Pickling is an ancient culinary practice. Preserving in brine dates back 4,000 years to India, when perishable vegetables were submerged in salted liquids in order to last during long voyages. Sailors eventually packed beef and pork in salted barrels, resulting in pickled meat.
We’ve never abandoned our love of this old-world food art, and pickling has experienced a beautiful and creative rise in recent years.
In Louisiana, one chef is making a lacto-fermented Southern sweet corn for a salad. You’ll find locally foraged, pickled spruce tips on a North Carolina menu, and pickled beaver meat in New York City. Bartenders are joining in, with pickled kumquats landing in a Mai Tai in California and a closely guarded recipe for cocktail onions, briefly brined in Zatarin’s Crab Boil, down in New Orleans.
Here’s where to move beyond a mere dill spear in 2016, as well as a recipe you can make at home.