For centuries, whole cultures have been sustained through the use of a variety of food preservation practices such as fermenting, pickling, conserving, canning and drying. And while these practices fall in and out of favor year after year, today they are enjoying a revival on menus in surprising new ways. “Pickling” is no longer reserved for the infamous dill spear that is a diner plate standard, and “conserves” are no longer made up of only fruit and sugar. The processes have been successfully applied to various food items, adding sour, salty, tart and bold flavor profiles to a variety of dishes.
- Fermentation and pickling grabbed the #1 and #2 spots on the top 5 preparation methods of the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot 2013” chef’s survey, among other culinary trend prediction lists.
- These techniques are not only opportunities to preserve vegetables, but also to add nutritive value and a little fun.
- Due to the bacteria that is created during fermentation, fermented food items provide essential vitamins, minerals and proteins.
- Incorporation of pickled and preserved foods can help you easily capitalize on consumer desire for bolder flavors. According to Technomic’s 2012 Ethnic Food and Beverage Consumer Trend Report, more than three out of five consumers say they eat ethnic fare instead of traditional foods because they are looking for something different (64 percent) and because they want to discover new flavors (61 percent). And with nearly every culture on the planet having a fermented item as part of their food traditions, the options and opportunities for fermented menu additions are endless.
- Fermented and pickled foods can add customization to your menu and provide a colorful addition to the plate, regardless of the application.