Behind the Scenes with Karen Solomon

Karen Solomon

To say that this office loves pickles is an understatement.

To say that we enjoy making our own pickled veggies is also extremely true.

And to say that we were excited to film classes with pickling-expert with Karen Solomon would be false. Our reaction was more along the lines of run-into-the-kitchen-and-frantically-grab-all-the-empty-jars.

So please. Enjoy our all-too-short behind the scenes interview with Karen Solomon.

Where do you live?

San Francisco’s Mission district

Do you have any adorable pets/kids/life partners we need to know about?

So many. My 7-year-old just made his first batch of pickles by himself this weekend. My 4-year-old would eat a jar of jam with a spoon if allowed. My partner Matthew likes the classics: sauerkraut and strawberry jam. My spirit guide and elderly dachshund, Mabel, eats everything but raw kale.

Mabel the Dachshund

How (and when) did you get into canning and pickling and preserves?

I came in through salad dressing. My partner’s mom made the best salad ever and i couldn’t figure out why. It was her dressing! A very classic viniagerette that i still make to this day. That led me to ketchup, mayo, and mustard. Then pickles and jams, but also cured and smoked meat, homemade candy and marshamllows, drying things, salting things, pouring alcohol over things. Kitchen tinkering is a very slippery slope.

What’s the toughest part of what you do?

Finding the time to do it all.

What advice would you give beginners in this field?

Don’t be afraid to experiment and fail.

Where do you go for inspiration or recipe ideas?

Everywhere! Eating out and hunting down food while traveling. Traversing the aisles of ethnic grocery stores. Punk Domestics. Sandor KatzFood in Jars. Instructables. Make and Craft magazines. And the classics: cookbooks, Fine Cooking, Saveur.\

Karen Solomon

How do you make time for the kitchen?

It’s tough! It really is. But this is my job, and more often than not I work either during the day or way into the wee hours.

Who are some of your favorite artists…or cooks, rather?

Too many!

What are your favorite materials/ingredients to work with?

I love daikon; it’s so versatile. I really love Blenheim apricots and Damsom plums; both have a really short season. Apples are always a pleasure, too. When it comes to vinegar, i keep returning to basic distilled white.

What is your most favorite/delicious thing you’ve ever made?

People really love my bacon and corned beef. Oh, and some of the recipes from Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves from Korea, Japan, China, India, and Beyond
— atchara (a Philipino green papaya pickle) and a retro, Chinese celery and red pepper pickle.

Be honest – how much fun is it to film these Creativebug classes?

Seriously fun! But also work! To make it look seamless, we have to cut, reposition, and then start right where we left off. Feels more like filming a comic book page than a video :>

Filming with Karen Solomon

Best and worst/hardest parts of filming a class:

Best: amazing team to work with!

Worst: they take all the finished jars :> (ed. note: We had to, for product shots. And also taste tests. Lots of taste tests.)

Do you like being in front of the camera?

Very much! I’m a big, stinkin’ ham (and former drama chick).

Where can we stalk you online?