Pickles in the western world are largely associated with cucumbers. Even so, nearly any vegetable or fruit may be pickled. There are many common pickled products including sauerkraut, peppers, watermellon rinds, and olives.

In the history of pickles we find that pickles originated several thousand years ago as a means of long-term preservation of food. Initially, pickling was probably done primarily by fermentation. When spices were added, these preserved items became a special treat on their own. Many military leaders including Napoleon and Caesar were fans of pickles because they could be used to supply their armies with vegetables even when local areas could not provide for their troops on the march.

There are many types of pickles made from cucumbers. Dill pickles are the most prevalent variety, followed by sweet and bread-and-butter. These are sliced in several ways including crosswise as hamburger chips, quartered lengthwise as spears, and cut at angles for longer chips. They also come in the form of relish.

Because cucumbers grow well in many climates, pickling them is one of the most common preservation methods of this garden grown produce. Learning how to make pickles is actually a fairly easy process. Although it does not require specialized pickling equipment, at least basic canning tools are essential. The two primary means of making pickles involves either fermentation or a hot water bath.

Pickles are frequently used in recipes. They can be chopped up in meat loaf, put in salads, and are especially welcomed on sandwiches. They are a main ingredient in tartar sauce.

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