Hi I’m Sara and I have been interning with Global Generation at the Skip Garden for the past five months. When I am not at the Skip Garden I am working on my pickle business - Bloch’s Pickles. I started pickling back in November when I had just come back from an urban farm in San Francisco where they run occasional pickle workshops. I was shown the simple technique of pickling and was inspired to continue experimenting with this ancient technique when I got back to the UK. When I pickle I feel that I am reclaiming techniques that have been relegated to factories, and also gain a deep sense of connection to my Jewish cultural heritage.
Pickling was an essential food preservation technique for Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. Women would make them to spice up often boring diets of potatoes and bread, and would prepare big barrels which they would sell in the markets. Jews have been dispersed all over the world and pickles have travelled with them. When there was a large migration of Jews to USA in the 1880s the pickle was popularised as Kosher deli’s popped up in the Lower East Side.
I think that the success of my pickles in my local community has been due to the traditional flavour combination of dill, garlic and peppercorn which reminds them of pickles that their mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers used to make in place in Eastern Europe like Poland and Lithuania (as did my Grandmother). I know use my pickle business as a vehicle to talk about the the power of food to connect us to our cultural heritages and each other, and the importance of locality and seasonality to the our environment.
I was so excited to have to opportunity to share the essence my business with the young people who are part of the Generator programme at the Skip Garden last week. After learning about various different preservation techniques including drying, fermenting, canning and immersing in oil we made a special edition of Bloch’s classic cucumber pickles. We sold the jars during the week in the cafe. The young people were fantastic at making them look professional and were surprised at how quick and easy the pickling process is. The young people shared their experiences of eating preserved food from their own cultural heritages which included an Algerian dish made with lamb and dried fruit and olives, as well as preserved pineapple in from Columbia.
Thank you to the Global Generation for this brilliant opportunity and to the Generators for taking part. I hope you continue to experiment with food preservation techniques at home!
To find out more about my pickles and to make a purchase visit www.blochspickles.com