Pickles, Wonder Food of the Future; or all about carflickles

I thought pickles were a nothing food, no value, no calories, not really food, just salt. I thought they were just there on my plate in a restaurant for the crunch and the pucker, you know? Something sorta green on the plate to make it look like there’s more variety? Turns out I was wrong.

According to an old book my mom sent me called All About Pickling (Ortho Books, 1975): “The art of pickling predates recorded history. It’s roots probably go deep into Chinese culture. We know that laborers on the Great Wall of China ate lunches of salted vegetables…. Cleopatra valued pickles as a secret of beauty and health. She introduced them to Julius Caesar and soon he added pickles to the daily diets of the Roman legions and gladiators, thinking pickles would help keep the men in top physical condition…. The ‘new world’ was even named after a Spanish pickle dealer ‘Americus Vespucius.’… Early Puritan settlers believed that pickles should be served daily as a ‘sour’ reminder to be thankful for the ‘sweet’ gifts of the land.”

I had no idea America was named after a pickle dude. How weird is that?

So I just had to make some!!

I made a few other food items this weekend, too, actually. From left to right: six cups of cooked down strawberry puree sweetened with maple syrup to use as flavoring for homemade yogurt (I bought a yogurt maker to start cookin that treat myself!), eight pints of strawberry jam (only three left from the first batch I made in late June), a jar full of apricot fruit leather (yummo!!), a half-filled jar of dried blueberries (eight cups of fresh berries made only THAT much? SOOOO not worth the effort), three quarts of a pickled vegetable medley which I like to call carflickle (carrots and cauliflower, in a pickling brine with purple onions, garlic, and dill), and dilly beans (pickled green beans). Whew! And if you think I’m tuckered out…yup, you’d be guessin right!

But all the produce is local and mostly organic, and I’m trying hard to do what I can within my current means (financial and time) to preserve some of this summer bounty for the long winter ahead when the cool, crisp crunch of pickled cauliflower might bring us back to that lovely Saturday in August when we spent the day at J and S’s house puttin’ up our veggies. (J and S went to Peru in Jan. on the same trip as I did — they are good people, those two.) Ah, but do pickled veggies really have any food value?

On this count the book shared some interesting nutritional facts that surprised me. For instance, the brining solution is high in potassium. The “vitamin A content of fresh produce is actually increased through the pickling process. Even though some of the vitamin C is decreased, pickles still retain richer deposits of the vitamin than other processed foods. … Vinegar prevents oxidation which allows the vitamin to escape from cut surfaces.”

Who knew? Well, other than my grandma, and pretty much all the immigrants who came to our country and homesteaded, and well, most people throughout the world. Ah, yes, well, okay, so I’m late in coming to this but at least I’m gettin there! I’ll be sure to report how they came out when we crack ’em open in November or December. Hope it’s worth the wait. πŸ™‚

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7 Responses

  1. “pickles were a nothing food, no value, no calories, not really food” – watch your mouth πŸ™‚

    Pickles are the four food groups. Not one of the food groups. They ARE the food groups. I love pickles πŸ™‚

    All that pickling sounds great. I’ll be ready for that report in November πŸ™‚

  2. Ah, do you eat all kinds of pickles? Sweet ones, too? I’ve never enjoyed sweet pickles, but I know some folks love em. What’s your favorite?

  3. I like the salty ones better, although my Grandma would take some sandwich pickles, put in some cinnamon sticks and some other stuff and a few days later they would taste sweeter, but better.

    I guess I didn’t explain that well, but they were good.

  4. Coincidentally, I was just looking in my pickling book and saw a recipe that called for cinnamon sticks in pickles. Now I know! Who woulda thunk it, though??

  5. It’s so funny to read this. I was just talking to the BF a couple of days ago saying I couldn’t believe how long it’s been since I did any canning and how I was going to miss all the fresh fruit of summer. He brought up freezing, which I might do some of that. It’s so much easier. LOL.
    My mother used to make bread and butter pickles every year and they were wonderful! Lot better than store-bought, but when you’re dieting…

    Did you know if you’re craving sweets, you can curb that by eating a dill pickle? I thought it was pretty crazy when I first read it as a diet tip, but it worked for me.

  6. Thanks for the tip about pickles and food craving. I’ll definitely have to try that!

    Last week we bought a freezer, btw. I just don’t think I can keep up preserving enough when I start teaching again, so a freezer is the next best thing.

  7. […] – bookmarked by 5 members originally found by edkay on 2008-09-16 Pickles, Wonder Food of the Future; or all about carflickles […]

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