I absolutely enjoy a good crunchy pickle, and I want my pickles when I want them. That’s why I decided to make quick pickles, and I got hooked on them. My experience with quick pickles was a good one, but I began to reflect on how pickles have become a source of humor. Is it because they’re green and have a funny shape? Is it because they’ve been around for so long and refuse to go away? Maybe it’s just a fun word to say. I delved into pickles of the past and the pros and cons of pickles. Read on for some history of pickles, a simple quick-pickle recipe, and perhaps a chuckle or two.
The “Pickle Juice Game” and Other Pickle Peculiarities
Pickle juice is said to have come to the rescue of many an athlete, so why would any red-blooded American make jest of a pickle? I’m talking specifically about when the Philadelphia Eagles crushed the Dallas Cowboys 41-14. They attribute their smashing victory to downing pickle juice before stepping onto the field. It came to be known as the “Pickle Juice Game.”
Pickles have been adored, admired, and taken for granted throughout the years. They are versatile, handy, and most people find them quite tasty. We should not underestimate the lowly pickle, for it has many varieties and a long, illustrious history.
In Mississippi they soak their dill pickles in Kool-Aid, they are then known as Kool-Aid pickles or Koolickles. Bathe your pickles in Kool-Aid for about a week to create your own Koolickle. Add them to an outdoor barbeque if you want to get a laugh.
Would you like to become Mayor of Picklesburgh, (otherwise known as Pittsburgh)? The yearly Picklesburgh festival challenges contestants to down one quart of pickle juice as fast as they can. The fastest guzzler becomes Mayor of Picklesburgh.
J. Heinz, of ketchup fame, used pickle-shaped souvenirs to attract customers to his booth at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
In Berrien Springs, Michigan, they hold a Christmas pickle parade led by the Grand Dillmeister. The town is also deemed the Christmas Pickle Capitol of the World by Pickle Packers International. The Grand Dillmeister passes out pickles along the parade route to pickle-loving patrons.
History in a Jar
There really is so much to say about the humble, but extremely popular pickle and all its varieties that I think it should be deemed a food group. They’ve been around for thousands of years and are found in almost all cultures; you could say they’re history in a jar.
Back in 2030 BC, the people of Mesopotamia were soaking cucumbers in brine and enjoying the results. Aristotle praised the healing effects and health benefits of pickles, and Cleopatra claimed them as one of her beauty secrets. (I picture her soaking in a tub of brine with pickle chips on her eyelids.) Other notable pickle lovers include George Washington and Queen Elizabeth l of England. It is also widely known that Elvis loved fried pickles.
Can Pickles Be Good For You? Health Enthusiasts Will Relish This Information.
According to the USDA, sour pickles claim several vitamins and minerals, including iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. They can also be reliable sources of B vitamins and antioxidants. Sailors carried them on voyages to ward off scurvy. Since pickles are preserved in brine, they were one of the first mobile eat-on-the-run foods.
Some athletes have been known to drink pickle juice to replace electrolytes lost in physical exercise; it’s become something of a fad. These are some of the pros of pickles. The downside is their high sodium content. There is really no way around this, as pickling involves salt.
Of all the pickle recipes out there, the easiest and fastest one I’ve found is refrigerator pickles, also known as quick pickles. No canning is involved, they’re ready in 24 hours, and they’re great for burgers, sandwiches, snacking, parties, and more. Quick pickles will fulfill all your pickle needs.
When I found out about quick pickles, I didn’t waste any time trying them out. I used to sweat over canning my pickles the old-fashioned way, and if you want pickles that last all year long, it’s still the best way. But what if you want them sooner, like tomorrow? If so, you should try your hand with quick pickles.
Making them is super easy. I’ve made them several times and gotten my grandkids involved in the making of them, too. Luckily, I have pickle-loving grandkids; we have never had a dill moment making these. Pickles have always been part of my life; I can’t imagine not loving their tart, tangy crispness. There is just something so great about biting into a crisp, cold dill; definitely a pro for pickles.
Their refrigerator life is only about two to three months, but they never last that long at our house, anyway! Do not let your lack of pickle-making knowledge scare you away from making these, I promise they are very easy and fun to make.
Pickling Spice Blend: Don’t Take This With a Grain of Salt.
Make your own spice blend with dill, mustard seed, peppercorns, and allspice or cinnamon. I’ve added bay leaves or garlic to mine too. You can also buy special pickling blends at the grocery store. How you season your pickles is really up to your own taste. I like to add onions sometimes, too.
How Does a Cucumber Become a Pickle? It’s a Jarring Experience.
Quick pickles are not canned in the traditional way using a boiling water bath, so use any glass jars that you have. Of course, canning jars are great, but if you don’t have them, your old mayonnaise jars will do. Sterilize them in boiling water for at least 10 minutes and they’ll be ready to go. Wash the jar lids in hot, soapy water and rinse well.
The Cucumber: One Vegetable That’s Always in a Pickle.
Pickling cucumbers are about 6 inches long and have thin, bumpy skin. These little guys will come out of the pickling process super crispy. I have grown my own from time to time, but we had a severe freeze here last year and cucumbers weren’t gonna happen, so, I got two bags of mini cucumbers from the grocery store. Each bag had about five cucumbers in it.
How to Cut Them: Have Fun With a Crinkle Cutter.
You can cut your cucumbers into rounds or spears. Spears will take a little longer to cure, so keep that in mind. I cut mine into rounds with a crinkle cutter; I really like the wavy look it gives them, and I enjoy the cutting.
- 1-pound pickling cucumbers, any brand will do
- 1 small yellow or white onion
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar with 5% acidity
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice
Wash and dry the cucumbers well. Cut them into 1/8-to-1/4-inch slices or equal-length spears.
If you’re adding onions, cut them into slices or rounds too.
Pack cucumbers, spices, and onions into jars leaving a 1/2-inch space at the top of each jar.
The Brine: It Seals the Dill.
Bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, water, and your pickling spices to a simmer in a small saucepan. Simmer until sugar and salt are dissolved, stirring occasionally. The sugar in the recipe balances out the salt and vinegar, but it can be left out if you wish.
The next step is to simply pour your brine over the cucumbers in the jars. Use a ladle or a funnel and pour carefully till the jars are almost full. The last step in the process is to screw the lids on the jars and let them cool at room temperature for about an hour. The cucumbers will become darker green as they absorb the brine.
After they cool, put them in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you enjoy them; this gives the flavors time to develop. Eat them all within two to three months. Leaving them in the fridge for much longer will cause them to lose some of their crispiness.
Tip: There’s no need to peel the cucumbers unless you have a preference to. Any cucumber can be pickled, if not overripe, but the small, bumpy ones come out crisper. Choose cukes that are firm and bright green in color and have no bruising.
Tip: Varieties of pickling cucumbers you might want to try are Eureka, Calypso, and Adam Gherkin.
What do pickles do to make themselves look more beautiful? They get Vlasic surgery.
What did the pickle say to the cucumber? “Come on in, the water’s brine!”
How do you make a hamburger laugh? Pickle it gently.