#119 – Gas Station Pickled Food

#119 – Gas Station Pickled Food

This is Recipe Roundup, episode 119. This is the final installment in my series on Gas Station and Convenience foods. This one is perhaps the most daunting…but in my opinion can sometimes be the most rewarding : Pickled foods. 


Let’s start with the obvious – there is an implicit sanitation risk with any self-serve bulk bin of food. Nostalgically, nothing beat fishing something out of a big barrel – however, the chance of eating something not very good definitely increases. Lucky for us, many classic barrel foods come in individual packages these days! 


I’ll start with the most basic – a cucumber pickle. I’ll always opt for a garlic flavored pickled if it’s available, but what most pouch pickles have in common is that they are super sour and super salty. Even as a pickle lover, the only time I find myself reaching for one is when I am low on electrolytes for whatever reason. There are some fancier brands like Sucker Punch and Oh Snap! Which are a little more palatable on a regular day. A special shoutout to Sucker Punch for their pickle juice sold in a bottle – if you are a pickle fan in need of a low sugar sports drink, this is everything. 


The next gas station pickle I became aware of was the pickled egg. Floating in bright red liquid, I was always terrified of this snack which gave off mad scientist vibes at the checkout counter. LEt me assuage these fears – there is nothing quick like a pickled egg. Unfortunately, this is the food that I must insist you make for yourself UNLESS you find a tried and true source. I’m not a big fan of any of the common brands you might find in gas stations or little shops. I have had a good amount of luck with individually packaged beet pickled eggs, but still if you get the hankering, I recommend seeking out a deli or a good recipe. 


Pickled sausage is quite a different matter altogether. This food stuff was MADE for the gas station. Like pickled eggs, I was very skeptical until a friend and I were traveling through West Virginia a few years ago. We asked the young woman running the register how often she sold anything from the jar of Herb’s Hot Pickled Sausages on the counter. She responded so positively that we had to try it for ourselves. Life changing. We tested out a lot of different pickled sausages that trip. 


The Big Mama and Tijiunana Mama are extremely easy to find, but my personal opinion is that they are a bit thick for my taste. To their credit, the vinegar flavor absolutely does get to the center of the sausage, it’s just A LOT of sausage. My personal favorite is Firecracker – they are super thin and just the right size to give you a little spark. 


If you are lucky enough to find a smaller regional brand of pickled sausage, eggs, or vegetables, definitely opt for that! It’s a common jarred food in Mennonite and Amish grocery shops and sometimes you can find them in gas stations and convenience stores. 


You can find Recipe Roundup on our website at Allegheny Mountain Radio. Org. For Recipe Roundup, this is Sage Tanguay.


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