Apr 22

When I first came across the Perfect Pickler, it seemed innocuous enough. It didn’t look like some nefarious scam, trying to rake in as much cash as possible before being scandalously exposed. It didn’t have the feel of a new diet trend or the next super food. It did, however, seem like a unitasker (which Alton Brown will tell you is a waste of space), yet another rarely used product to nestle amid the hand-press juicer, the wine decanter and the Slap Chop(TM). Between our beer-brewing equipment and our dehydrator, our dutch oven and our rice cooker, our espresso maker and our soda carbonator (all of which are regularly used), we are quickly running out of space to store gadgets like the Perfect Pickler.

However, my thoughts changed direction after I saw Bill Hettig’s presentation at last night’s Organic Growers Meeting. I won’t regress into hyperbole here by saying it changed my life — it didn’t — but it certainly changed my perspective on pickling. (I’ll be posting a video of the presentation shortly.)

If you’re like me, you probably think you don’t really have a perspective at all on such an obscure subject. But you do. Pickling is the process of putting cucumbers in a brine made with vinegar and dill and letting it soak for some indeterminate amount of time. That’s about the gist of it, right?


There’s actually a lot more to it. Home pickling is a fermentation process that can be applied to just about any firm root or vegetable. The brine soak (vinegar is optional) creates an ideal environment for probiotic bacteria to flourish. These organisms digest the carbohydrates in the vegetables and create that distinct tangy flavor. It’s very similar to the fermentation cycle of beer.

If you know anything about beer making, you’ll realize that pickling, since it is fermentation, could call for a lot of equipment. But the Perfect Pickler is a simple apparatus that makes pressurizing and regulating your pickling jar quite easy. It’s really the gateway to pickling.

Our interest piqued by Bill Hettig’s unassuming presentation and demonstration of the Perfect Pickler, Laura and I picked one up to play with. We may already be up to our ears in DIY, but we’ll certainly make room in our kitchen for this uber compact gadget.

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