Pickles: A Little History Behind Them

Pickles: A Little History Behind Them

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Do you love pickles? If they’re one of your favorite treats, you might want to learn a bit more about them, including when they were first introduced to the public. Although you probably already know that a pickle starts as a cucumber, there are many other exciting things to learn about pickles.

So the next time you go to eat one, you’ll remember what you’ve learned from this blog, and you can share that knowledge with others! In case you missed this post, Quick Pickled Cucumbers

My Favorite: Jar Opener

Pickles: A Little History Behind Them

The Start of the Pickle

It might seem like pickles became popular several decades or centuries ago, but there is reason to believe they’ve been around since as early as 2030 BC. That was an incredibly long time ago! At that time, cucumbers growing in India were pickled and then served.

However, they probably weren’t always called pickles from the beginning because the name pickle comes from the word Pokel, which is German and means salt or salty. People in India wouldn’t have known that.

While pickles have existed for ages, it’s now easier than ever before to find different varieties. If you love pickles, there’s a good chance that you like to switch it up from time to time, trying different types of pickles to see which ones are your absolute favorite.

The Many Types of Pickles

You can find pickles in plastic or glass containers that are readily available at the supermarket. There are several variations available for customers to buy. One of the most popular types of pickles is the kosher dill pickle.

It has a slightly tangy taste with the perfect texture to go with nearly anything, including hamburgers, lunchmeat sandwiches, and more. People will often chop these pickles into pieces and add them to their salads, such as macaroni and pasta salad.

Although the kosher dill pickles are a top choice, they’re not the only ones you can easily find and enjoy. Sweet Bread and Butter pickles add a lovely touch to any sandwich. So if you like that sweeter taste over a zesty and slightly tangy flavor, these are the kinds of pickles worth buying for your household. They’re available in spears and chips, but you might be able to find whole sweet pickles, too.

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Sour pickles are available for people who love that tangy taste. Spicy pickles are available for people who want to get a bit of a kick when biting into one of their favorite treats.

If you don’t mind a bit of spice, you can try one of these spicy pickle options. Some are hotter than others, but it depends on the brand you choose and the types of ingredients used in the pickling process.

How to Make Them at Home

Besides buying delicious pickles at the grocery store, you can try to make them at home to see if you like the way your homemade batch of pickles will taste. Before you get started, you’ll need several cucumbers.

Rinse your cucumbers off, and then cut them to your liking. You might want to cut them into spears or circles, depending on what you prefer. After cutting the pickles, prepare your brine.

The pickle brine will typically consist of different ingredients, such as apple cider vinegar, dill seed, mustard seed, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Of course, you can add other elements, such as fresh dill and maple syrup.

The exact ingredients added to the brine for your pickles will depend primarily on the specific type of pickle you’re trying to prepare. For example, if you want them to taste spicy, you’d add more red pepper flakes, along with other spices that pack a punch.

It’s important to let your cucumber slices soak in the brine for an extended period. It allows the cucumbers to soak up the spice and juice flavors, ultimately transforming from cucumbers to pickles in the process.

The process is worth a try, especially if you’re a pickle lover who’d like to experiment with different flavors. Search for other recipes online that you can try. You can try a new recipe each week until you find the perfect one that leaves you with incredible pickles each time.

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What to Do with Pickles

Pickles are the perfect food because they’re good for you, low in calories, and delicious. However, they’re also so versatile that you can do a lot with them. If you’re not sure what to do with pickles, consider trying some of these different options.

Fried Pickles

More people are trying and enjoying fried pickles than ever before. Toss your pickles in seasoned flour and place them in oil, allowing the batter to become crispy before placing them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

You can serve them right away with a dipping sauce of your choice. If you want them to be extra crunchy, dip them in flour, egg, and then into panko breadcrumbs before tossing them into the hot oil.

Food Toppings

Pickles are the perfect topping for many different foods, including hamburgers and hot dogs. You can slice them into thin pieces and add them to a burger or chop them into small pieces and place them on top of your hoagie. They can also add flavor and texture to your favorite sandwich, like ham and cheese with mayo.

Mark and I love to add pickle pieces to our mixtures used in sandwiches like chicken salad, tuna, egg salad, and more. Mark particularly likes the bread and butter pickles, I really enjoy dills.

Salads

Dice your pickles and add them to your family’s pasta salad recipe. The diced pickles add the perfect tangy touch to a salad consisting of pasta, mayo, hard-boiled egg, and seasonings.

While there are so many things to do with pickles, these are a few great options. You may also want to prepare pickle soup, make bread pickle pieces to bake in the oven or prepare in the air fryer, and even make your thin-sliced pickle chips.

Final Word

If you’re a pickle lover, know that they’ve been around for a long time, and lots of people love them for their texture and taste. You can make them at home using cucumbers and brine or buy them at the store, whichever you prefer. When you have pickles at home, you can prepare different recipes using pickles as a critical ingredient. May God Bless this world, Linda

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29 Comments

  1. I love the extra sour pickles as well as dill and most others, but could never get into the hot or sweet pickles. However, my wife absolutely loves the bread and butter pickles, so we always have a variety of pickles in the fridge.

    From time to time I’ll make my own pickles by reusing the brine from my favorite super sour pickles: Sour Sis by Van Holten’s. I fill a quart canning jar a bit over half way with the brine I saved from the pickle packages then fill the jar with as many small cucumber spears as I can fit in without overcrowding. I screw on a canning lid as tight as possible without damaging anything then store the jar in the back of the fridge and let things soak for 3-4 weeks before enjoying. I’ve successfully reused the brine twice, but by the third time it’s too diluted and makes things taste more metallic than sour. At that point I discard the used brine, wash the jar and start collecting more brine from the store bought pickles. And since I never seal the jar I can reuse the canning lid after just rinsing it.

    Thanks for these tasty articles, but you’re making me hungry! 😉

    1. Hi DmWalsh, oh my gosh, that is an awesome idea! Mark and I love bread and butter pickles on tuna and chicken salad sandwiches. Mark tells me I’m eating a pickle sandwich because I stack them so high on the sandwich! LOL! Life is good with some pickles! I’m going to start saving my pickle juice. Plus I’m going to pick up one of the Sour Sis pickle jars! Love it! Linda

      1. I wish they would sell them in jars since I love them so much, but they only sell pickles in pouches.

        https://vanholtenpickles.com

        And around here they can be hard to find, so I tend to “clear the shelf” when I find a new batch has been delivered. 🙂 I’m tempted to just buy a case on Amazon, but can save by buying them in the local stores. At least this way they are a special treat and not an everyday staple.

        1. Hi DmWalsh, oh I’m all over this! I LOVE LOVE pickles! I will look for them when I go to the store, I can’t wait! Thank you for the link, now I know what they look like!! SQUEAL! Linda

  2. Hi Linda,
    Have a question. First time doing pickles, I have several Honking “pickling cukes that are yellow/orange. Can I safely can them? DH (over?) planted the cucumbers and we missed a few. Don’t want to waste them, we did cut one up and other than the skin being a bit tough, they tasted fine and neither of us had any problems. First batch is 7 quarts of dill and I wanted to do the bread & butter ones.
    Thanks,
    Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy, when you say are they safe to can, I would taste them to make sure they taste okay. Some get very bitter when they are on the vine too long. I would think they are safe but may not taste very good. If they taste good, I would can them. Linda

      1. Thank you Linda,
        We’ve taste tested one so far and it was pretty good, not bitter at all. Will be peeling and de-seeding the rest for the “sweet” pickles and will do taste test on the chunks to see if they are bitter. Really appreciate it and your site .I have been learning so much from you and the others. Love Matt’s comments too.
        Thanks again
        Kathy

        1. Hi Kathy, thank you for your kind words. We are so lucky to have people in our comment forum like Matt for sure. There are many others that help us as well. Life is good with kind knowledgeable people. Linda

  3. I make my own pickles. When I am making a macaroni salad I pour some of the juice from my sweet pickles on the macaroni as soon as it is drained, The macaroni soaks in as it cools. Using this you do get a more flavorful salad. I do this with my potato salad except that I use my dill pickle juice on my peeled potatoes. Makes the flavor so much better!!!!

    1. Hi Cheryl, oh my gosh, I love this idea. I grew up with macaroni salads. I’m going to try this! I would do the same thing, sweet for macaroni and dill for potato salad. Now, I’m hungry! Yummy!!! Linda

  4. Linda,
    You did not mention my favorite, pickled okra. So, there, now they are mentioned. I have even sliced them lengthwise and put them on a sandwich. Just as good as pickled cucumbers. LOL!!! Have a great weekend!!

      1. Linda,
        If you can find them, Mt. Olive brand makes some good pickled okra. The are fairly mild flavored. I get them at Sam’s Club. Unfortunately, they are in glass jars and have to be picked up at the Sam’s store. I was going to have them ship a couple of jars to you, but they are “pickup only.” Enjoy the weekend and stay cool out there in the heat. We have had fairly mild temperatures here for late July and early August.

        1. Hi Harry, you are so nice, now that I know the brand I will check the next time I go up north to Sam’s club. I’m glad your summer has been milder, one day it got up to 117 degrees here, thank goodness it was only one day. I think I’m getting too old for this heat. Thanks again, Linda

  5. Growing up, we made pickles by the 10 gallon crock! Rarely ever in jars. The crock was kept in the basement where it averaged between 42 and 50 degrees! Always chilly in the basement. We pickled cucumbers but also other veggies like cauliflower, onions, peppers and cabbage (aka sauerkraut). Mom also pickled apples – not salty but sweet. I don’t recall how she did that.

    DMWalsh – I have also pickled in leftover brine! I sometimes add not only cucumber but also if I have other veggies, I’ll add cauliflower and bell peppers to the brine!

    1. Hi Leanne, oh my gosh, I remember making pickles with sliced carrots and cauliflower! I haven’t make pickles in years but they were so fun to make! I can almost visualize that 10-gallon crock, that would be so awesome! Love this story, Linda

  6. I do love pickles! Yum Picked Okra? I’ve made it as well as pickled beets. Love both. I do use canned beets for them. That’s what I was taught by my grandmother. She made delicious everything. Sep he was an awesome Cook and canner. Oh and she froze a lot, too. I never saw her dehydrate, but I do.

  7. I still use my great grandmother’s recipe for bread and butter pickles with a few alterations. Instead of slicing onions to add to the cucumbers, I use baby pearl onions. I also add cauliflower tops. It originally was a way to introduce the kids to a different veggie..

  8. Yum, pickles! And another way to use the extra brine is to add boiled eggs and pickle them. Enjoy! Thanks Linda!

  9. Linda:

    If I can find my book I have a recipe for bread and butter pickles. They are out of this world. They are so easy to make and will last forever if you don’t eat them up in the first six months after you make them.

  10. Hi Linda and all,
    Thank you for the advice. I now have 7 qts of dill pickles, 4 qts of sweet chunks and 4 pints of Polish dills. And the plants keep producing and producing. Anybody want some pickles? LOL Next up is to try Bread and Butter slices.Anybody put up salsa and/or pico de gallo using cukes?. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to pressure can it. My tomatoes are coming in,at least there is not blossom rot (knock wood) so far but we’ve lost the acorn squash plants, it seems we have a critter that is gnawing off the plants at the root underground.Oh well it looks like we’ll have to put the plants in raised beds above the ground next year

    1. Hi Kathy, oh my gosh, how exciting!! All those pickles, what an accomplishment! I’ve never made salsa with cucumbers, although my daughter just tasted some, and I want the recipe. Not sure it’s good for canning but I will get the recipe. Linda

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