Maybe it’s the flavor, maybe it’s the crunch, or the spiciness, and/or the smell? Or maybe it’s a combination of all these things that results in the perfect pickle. We all might (or should) have our favorite type, vegetable, brand, etc. of pickle food, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself why and what about that pickle makes it so enjoyable? In thinking about new recipes for this Spring/Summer, I began to ponder the question: what makes the perfect pickle?! Sure, the answer to this question is certainly in the mouth of the pickle eater, but in general it seems that most people enjoy the same qualities of the “ideal” pickle. Several weeks ago, while out with some friends at a local farm-to-table joint, I came up with the idea for a new blog segment: Pickle’pinon- a review of locally produced pickles. Not only does this allow me to review pickles based on several indices, but let’s be honest, it also gives me the opportunity to taste a hell of a lot of pickles!
As a disclaimer I must say that while I like pickles (A LOT), this in no way gives me any clout or say in what makes one pickle better than another. The idea here is to introduce and showcase different pickles from chefs, restaurants, and farms around the Seacoast region.
Littered with colorful quart jars filled to the brim with preserved veggies (!!!), chef Matt Louis from Moxy, the modern American tapas restaurant in downtown Portsmouth, generously offered up a jar of these turnip pickles for review.
The Goods: Pickled Scarlett turnips; prepared by Matt Decker; veggies sourced from Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH.
Bottom of the Jar: Boasting a strong taste of vinegar, these pickled turnip slices exhibit a tangy yet tart flavor that kept me going back from more. In so much that my mouth was left with that feeling you get after eating an entire pineapple. 🙂 I sampled these pickles with a multi-grain cracker and some fresh thyme, but I envision them pairing well with a mildly-spiced lamb dish or thinly sliced and used as a garnish atop a micro-green salad. Yum!
Crunch Factor… (1-5): I give these turnip pickles a 2 on the crunch factor (5 being super crunchy and 1 minimal crunch). Having pickled turnips before, I have to assume that these turnips were blanched before water-bath processing resulting in a softer pickle. While I’m not sure that I’d eat too many of these fresh out of the jar, I would enjoy them served with a more crunchy pickle.
Thanks to the Matts and Moxy for allowing me to explore this new idea of mine. I can’t wait to try more of their jar creations. If you are a Seacoast pickle maker and are interested in contributing pickles for this review, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email… Heck, I’ll even travel to you to pick up that jar.