It was another muggy afternoon in Riverdale Park, but the farmers market was full of people and in line for one vendor especially, Jason Gallant. Gallant is the owner of In a Pickle, a frequent vendor from Baltimore who sells various types of pickles, olives, pickled peppers, mushrooms and even sauerkraut.
I took home two pints of his pickles last week - the horseradish and his spicy red pepper pickles. The horseradish pickle didn't have the kick I expected but it had the familiar horseradish flavor, and the spicy red pepper pickles will clear your sinuses.
While we were talking Thursday, Gallant told me about his wasabi pickle, another original idea that he said he made shortly after he created the horseradish variety, and I wanted to learn more.
It turns out he was initially in the bagel business for 16 years, and when he was on his way out about three years ago, a friend suggested a pickle business after he saw it in Florida. He's been selling pickles and other pickled goods ever since. He learned how to make pickles with his stepmother when he was about 14.
Gallant has a variety of pickles for sale, including half sours, full sours, garlic, kosher dill, Carolina pickles – which are pickled in lime juice – bread and butter pickles and other concoctions such as Old Bay or sushi pickles.
The sushi pickle is soaked in wasabi and soy sauce instead of using salt.
Although most customers enjoy the pickles straight and on a stick, Gallant said there are a few other ways people can enjoy this snack. The spicy and full-sour pickles are great in tuna or egg salad, and the bread and butter pickles as well as the spicy pickles are great fried. The pickles can also be used to make relish for hot dogs.
The brine in the spicy pickles can also be used as a zero-calorie salad dressing, a great marinade for chicken and fish and even, when mixed with vodka, a great Bloody Mary.
Gallant can be found weekly at Riverdale Park's farmers market as well as Baltimore's Sunday market and Eastern Market in Washington, D.C.