“Blueberry jalapeño preserves with sage goes excellent with cream cheese on a bagel,” said Pickle Baron co-owner John Nutting.
“I love jams and pickles — and healthy snacks — so I started from there,” added Divine Dining By Dustan caterer and co-owner Dustan Carpenter. “My grandmother was a pickler and I have developed my own flavors through trial and error. It is definitely a passion of mine”
Carpenter and Nutting started selling pickles, jams and chutneys less than a year ago after putting their goods for sale on the Key West Yard Sale page on Facebook. They said they discovered there was a huge demand.
“I quit my job to do this full time and Dustan is only working three days a week now to keep up with the demand. Everything is done by hand so it is quality, but time consuming,” said Nutting.
The laborious process starts with hand slicing fresh Florida grown vegetables and placing them just so in jars manufactured in the U.S. Hot brine is poured on the pickles to keep them crunchy, and then they are pasteurized and allowed to cure for three weeks.
“Commercial pickle jarring companies boil the pickles in the brine to speed up the process but the vegetables loose their crunchiness,” Carpenter said.
Flavors in the brine include jalapeños, habañeros, Serrano, red pepper flakes, cider vinegar as well as Key West signature flavors such as Key lime juice and mango in recipes such as the Key Lime Pickled Okra and Hawaiian Pickled Mango.
Custom jams and pickled fruits and vegetables are available by request, but the customer must order by the case.
“We are making coco plum jam for the Old Town Manor Guest House. They have a huge tree in the backyard and the owners love the taste of the unique fruit,” said Nutting.
The Pickle Baron’s chutneys and jams make an excellent companion for fish or chicken. Carpenter recommends putting some jalapeño pepper jelly on fish tacos or roasted yellow tomato sauce on fresh mahi or chicken.
Once the jar is empty, make sure to save the brine.
“The juice is a great marinade, it has electrolytes so it is good for runners and it makes an excellent martini,” said Carpenter. “Save the brines!”
The entire product line will be in stores in about a month. Jars are being shipped to the FDA laboratory in Gainesville, Florida and the new labels with nutritional facts are being created. Products are also available at the Green Market in Bayview Park every other Thursday. Pickles, jams and chutneys are $8 a jar or two for $15.
Pickle Baron Favorites
- Wicked Hot Jalapeño Pickles
- Dill-Iscious Pickles
- Key Lime Bread & Butter Pickles
- Horseradish Pickles* ($10)
- Fiery Pickled Green Beans
- Hawaiian Pickled Mango
- Conch Candy (Canol Ed Jalapenos)
- Mojito Pickles
- Basil-Ginger Pickles
- Key Lime Pickled Okra
Jams, Jellies & Preserves:
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam With Serrano Peppers And Ginger
- Bacon Onion Jam* ($12)
- Blueberry Jalapeño Preserves With Sage
- Habañero Pepper Jelly
- Jalapeño Pepper Jelly (not too hot)
- Roasted Yellow Tomato Sauce
- Mango-Pineapple-Pear Chutney
- Mango-Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- Hot Green Papaya Mango Chutney