Every wednesday I review a cookbook to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich. When I first got this book I said to myself, “Am I really going to make pickles. Aren’t pickles just cucumbers and vinegar. Plus, don’t pickles take forever to make.” I had it all wrong, after reading this book I realized that I had a lot of misconceptions about pickles. Plus, what I learned about pickling turned me instantly into a pickling type of person.

Pickling can be quick
When I think of pickles I usually think of the ones that you buy in the store that come in the neon green brine. I was under the impression that they take forever to make. You need to get canning equipment, tons of salt and vinegar, and boil and let sit for months. To my surprise pickling can take as little as 10 minutes. I made burgers the other day and topped them with a quick pickle of onions and jalapenos that I found right in this book. They were the best part of the burger. No cooking or canning required. Just soaking in a brine of salt and vinegar. My first misconception was dismissed. Plus, the quick pickles were awesome.

Pickles are not just made from cucumbers
Linda has recipes for all types of vegetables, fruits, meats, fish and eggs. Who knew you could pickle meat. You can pickle beef, pig’s feet, oysters, shrimp, mussels and all types of eggs. Reading about the pickled eggs reminded me of when I was in college. During my ten year in college I spent some time in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Wisconsin. Every bar had pickled eggs and now thanks to this book I can recreate the lost memories by making some eggs of my own. You can definitely pickle more than just cucumbers. My second misconception was dismissed.

Pickling is an International Affair
Pickling is done in every culture. You have Irish corned beef, Swedish Gravlax, Hungarian Summer Pickles, Chinese Fermented Daikon, Vietnamese Pickled Bean Sprouts, Korean Kimchi and numerous others. My favorite and the one that I am totally going to make is German Sauerkraut. I have been making my own brats, so why shouldn’t I make my own sauerkraut. This book has a great recipe for sauerkraut, you will be seeing a post on sauerkraut soon.

Overall this book is awesome. Buy fresh produce that is on sale and pickle it so that it keeps until you need it. There really isn’t a better book for this economy. Plus, pickles are just plane ole tasty. I forgot to mention that they have a couple of recipes for standard dill pickles. I haven’t made any yet, but I am sure that they will be 100 times better than the ones from the store.

If you would like to learn more about pickles or get any of the recipes for the pickles that I have listed above I suggest that you go out and buy this book. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.

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