One Of These Pickles Is Not Like The Others

Which of these baby dill brands has chef Glenys Morgan in a pickle: Safeway, Western Family or Bicks?

I like all kinds of pickles; pickled onions, beets, dills, I like them all. Sweet, garlicky, briny—each has its own dynamic. I like them on their own or paired with other foods: cornichons with pâté, sliced dills on burgers and of course onions in martinis.

Lately I’ve noticed that many companies that produce pickles are heading to India, the land of chutneys, for their production. One of my tasting team, who makes hundreds of jars of chutneys and pickles each year, has gone the same route for inspiration. Tasting the dills, we began to notice a certain je ne se quoi, a hint of the unusual: coriander—that was it.

Safeway and Western Family pickles have a hint of what could be described as good old fashioned pickling spice, rather than just dill. I liked them both, but for the classic beef burger, I have to say Bicks’ Ultimate Garlic is the ultimate match to the cheddar, bacon and tomato that should top it off.

Still, if you’re doing lamb burgers, that little hint of the exotic might just be the thing: a touch of coriander, whole grain mustard and tzatziki.

Make Your Own Pickling Spice Sachets

If pickling doesn’t tickle your inner Martha, maybe a gift of pickling spices might yield a few jars of tasty pickles coming your way from someone who does.

1/4 cup mustard seeds
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup dill seeds
2 tbsp peppercorns
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp cloves
About two-dozen bay leaves

Blend together all ingredients except bay leaves. Cut four-inch squares of cheesecloth and fill with about two teaspoons of mixture plus a bay leaf.
Tie with cotton string (both cheesecloth and string available at the grocery or hardware store) into sachets.
Makes about two dozen. Pop into a canning jar or bag and they’re ready to use for pickling.

For more ideas on everything from pickled garlic cloves to pecan grape conserve for cheese lovers, see our own local diva’s book Well Preserved—Small Batch Canning for the New Cook, by Mary Anne Dragan, available at Barbara-Jo’s Books To Cooks.

Photo: C. Phaisalakani

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