Pickle Your Fancy

south boston, va
Do you ever wake up wishing for pickles? I admit it’s a funny craving for the morning, but it’s exactly what I wanted when I woke up today. Not just any pickles, the pickles from my wedding, almost 1 year ago. The pickled apricots, watermelon rind, okra, green tomatoes and bread and butter pickles in this picture were made by the local ladies down in South Boston, Virginia, where we wed last October at Berry Hill. We served them the night before we walked down the aisle along side ham biscuits and barbecue chicken and tomato pie and watermelon, watercress and feta salad. We topped it all off with a cobbler of blackberries picked on the Berry Hill grounds, and served ala mode in cast iron skillets. Then we all settled in on cozy blankets and pillows with peanuts and popcorn to watch A Knights Tale on the lawn on a big screen under the stars. These pickles were shot by our friend and photographer James Bowman, and it serves as a beautiful reminder of one of the most memorable meals and nights of my life.
Since the sun is going down on summer, it’s high time you and I start thinking about putting up some pickles for our next memorable meal, which is fortuitous, since today is Farmer’s Market Day in my neighborhood and there are still plenty of okra, peaches and cukes to be had. I’d be quite happy to stay home today and pour spicy, vinegary broth into jars packed with my favorite summer flavors. There’s only one problem. We’ve got the March issue of Food Network Magazine to finish up, and our readers are counting on me. That puts me in quite a pickle.
Let’s make a deal—I’ll give you the recipes, and you make the pickles. Over the next two weeks as we approach my one-year anniversary, I’ll give you these and all the recipes our friends and guests have been asking for from our wedding menu so you can celebrate all the big events in your life.
In the meantime, the test kitchen calls.


Anastasia said...

Well, at seven months pregnant, anything with "pickles" in the title sparks my interest! In a Greek household, I grew up around colorful jars of pickled everything, but nobody ever coached my on creating my own. I look forward to some expert advice and a chance to taste just a piece of those gorgeous nuptual nibbles!

Anonymous said...

Sarah's comments have my mouth watering for a home made pickle; I can't imagine what will happen when I read future blogs about sweets. Although I am not ready to make my own pickles, I will be going to The Boston Common to sample home made pickles from a local vendor there. Thanks, Sarah for reminding me to support local, fresh food initiatives.
I also look forward to reading those wedding recipes, particularly the dessrt ones.

Tara said...

Beautifully preserved seasonal veggies: what an appropriate addition to a wedding menu. Symbolic. And so nice that those flavors will always remind you of the day (and that you can put them up year after year as an anniversary present to yourself).

Michelle said...

An inspiration for fall to start pickling the season's great bounty!

Lola said...

Oh, my! I can almost taste them.

jenny said...

This reminds me of my husband's grandma's famous homemade pickles from Southern Illinois that she use to make seasonally. I had the privilege of tasting one her pickles from her very last canning batch she made. Unfortunately the recipe has been lost and she has left us so I'm thrilled to see your recipes! BTW, I'd give anything for a pickled okra right now!

The Smiths in NYC said...

The setting is so good looking. I would be happy to eat anything in that photo. Great insight Sarah. You always to turn us on to things I would never imagine eating.

Frances said...

Oh this makes me nostalgic for my mom's bread and butter pickles which she made every August when I was growing up. I remember her sweating in our hot unair-conditioned kitchen. Those pickles were later given as Christmas gifts to friends and family. They take me back to a special, slower time.

Thank you, Sarah!

Carrie Suzanne said...

All of your entries are delectable but a whole post about pickles is my dream come true! I just had my first taste of homemade pickles last year and it was a little bit of heaven. Somehow I imagine these recipes might outshine Jake's grandpa's Wisconsin pickles but that man is handy with the dill so I'm excited to test them out.


Kelly said...

Oh, and please don't forget mango pickles! When I was living with my Peace Corps host family in Bangladesh, I remember my host sister, Nira, teaching me how to make those wonderfully tart morsels of mango. And yes Sarah, I do wake up some mornings craving that delicious treat! Thanks for sparking one of my favorite memories.

lisa kim said...

Love the photo! It's funny, I was just talking with my food editor friend Ratha about making pickles! She was telling me how easy it was to make and pointed me to some recipes online (http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/perfecting-quick-pickle)

Can't wait to see all the recipes from your menu!

edible Living said...

The world is full of gifted communicators, and I'm lucky to have many of them as readers of Edible Living. Since I'm so honored and inspired by the words and phrases of others, I had to add this comment that appeared from my friend Klara on my facebook page as a response to this blog.

"Sarah, reading your blog about pickled food (I never thought I would say this) actually makes me want to try my hand at pickling. In my native Hungary pickled cucumbers, bell peppers and green tomatoes, although very much present on the table, were mostly relegated to the periphery. I always thought of them as the unremarkable extras in an otherwise exciting show. Looking at your photo of the various pickled food and reading your account of their culinary enjoyment completely shifts my perception: now I see them as up-and-coming stars with real potential. I want to know about them. Thanks for the inspiration!"

Klara's former perception of pickles as "unremarkable extras in an otherwise exciting show" is so perfectly poetic, but I'm so glad I could help to change her mind.

My photo
New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.