- January 21st, 2015
- Comments Off on Bread and Butter Pickles – A Real Winner
It may not comes as shock to those who follow us closely, but we take great pride in the work we do around here. We think our goods, wares and preserves are all pretty great. The real test is submitting to a large nationwide competition, like the Good Food Awards. Not only are the Good Food Awards spec’d to a class (preserves, pickles, etc), but they delve into each ingredient, looking for provenance on your pickles – making sure that each has been grown righteously. So what then does it say when our Bread and Butter Pickles walk away with a shiny medal? We’ve done something right.
For our Bread and Butter Pickles, it all starts with cucumbers and onions. The onions we chose aren’t those normally used in this style of pickle, which traditionally play second fiddle to the cucumbers, but are Walla Walla onions renowned for their sweetness and flavor and cut big enough to make them as much a part of the pickle as the cucumbers. We get both, the onions and cucumbers, from Genesis Growers in St. Anne, Illinois – a collective of growers with a focus on lovely produce. The cucumbers and onions are washed thoroughly, cut thin – just how we like them – and brined in an icy saltwater bath. The cukes and onion soak for a couple of hours drawing in saltwater and shredding a bit of their cell structure in the process – allowing the flavor flood in. After their bath, they are only drained – not rinsed; we keep a bit of the salt in/on now so we don’t have to add more in later. Jars are pulled and dosed with our signature blend of mustard and celery seed, then the drained onion & pickles are packed in behind. Here then is more of our spin: we add cider vinegar – which is traditionally an English style pickle, instead of the usual single-note distilled vinegar – and add sugar and fresh turmeric. Let’s not glaze over the importance of the fresh turmeric either, the aromatic and floral quality is at the crux of making the best possible pickle. Now that the jars are full of flavor, they are bubbled to remove air pockets, topped, and processed.
All of these twists and ingredient tweaks were born from loathing the sweet pickle. When our preservationist started with us, she didn’t exactly love sweet pickles. Most were cloying, unbalanced, with not the right amount of punch and next-to-no depth. Until she started to fiddle with a Ball Jar recipe, switching out the tired and uninspired for rich and flavorful. Then something happened – the jaded became inspired and infatuated, she found sweet pickles can be awesome! It was all about picking the best quality spices, hand selecting the quality ingredients from the best local growers that made for an award-winning pickle.
Turns out the folks The Good Food Awards know a winner when they taste it. Get your “pickles” winner on our shelf or shipped to your mailbox today!