You may notice something different next time you bite into one of our Italian sandwiches–something tart, vinegary and full of bite! As we relish any opportunity to create sandwich ingredients in-house we’ve started up our own pickling program turning baby cucumbers into the perfect pickle overnight with a little help from our girl Martha Stewart. Her recipe of course- but hey Martha if you’re out there feel free to stop by! Now I love pickles- so much that you’ll often hear me advise my fellow coworkers “A pickle a day keeps the doctor away!” Although no one should take my advice as I’m not a licensed professional. So in order to achieve the perfect trifecta of crunch, brine and tang I decided to do get some inspiration from the makers of Sour Puss Pickles. These people know there stuff since pickles are their bread and butter!
Sour Puss Pickles is a small batch pickling company based out of Brooklyn, NY that started out as most artisan foods do- a longtime hobby in one’s kitchen. I had the opportunity to talk to Chris about his journey from pickle amateur to pickle pro. Starting with ramps (you know those seasonal wild onions that everyone goes buckwild over) Chris and his business partner Evelyn pickled these little guys for ages and finally when all the starts aligned around 5 years ago they found the time to devote the craft into a business. “In many ways it was a knee jerk reaction to something that we both loved to do. And, it seemed to work out, with the occasional growing pains here and there,” Chris told me, but luckily those growing pains weren’t in vein as they were recent recipients of a Good Food Award and named a finalist for a Sofi Awards- and this ain’t the first time!
From time to time Sour Puss will work to source pickling ingredients from local distributors, but generally will work directly with the farming community. On getting the perfect pickle Chris says, “We like to source with farmers who specialize in certain vegetables. We want the vegetable to be the best possible vegetable available, and from that everything else will fall in to place. If you start with the best, then it is pretty easy to succeed.” And that they do with a variety of crazy pickled products from curried cauliflower (a classic favorite) to celery to green beans. Of their pickles that illicit the biggest reaction Chris tells me, “It is usually the pickled Ghost Peppers, or the scapes. A lot of people we talk to at markets haven’t heard of a scape, but the flavor is very desirable in my opinion. It’s like Garlic Lite.” As for the ones you can find here at American Provisions, we are currently carrying Curry Cauliflower, Green Tomatoes, Golden Beets and Ghost Peppers. Be like me and simply snack on ’em or throw them onto an antipasto, chop up and add a bite to a sandwich, toss ’em into a pasta salad- there are endless pickle possibilities. Chris gets down to the nitty gritty with me about their mission, “We are just trying to be true to the art of pickling and preserving; by preserving ingredients in season, in order to enjoy them out of season.”
So as we enter spring and finally start seeing some local produce popping up try out some pickling techniques, use Sour Puss Pickles as inspiration and as always we’re here to advise. In the meantime, check out our new pickles and please give us your feedback. As the program is in it’s infancy we’re dedicated to gherkin on the recipe until it’s perfect!