Preserving Local Flavors Through Pickling and the Happy Girl Kitchen Co.

DIY Pickles

As healthy food and eating locally have gained more traction, pickling is no longer an old-fashioned past-time of our grandmothers. Eco-friendly folks are aiming to re-gain control of the food supply, and many of us are looking at ways to preserve local, organic food while it’s in season. What better method than pickling?

Brooklyn is particularly known for embracing the locavore movement, which I read in a NY Times article over a year ago. Case in point, when I last visited, I checked out a flea market in Fort Greene, and was amazed at the number of people selling their home-pickled wares. I was notably impressed with the number of pickled beets on the scene. I’ve since learned that you can pickle just about anything!

Happy Girl Kitchen Co. pickles

Not surprising then, to discover a plethora of pickling activity in San Francisco. For example, I found the Happy Girl Kitchen Co. at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market a couple weekends ago. The Happy Girl Kitchen Co., based in Oakland and certified organic, is known for its highly refined preserving techniques and sells pickled beets, carrots and dill pickles, as well as sauerkraut and kombucha. (And fruit preserves. And canned tomatoes. And, and.)

Happy Girl Kitchen Co., sauerkraut and kimchee

I’ve been meaning to try pickling myself after tasting a friend’s pickled beans that were inspiring. But where to start? Happy Girl Kitchen Co. offers a variety of workshops. Classes are a bit pricey, but then again, you’re paying for a lifetime of knowledge. I also heard from a friend that the Joy of Cooking has a great recipe, and I noticed that Alice Waters included a recipe in her most recent book, In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn By Heart. With all the Persian pickles and tiny, fresh carrots at the farmers’ markets right now, I’d say it’s high time to start pickling!

Image: rachel is coconut lime