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The Joy of Pickling

(article, Liz Crain)

Food preserver and cookbook author Linda Ziedrich never cared much for pickled foods until, in protest against store-bought pickles steeped in dyes and preservatives, she began making her own versions for her son. It was her first fermented pickle, as opposed to vinegar-added pickle, that won her over.

So Ziedrich spent three years compiling techniques and testing globe-spanning pickling recipes. The result was 1998’s The Joy of Pickling, an ideal pickle primer that breaks down pickling techniques and ingredients into easy-to-read, easy-to-apply sections. 

Ziedrich weighs in on the pros and cons of various vinegars, firming agents (for crunchy as opposed to Gumby pickles), kitchen tools, and methods of storing pickles. Her recipes range far afield from vinegary cukes; they include Chinese fermented daikon radish and Russian fermented lemons, pink pickled turnips and French pickled garlic. She even includes chapters on chutneys and salsas; pickled meat, fish, and eggs; and quick pickles ready to eat in two days or less. 

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The Joy of Pickling is filled with pickle history and lore as well as personal recollections; it lacks photos and sports only minimal drawings, but fortunately Ziedrich’s instructions are consistently straightforward and succinct.

This is the kind of comprehensive pickle book you’ll want if the condiment section of your fridge often competes with essentials like fresh fruit and vegetables. Here you’ll learn how to prepare your own pickles, cornichons, and dilly beans along with ketchup, barbecue sauce, and even sour grapes.

p(bio). Liz Crain is a writer in Portland, Oregon.

*Also on Culinate: How to make homemade condiments.


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