Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pickles—9 Facts That Are Probably More Than You Wanted To Know

The first thing that always comes to my mind when someone mentions pickles is, "How can cucumbers taste so bad and pickles taste so good?"  But that's just me.  I'm sure there's someone out there somewhere who wonders how a perfectly good cucumber could be ruined by pickling it.  :)

I recently came across a list of 9 facts about pickles that I'd like to share with you (presented here in no particular order).

1)  When did pickles originate?
The history of pickles goes all the way back to 2400 BC.  It is believed that the Mesopotamians were responsible for the concept of pickling food and the world has been doing it ever since.  Pickles have been popular in England since the Middle Ages.

2)  What role did pickles play in history?
Aristotle believed 'cured cucumbers' had great healing properties.  Julius Caesar fed pickles to his soldiers believing they provided physical and spiritual strength.

3)  Who brought pickling to the new world?
Christopher Columbus is given credit for this.  He grew cucumbers for the specific purpose of pickling them.  In the 1500s, the area that is now New York City hosted the largest group of Dutch commercial picklers.

4)  How many pickles can we eat?
Americans eat more than 2.5 million pounds of pickles each year and dill pickles are twice as popular as sweet pickles.

5)  How long does it take to make pickles?
Pickles develop at different rates according to the process used.  Dill pickles, if made through a refrigeration process, can be ready in as little as 5 days.

6)  Are pickles bad for you?
It's a good news-bad news scenario.  One large pickle is about 16 measly little calories…next to nothing.  However, that same pickle contains around 1181 mg of sodium which is approximately 49% of your daily salt requirement.

7)  Why do pregnant women crave pickles?
Craving pickles can point to low sodium levels in the blood.  Cravings for items such as pickles happen when the body is in need of certain nutrients.

8)  Why are pickles fermented outdoors?
Most pickle manufacturers in the U.S. let their pickles ferment outdoors in open containers.  As the pickles are left open to the elements, it sounds less than sanitary.  However, the sunlight is actually beneficial in that it keeps away yeast and mold.

9)  How long do pickles stay good?
Pickles can stay good for 1 to 2 years past the expiration date on the jar.

As I said, probably more than you wanted to know about pickles.  :) 

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