Last of Seven to First in Show
As the youngest of seven kids, Elizabeth Osterman-Brown jokes that she learned to love vegetables early on because they were usually what was left at the dinner table after her siblings elbowed her out of the way to get their pick of everything else.
That hard-won passion served her well later in life when she started Last of Seven, a pickle company, a year ago, naming it appropriately enough, Last of Seven.
It also provided her the last laugh, when her Last of Seven LO7 Original Pickled Carrots won a 2022 Good Food Award.
Her company, based in San Francisco and Santa Barbara, sources California-grown carrots, asparagus and other veggies, then bathes them in distilled vinegar plus herbs and spices. The pickles are gluten-free and certified kosher, too.
These snappy, crunchy pickles are tangy but not wincingly puckery, as I found when I tried samples recently.
I can see why the LO7 is so lauded. The skinny orange and yellow carrot sticks, packed like soldiers at attention in the glass jar, are redolent of tarragon, and get a hint of spice from jalapenos and mustard seeds. Enjoy these alongside any kind of burger or sandwich.
The Spicy Pickled Carrots carry a good wallop of heat from red pepper flakes, plus the warmth of ginger. Yuzu zest, orange zest, and black sesame seeds add an unexpected Japanese touch. They proved the perfect little side dish to a dinner of homemade Japanese pork curry with rice.
The Bourbon Pickled Carrots are cooked in a brine of Kentucky aged bourbon, smoked salt and maple syrup. Smoky and sweet, these pickles will make you sit up and take notice with their unusual flavors. Just think what fun they would be on a charcuterie platter. Osterman-Brown made these pickled carrots as a tribute to her father, a Nashville native who advised her that the most irresistible perfume she could ever wear on a date was a bit of bourbon dabbed behind her ears.
Thin spears and tips get brined with garlic, shallots, and black peppercorns in the Original Asparagus. They maintain a nice crispiness, with their natural grassiness tamed a bit by the vinegar. Add these to a garden salad, tuna salad sandwich or atop deviled eggs.
The pickles are available in 9-ounce jars for $15 on the Last of Seven site.