in the 49 states that don’t offer pickles at the multiplex.

 

Even native Texans aren’t clear on how the pickle phenomenon started or why. Most just guess that pickles are salty, so they’re meant to encourage customers to buy more soft drinks.

Still, the trend is so widespread in Texas that many Texans can’t believe movie theaters in other states don’t serve pickles.

 

“I only learned this was different once I moved out of Texas!” shared one Reddit user.
Movie fans have even created rituals for enjoying their pickle at the theater. Some chains sell them in jars, while other sell loose pickles, or hand you a paper bag to keep your fingers dry.

But older movie fans have memories of when the pickles were stored in a big jar, and theater employees would “fish one out of the jar with tongs” for a quarter. (These days, theater pickle will set you back at least two dollars.)

 

Other locations will actually ask if you want the juice drained at the concession stand.
A few pickle-lovers even drop their snack into a popcorn bucket, maybe to blend the salty and sour flavors together.

While the movie theater pickle may be most popular in Texas, pickle sightings have been reported in other states as the news spreads online.
Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Utah, and Virginia also seem to be prime pickle territory.

 

Pickle-flavored candy canes add some flavor to the holidays

By: Jenson Strock

The Daily News

 

(Source: Accoutrements)

Make pickle flavored candy canes a big dill this Christmas !!

 

TOLEDO (WTOL) – Looking for Christmas goodies for people lacking a sweet tooth can put you in a bit of a pickle.

But now, your mind can rest easy. Pickle-flavored candy canes are coming back this year and for some people it’s a pretty big “dill.”
Pickle-flavored treats have taken the candy industry by storm the past couple of years.

On Amazon, you can find not only these specialty pickle candy canes, but pickle mints, pickle gummies and even pickle-flavored cotton candy are all featured on the site.
The candy canes go for about $9 a package and have also been seen on Wal-Mart’s website.

Who says candy canes can only be enjoyed on Christmas? With Halloween just around the corner, you may also be seeing some of these tangy treats popping up in your kids’ candy bags.
If pickles aren’t really your thing, don’t worry.

The store Archie McPhee’s sells macaroni and cheese and clam-flavored candy canes as well.
While the store’s “Clamdy Canes” sound like a hilarious prank, they seem to be pretty popular. The site even makes a note that says they are limiting the sale of this product to five per customer because of their “extreme popularity.”

So if you favor savory over sweet, these new holiday treats may be worth a try.

Copyright 2018 WTOL. All rights reserved.

Your Cocktail Game in a Pickle? Not Until You Try This Flavored Vodka

By Molly Fosco

Ozy 

Why not have pickle- flavored Vodka ?

Photo By: ozy

 

There’s nothing quite like biting into a cold, crisp dill pickle fresh out of the jar. And if you’re pickle-obsessed like me, you’ve probably sneaked a few sips of the mouth-puckering brine too. Why do some people think it’s weird to drink pickle juice? In the U.S., we drink tomato juice, grapefruit juice and even green juice, which are all just as salty, sour and/or gross, depending on your flavor palate. So why not pickle juice?
And what’s even better than drinking pickle juice? Drinking pickle juice with alcohol in it, of course! Thanks to a few beverage companies that agree, pickle-flavored vodka exists for those of us who want that salty, sour flavor in our libations too.

 

Adding pickle flavor to liquor isn’t an entirely new concept. For many years, bars have served picklebacks (vodka mixed with pickle juice) to cut the harsh taste of the alcohol. But actually infusing alcohol with pickle juice? Now that’s where things get interesting. Yes, pickle vodka does taste like vodka, but the pickle flavor cuts the bite of the liquor. So you might find yourself sipping more quickly than expected.

Among the distillers of pickle-infused vodka, most are located in the Great White North. Canada puts the U.S. pickle vodka game to shame, boasting at least five distilleries that make the unusual liquor, including Birmingham’s Dill Pickle Vodka, Last Mountain Dill Pickle Vodka and Tall Grass Dill Pickle Vodka, among others. But the U.S. is slowly catching up; Blue Spirits Distilling on Lake Chelan in Washington makes a potent 120-proof pickle version.

While many of these companies make other creative infusions, Chilled Dills Pickle Flavored Vodka, based in Charleston, South Carolina, crafts and sells nothing but pickle-infused vodka. If that doesn’t seem like a sound business plan, think again. The company has grown its business each year since 2012, and it now sells in six states throughout the country.

The idea for Chilled Dills began when co-founders Marty Lloyd, his dad, John, and their friend Neil were on an annual family trip in Clearwater, Florida. Their shot of choice that year was picklebacks. But they quickly encountered a problem: The pickle juice kept running out too fast. “Do you think we could bottle this?” Lloyd recalls wondering aloud to his family and friends. The group agreed it could be done. When they returned home to South Carolina, they began distilling and infusing their first batch of Chilled Dills.

Today, they use a patented distilling technology that utilizes ultrasonic energy, which helps to reduce the harshness of the alcohol. The six-times distilled vodka is then infused with all-natural pickles and pickle juice, unlike many flavored alcohols that are typically mixed with a powder, says Lloyd.

Chilled Dills is smooth enough to drink on the rocks or with a splash of soda water, but other ways to enjoy it is in a bloody mary, a pickletini or a “summertime slowdown” cocktail, which combines mint simple syrup, strawberry and lemon with pickle vodka over ice.

The vodka has won multiple awards, including the double gold medal in 2013’s “50 Best Flavored Vodkas,” a silver medal in the 2014 “San Francisco World Spirits Competition,” and a silver medal in the 2015 “Wine and Spirits Tasting Competition.”

If the awards don’t change your skepticism of pickle-flavored vodka, order a bottle for yourself online — although beware of shipping costs. For example: With the cheapest FedEx delivery option to San Francisco, you’re looking at $49.37.

Chilled Dills Best Bloody Mary
Pickle vodka is the perfect companion to a spicy, tangy bloody mary at Sunday morning brunch.
2 ounces Chilled Dills pickle vodka
3 ounces of your favorite bloody mary mix
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce of your choosing
Rub lemon slice on the rim of the glass and dip in Old Bay seasoning. Shake ingredients with ice and pour. Garnish with everything you can think of.

Pickletini
For nighttime vibes, try a pickletini — a dirty martini with pickle juice instead of olive juice.
2 ounces Chilled Dills pickle vodka
1 ounce of pickle juice (or more for the true pickle fiends)
Shake with ice and serve up. Garnish with pickle slices.

 

This ‘Pickle On A Christmas Tree’ Tradition Is The Best

By: Valerie Williams

Scary Mommy 

Your kids will look forward to this pickle ornament tradition every year!

 

If you’ve ever seen a pickle ornament on someone’s Christmas tree and wondered what the heck that was all about, buckle up — we have a little story for you. Oh, and once you hear it, you’re going to want to jump on this fun holiday tradition yourself — because your kids will freaking love it.

 

According to Wide Open Country, the legend goes that on Christmas Eve, parents put a pickle ornament on the tree and the first child to spot it is either given the first gift, an extra gift, or the coveted job of handing out the presents to everyone. Also, whoever finds it will have good luck for the next year. The custom is called Weihnachtsgurke, or Christmas Pickle, and there’s some debate over its origin.

Some think it started in Germany a long time ago, but Tampa Bay Magazine says that’s unlikely as modern Germans don’t do it. A lot of pickle ornaments are made in Germany, but apparently they’re just to send out to other countries that enjoy this delightfully bizarre little holiday ritual. Instead, it’s said that F.W. Woolworth, the owner of a huge chain of old time-y five-and-dime stores, started importing glass pickle ornaments in 1880 and used the story about letting a kid find it to help sell them to Americans.

Whatever its beginnings, it’s a fun little tradition that any family can try out, and there’s absolutely no shortage of cute pickle ornaments to choose from.But if you have a whole bunch of cousins over and the lone pickle might be the start of a rollicking holiday tantrum fest, maybe go with a full dozen and let each kid find their own. Then pour every adult in the room a bunch of wines, because it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.

Happy pickle hunting, y’all!

 

Local company tops pickle pizza craze

By: Liz Shepard

Times Herald

Rhino’s Pizzeria’S Big Dill Pizza in New York. (Photo: Tracy Malloy)

 

LEXINGTON – It’s hard to not love pizza.

The crunch of a good crust, melted gooey mozzarella, some Parmesan and maybe basil and garlic.
And the endless choice in toppings. But a new trend has emerged and a local company is its surprising foundation. A pickle covered pizza recently hit internet stardom, with one video of its crafting at a New York pizzeria earning more than 26 million views.
Those pickles covering the viral pizza were produced in Lexington.

“It was pretty awesome to see obviously, but never in a million years did I think a pickle pizza would get 26 million views,” said Marc Gielow, Gielow Pickles’ farm and logistics manager.
Gielow is the fifth generation of his family to produce pickles and peppers in Lexington.

“We don’t cut corners and make a cheap product, we try to make a good quality product at a reasonable price,” he said. Gielow said most people don’t realize how widely his family’s pickles are distributed.He said the company employs between 300 and 350 people. The pickles they make are used by chains including Subway and Jersey Mikes and are sold by Gordon Food Services and Sysco.

If you want to buy them locally, you have to catch them at either the Port Huron or Port Austin farmers markets. Gielow said they no longer sell retail at the Lexington location, as the business has grown too big. Annually, the company produces about 25 million pounds of banana peppers and close to one million bushels of cucumbers.
And they’re getting bigger.

Gielow said annual growth is between 20 percent and 25 percent each year. “It’s a great feeling to know people love what we do. Obviously we have a passion for it because we’ve been doing it for five generations,” he said.

“To see other people love it is awesome.” Anyone looking to enjoy a pickle pizza with the Gielow Pickles is in luck.
The team at Sweetwater Gourmet Deli and Bakery in Lexington decided to offer a pickle pizza as a special one weekend this month.

Leiza Lee, one of the Sweetwater employees, said it was a collaboration of ideas that formed the garlic crust pizza with layers of olive oil, mozzarella, Gielow pickles, garlic, dill and topped it with ranch dressing.

But the plan to offer it only for the weekend didn’t go over well. “It kind of blew up,” said Nicole Graham, who saw the viral pickle pizza post. With the traditional components plus the delicious, the salty, crunchy, thin pickle chips take the pizza to a whole different level.

Graham said people are still coming in and requesting it, so Sweetwater is continuing to make it.
“Really cool to hear the feedback,” she said, which included “Everything I needed to complete my day.”

Lee said it was fun to hear so many people excited about the pickle pie. “It’s kind of exciting, something new and they like it,” she said.
While Sweetwater appears to be the first local eatery to offer a pickle pizza, the New York pizzeria that started the trend is continuing to pack in the orders for the Gielow-covered pies.

In August, New York based Rhino’s Pizzeria posted photos of its pickle covered pizza on Instagram, with the hashtag #BreakTheInternet. Tracy Malloy, owner of Rhino’s Pizzeria in New York, said going viral has been intense. “It’s been crazy, very crazy,” she said by phone Thursday.

Similar to Sweetwater’s story, Malloy said creating the pickle-covered pizza was a group effort sparked by an employee’s daughter who brought the idea home from a Pennsylvania pickle festival.

“It went crazy,” Malloy said of the release of the Big Dill Pizza, adding people have traveled from across the country to try it. While Rhino’s and Sweetwater’s pies are a bit different, they do share the same key component — the Gielow pickles. “They just have a really good flavor and they’re very thin, they’re not too thick,” Malloy said. “Just a really good pickle.”

She said their secret garlic sauce is also a key piece of the pie. Since going viral, they’ve started bottling and selling it at https://www.etsy.com/shop/Rhinossauces.
Marc Gielow said he hasn’t yet tried a pickle pizza, but he and his family are all fans of the product they’ve been making for so long.
“I have two boys who are pickle enthusiasts,” he said.

 

Head to Cidercade For Their Dill Pickle Cider

By Catherine Downes

D magazine 

Dill Pickle Cider!!!

Last Monday night was riddled with losses. First, I lost at several rounds of Mortal Kombat. And then, I lost at Mario Kart. I never lose at Mario Kart. And finally, after 30 sweat-inducing, swear-word-fueled minutes spent shooting zombies in House of the Dead 2, rounds away from destroying The Emperor (a really, really big boss), there was a power surge. And the game restarted.

I would have left Cidercade with my head in my germ-covered hands, if it hadn’t been for a consistent bright spot throughout all of this: their Kind of a Big Dill cider.
The cider, made using Washington apples and dill pickle juice, sounds weird. And maybe it is a little bizarre. But it’s also balanced and delightful and worth a try.

The cider is the handiwork of Bishop Cider Co.’s production manager Ash Mutawe. “He apparently loves pickles,” says Bishop Cider Co. co-founder Joel Malone. “He wanted to make the cider and I told him no, I said: ‘trust me, it’ll be terrible.’”

 

Mutawe made it anyway. And it wasn’t terrible.
Apple juice is fermented, and then dill pickle juice is added, and then more apple juice is mixed in to balance it out. What kind of dill pickle juice? “The good kind,” says Mutawe. Vague, but let’s roll with it.

The outcome: a semi-sweet and smooth, apple-y beverage with a hint of dill. The cider, which is a whopping 10% ABV, is part of their small batch and experimental draft offerings. The full list is available online and is updated in realtime, so you always know what they have.

While Kind of a Big Dill may not be suited for mass production, Malone says that the cidery is about to can their tart black currant brew, The Dark Cide. “We’re still waiting on the cans to show up,” he says.

 

 

 

 

As pickles conquer the mainstream, are they still a Jewish food?

By Stephen Silver

JTA

Are pickles still a Jewish food ?

(David Kindler/Flickr)

 

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — When many folks of a certain age and demographic think of pickles, their thoughts likely drift back to memories of the pickle bar at their favorite deli, or of talkative vendors on New York City’s Lower East Side.

That’s largely thanks to the Jewish immigrants living in New York at the end of the 19th century, who made the dill pickle we know and love today — with plenty of garlic, dill and salt brine — so popular.

But today, pickles and pickle flavors can be found in places they didn’t used to be — from beer to ice cream to chic restaurant delicacies. The popular lifestyle and culture site Refinery29 recently described the current age as “peak pickle” and dubbed pickles “2018’s hottest food trend.”

The research firm Technavio sees the global pickle market reaching $12.74 billion in 2020, with more than half of that in the United States. We now have National Pickle Day (Nov. 14) and International Pickle Week (after Memorial Day).

The frenzy has even reached Hollywood: Seth Rogen is reportedly set to star in a movie about a pickle factory worker named Herschel Greenbaum, who falls into a vat of pickles in 1918 and re-emerges intact 100 years later.

One could say on the whole that pickles are having a moment in America.
As picklemania continues to grow, Jews may be asking: Do pickles still have a Jewish identity? Did they ever? Are they solely seen as an American food these days, if anything?

The pickle craze was encapsulated recently at the latest urban pickle festival: the first Pickledelphia, which was held last week at the Schmidt Commons in this city’s trendy Northern Liberties neighborhood. The crowd of more than 1,500 enjoyed wares from some two dozen vendors.

They could sample the traditional pickled cucumbers, but much more, including everything from “drinkable pickle brine” to pickle-flavored beer and liquor. There were accents on traditional Philadelphia foods, such as a pretzel wrapped around a pickle from Philly Pretzel Factory, and pickle-flavored chips from Herr’s. There was live music and a caricaturist who drew people in pickle form. Of course, there was a pickle-eating contest.

Many on hand wore green, even though the Super Bowl champion Eagles weren’t playing that Sunday, and others sported shirts emblazoned with Pickle Rick, a character from the cult animated series “Rick and Morty.” (When I reached out to the organizers for press credentials, the email back came from Pickle Rick.)

If anything, the event was too successful, which led to some social media grumbling about long lines, overcrowding and how some vendors ran out of pickles.
Pickledelphia was the brainchild of Michael Wink, a partner in Digital Force Agency, an events and digital marketing agency in Philadelphia that had staged the Philadelphia Beard Festival. Philly has recently hosted festival-type events based around other foods, such as burgers, cheesesteaks and pizza. So naturally it was time for pickles to have their turn.

“Everybody loves pickles,” Wink said at the event. “My sisters, cousins — everyone goes nuts over pickles. I’d say on Thanksgiving, you could have the best spread out there, and my sisters and cousins were still raiding the fridge for the pickles. So I know there was a love of pickles there, and I started seeing things.”

While there was nothing outwardly Jewish about the festival, the connection between Jews and pickles goes back almost to the beginning. Cucumbers are mentioned in the Torah: Numbers 11:5 says “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.” And later, in the book of Isaiah: “The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, Like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city.” Jews from communities of old in Eastern Europe and Iran enjoyed pickled vegetables as staples, and some even believed the food could cure disease.

According to the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, Jews in Yiddish-speaking lands specialized in the cultivation of cucumbers, and would pickle them over the harsh winters and serve them starting just before Passover.

“Lactofermentation in salt pickling enhances the nutritional value of vegetables by preserving vitamin C, among other benefits,” YIVO explains, “which was important during long winters without fresh green vegetables.”
But experts say that while pickles have always been important to Jews, no one has never quite had a monopoly on them.

“You ask a big question, but I’m curious first as to whether pickles are ‘Jewish’ to begin with,” said Roger Horowitz, a food historian and author of the book “Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food.” “They are just cucumbers preserved in a brine solution, a method with wide historical roots and practiced by many cultures.”

There were some kosher pickle companies at Pickledelphia, including the Teaneck, New Jersey-based Pickle Licious, and the Philadelphia company Zayda’s. The co-founder of the latter, Steven Slutsky, is a local character who performs comedy in Philadelphia as The Pickle Man. (He is known for traveling around town on a rickshaw-style tricycle with a toilet for a seat.)

But the event had more of a multicultural flavor, and Wink noted that at least three vendors fused American pickles with Asian cuisine. One of them, a Chinatown-based Japanese restaurant called Hi-Kori, offered different flavors of fried pickles at one of the highest-trafficked booths. (Pickled vegetables aren’t exactly foreign to all Asian cultures — Korean cuisine often includes other pickled items on the menu beyond kimchi, for instance.)

“Pickles are very much a part of Jewish deli culture,” said Rabbi Lance Sussman, who is both senior rabbi at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel outside Philadelphia and a scholar of American Jewish history. “The cucumber was probably originally from India, but there is a tradition of a pickled dish (turnip?) in the Talmud. Jewish delis continue to serve free pickles with meals and sometimes have pickle bars, too. [But] of course, pickles are not unique to the Jewish community.”

Ironically, Pickledelphia was originally scheduled for the afternoon of Sept. 9, which was the eve of Rosh Hashanah. However, rain intervened and pushed the date back to October.
“We started putting it out and we got a lot of backlash,” Wink said. “They’re like, ‘You’re doing this on the Jewish holiday!’ We know the Jewish people love pickles.
He added: “The rain kind of came through, and we joke around — God likes pickles, we’ll be all right.”

 

Can fermented food fight off colds?

By ANDY CASTILLO

Daily Hampshire Gazette 

The organic dill and garlic dill pickles start with locally-grown organic cukes. Contributed Photo by Real Pickles/Valley Lightworks

Greenfield MA
There are many time-honored ways to preserve vegetables, such as canning or freezing.
But one method actually helps foster healthy gut bacteria, which can boost the immune system and aid in digestion.
That honor goes to fermentation, which is still a relatively unstudied scientific field.

“Fermented foods contain probiotic microorganisms that benefit human health in many ways. Lactic acid bacteria, a common group of microbes found within fermented vegetables, improve immune function and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria within the body,” said Ana Maria Moise, a licensed nutritionist at The Nutrition Center in Northampton and author of “The Gut Microbiome: Exploring the Connection between Microbes, Diet, and Health.”
In order to get those benefits, though, Moise noted the foods must be raw and unpasteurized before fermenting to ensure the cultured microbes are still alive.

At a biological level, the healthy bacteria contained in fermented vegetables multiply and colonize the gut’s existing bacteria, crowding out any harmful bacteria and staving off diseases (and colds) before they happen, says Addie Rose Holland, co-founder of Greenfield-based Real Pickles, which sells naturally fermented vegetables throughout the northeast.
Over time, healthy bacteria that’s already on the vegetable breaks down some of the vegetable’s sugars into lactic acid, which acts as a natural preservative.

If raw vegetables are left to sit in a barrel without oxygen for about 8 months to a year, “in a lot of cases, the fermented version of the vegetable is more nutritious than the raw version,” said Holland, 39, noting they also add salt — which kills certain types of bacteria that can inhibit fermentation; gets the process started faster; and adds flavor.
Holland said that scientific studies have shown there’s more vitamin C in fermented cabbage than in raw cabbage.
“Through (the bacteria’s) processing of the fresh vegetable, they’re creating compounds and nutrients and enzymes that our body doesn’t produce on its own,” Holland said.

While there are supplements that can deliver specific strains of healthy bacteria, fermented foods — which also include products like yogurt, vinegar, hard cider, and craft beer — can be better because “if you’re eating fermented foods you’re getting huge diversity,” Holland said. And that’s on top of the nutrients raw vegetables already contain.
Additionally, although it’s known that healthy bacteria is good for health, Holland said scientists haven’t identified which bacterial strains are the best for gut health, or how to enhance those strains in fermented foods.
“We know that microbiomes are important,” Holland said. “There’s still this huge gap in scientific understanding as to why probiotics are good for health.”
At least in part, Holland suggested that the research gap stems from the fact that fermented foods fell out of favor in America in recent decades and were replaced by vinegar pickles — which are preserved with boiled vinegar and salt and don’t have to be refrigerated. But even though vinegar pickles might be easier to stock, they don’t have the same health benefits because they’re not fermented, she said.

“Fermented pickles are the traditional way of making pickles, and it’s a process that’s been used for thousands of years. The builders of the great wall in China were eating fermented pickles. The Romans ate sauerkraut,” she said. “It’s a food that spans cultures all across the world, and is a really important part of traditional healthy diets.”
More recently, as people have realized the health benefits of fermented foods, Holland says they’re enjoying a resurgence.
When she and husband Dan Rosenberg, 42, started Real Pickles in 2001, Holland said they were one of only a handful of businesses nationwide producing fermented pickles. Rosenberg, who discovered fermenting at a farming conference at Hampshire College, and Holland, who also works at the North East Climate Science Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, both have degrees in geology.

These days, Holland estimated there are “dozens (of fermented vegetable businesses) for sure, if not over a hundred.”
Each year, Holland says they process about 300,000 pounds of organic vegetables from area farms like Atlas Farm, Red Fire Farm, Chamutka Farm, Kitchen Garden Farm. Holland noted they buy their products from farms that don’t use harmful chemicals because they believe a better vegetable makes for a better, more healthful, fermented veggie.
These days, their products — fermented beets, cucumbers, cabbage — are sold in supermarkets including Whole Foods and Big Y across New England, and in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

“There were a few years when we were still one of the only businesses doing this, and it was really hard for us to keep up with the demand,” she said, noting they’ve intentionally kept their business small, and recently converted it into a worker-owned coop.
That cultural renaissance is transitioning into renewed scientific interest. Locally, the nature of bacteria and microbes in fermented vegetables was the focus of a recent study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“We were interested in fermented foods and beverages in general … Is there a risk for disease causing bugs (in fermented foods)? How can we predict product outcomes?” said David Sela, assistant professor of food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Sela facilitated the study along with undergraduate student Jonah Einson and research fellow Asha Rani, and others from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
The study, which was conducted at Real Pickles and took about a year and a half to perform, looked at microbiome communities in the Greenfield facility. The researchers also collected data on the vegetable’s microbes at specific times during the fermentation process. Sela said they found a distinct difference in microbiome communities between the area where raw food is processed and the fermenting room.

While this wasn’t a surprise, Sela said the data they collected and sifted through could lead to future studies and a better understanding of how to enhance nutrition in fermented foods, and possibly decrease the amount of food that’s spoiled, among other things.
“There is much more work that needs to be done. We’re looking forward to playing our part, as small as it may be, and supporting the community that emerges,” Sela said.
For the greatest health benefits, Moise noted that most traditional diets incorporate small portions of fermented foods in every meal, along with other types of foods that are high in fiber.
“I encourage my patients to incorporate complex carbohydrates such as legumes and beans, cooked whole grains, as well as non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, onions, garlic, leeks, dandelion greens, all of which contain prebiotic fiber that feed probiotic bacteria,” she said.
Looking ahead, in future studies, Holland says she’s hoping that scientists can quantify the impact that organic farming methods have been sprayed by chemicals, have on the final fermented product.

“We think it’s very important the vegetables coming from the farm are rich in diversity, microbally, which means that it’s really important that they’re coming from organic farms that aren’t using herbicides, pesticides, things that might kill that microbial diversity,” Holland said. “It’s intuitive for us that buying healthy vegetables makes for a healthier product. But scientific documentation of that would be amazing.”

 

 

 

 

Lower East Side’s Pickle Day returns for its 19th year of crunchy tradition

By Gabby Shacknai

amNewYork

The Lower East Side’s annual Pickle Day returns Oct. 14 on Orchard Street. Photo Credit: Lower East Side Partnership

 

There are few things as emblematic of New York City as a signature yellow cab or a slice of pizza; but to those on the Lower East Side, there exists nothing of greater pride than the pickle.
The pickle invokes a universal memory of a bygone era for generations of New Yorkers, and the crunchy snack is actually older than the city itself. A non-refrigerated alternative to vegetables in the barren winter months, the New York pickle harks back to the earliest settlers, when the Dutch and later the English brought them from Europe.
During the early 19th century, mass immigration brought on a boom in pickle production, and non-English speaking Polish, German, and Jewish immigrants began selling their pickles to customers on the street using pushcarts. The first peddlers appeared on the Lower East Side in the 1860s, and by 1900, there were about 3,000 pickle vendors throughout the city.Orchard and Essex Streets soon stank of dill and garlic, spilling into walls and tenement buildings in the area, and a citywide fight against the pickle began. By 1940, New York City had banned all street commerce, forcing many picklers to close shop, and only a handful are still around today.

Bringing the pickle to the 21st century
The Lower East Side Partnership’s Pickle Day, which will mark its 19th year on Oct. 14, is “a literal slice of history.”
Although the Tenement Museum takes on the task of retelling the neighborhood’s history year-round, Pickle Day truly brings it to life. The partnership recreates the “bargain district,” pushcarts and all, and features more than 50 local restaurants and vendors, including a few who helped put the area on the pickle map centuries earlier.“Pickle Day really seeks to bring back that community feel,” says Laura Carlson, the design and community development director for the Lower East Side Partnership. But the event welcomes far more attendees than the picklers of yesteryear ever saw, with an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people between Delancey and Houston streets throughout the course of the day.
And while a love of pickles is certainly appreciated, it’s far from necessary. Pickle Day also offers foods like pizza, paninis and ice cream to those who aren’t gung-ho for gherkins, or even for those who need a short break from the salty snack.
The community-oriented event prides itself on having something for all ages, with live DJs, a face-painter, dozens of games (including a pickle toss), balloon animals, and even a life-size, talking pickle on offer. Pickle Day attracts the very youngest of attendees to the very oldest, and four-legged canine friends also are welcome.

Picking the Best Pickles
One of Pickle Day’s shining moments is its annual pickling contest.
With more than 170 submissions just this year, the contest welcomes traditional pickled cucumbers as well as other pickled items — notable entries from previous years include pickled grapes and pickled watermelon. The pickling contest sees submissions from all over the world and this year, will feature a pickled item all the way from Japan.In the past, the contest’s winner has been decided by a panel of expert judges, but this year, the first round of judging will be open to the public. The food industry expert panel will then make the final verdict at 3:30 p.m.

The Pickle Guy(s)
For Al Kaufman, owner of local favorite and Pickle Day star vendor, The Pickle Guys, it’s all about upholding tradition. The pickle aficionado, who worked at Gus’s Pickles before opening his own shop, likes to think of the business as “a living museum.”
The Essex Street shop brings several barrels of its famous pickles to Pickle Day and gives its product away for free. “It’s about paying homage to pickles,” says Kaufman, “and we enjoy doing it.”
And the giveaways seem to pay off. “Pickle Day is always one of our busiest days in the shop because of all the new customers,” the owner explains, noting that many try one pickle at the event and walk to the Pickle Guys store, just four blocks away, to buy a jar or two to take home.
“We make things the right way,” Kaufman says, with reference to the lengthy process his shop goes through to get the perfect pickle. (Sour pickles take about three months to make, while half sour take roughly two weeks.)
Even the smell of dill and garlic that once haunted the Lower East Side has found a loving home at The Pickle Guys. “At least a hundred times a day, I hear people say, ‘wow, that smells like heaven’ when they come into the shop,” Kaufman says with a smile. The pickle vendor, which started with just five barrels of only the classics and has since added 35 more barrels to its regular lineup, some featuring pickled Brussels sprouts, mangoes and pineapple, has participated in Pickle Day every year since it began.
“It’s a really positive thing,” says Kaufman. “It has nothing to do with politics, or race, or anything controversial. It’s just a nice event that celebrates pickles.”
To join in on the pickling good time, head to Orchard Street between Houston and Delancey on Oct 14 from noon to 5 p.m.