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Pickle Frenzy

DIY pickles is the latest food craze.


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courtesy of cultured pickle shop

Pickling and preserving foods is all the rage. Cooking classes on canning, house-made pickles on restaurant menus, probiotic-supplemented everything: Seems as if everyone is eager for a taste of briny, crunchy, sour, or sweet, along with the health benefits associated with these fermented foods.

Luckily, Cultured, one of the Berkeley farmers markets’ most beloved vendors and one of eight artisans selected for 2008’s Slow Food Nation Pickle Pavilion, now has a space where pickled produce devotees can converge for tastings, tours, and shopping.

Located in a hip industrial space in Berkeley’s warehouse district, Cultured Pickle Shop is a commercial kitchen and store. A chalkboard advertises seasonal specials, all sourced from local family farms, while a refrigerator holds rows of charming hand-labeled jars.

In addition to sauerkraut and kim chee, owners Alex Horzven and Kevin Farley focus on ancient artisanal Japanese styles of fermentation such as tsukemono and kazu sake, which utilize rice bran or sake dregs to preserve different vegetables, such as turnips, carrot, or daikon. (Cultured utilizes by-products from nearby Takara Sake Brewery.)

Snappy beet with fennel seed, Armenian cucumber with ginger, mint, and fresh turmeric, or zesty purple heirloom carrots with red onion and dill are just a few delicious examples.

800 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, (510) 540-5185, culturedpickleshop.com.

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