the perfect souvenir.

At the French Broad Food Co-op in Asheville, I filled up on package-free red wine vinegar to take back with me to Chicago. I've enjoyed the vinegar in salads, homemade pickles, and sauces since my return.

I've been avoiding purchasing already-bottled vinegar as much as possible since I found out that liquids can be purchased from bulk dispensers in reused jars and vessels. Even when plastic or glass jars are recyclable, they still take energy to produce and recycle. And the plastic seals go into the landfill.

It's a fun treasure hunt to look through different grocery stores for olive oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, and shampoo sold in bulk. I weigh my glass jars brought from home, fill them up, and check out. I love how efficient the system and how it allows me to re-use glass jars indefinitely. Red wine vinegar is something I hadn't been able to find at my local groceries, so I'd been going without. I'm happy that I have it in my pantry again.

This recipe for quick pickles with red wine vinegar is an inventive, delicious twist on an old classic. Don't worry about tracking down every ingredient - they pickles will still be tasty even without the horseradish, fennel, or juniper berries.