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An eclectic collection of facts, histories, information and trivia about various foods, beverages, equipment, plants, and animals etc. from around the world

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PICKLES & PICKLE TRIVIA

According to the USDA, 97.500 acres of Cucumbers were harvested for Pickles in the U.S. in 2009.

During WWII, the U.S. Government tagged 40 percent of all pickle production for the ration kits of the armed forces.

Berrien Springs, Michigan, is known as the Christmas Pickle Capital of the World.

Pickles: Fruit or Vegetable? Actually, they are both! According to the U.S. Supreme Court, because they have seeds, pickles are technically a “fruit of the vine”. However, because they are made from cucumbers, they are generally known as a vegetable.

A German custom that originated in the ornament making district of Lauscha, good luck or an extra present goes to the first one to find a glass pickle ornament hidden on the Christmas tree. The custom has spread to the United States.

26 billion pickles are packed each year in the U.S. That’s about nine pounds of pickles per person.

According to pickle industry research, the average American prefers 7 'warts' per square inch, Europeans prefer pickles with no 'warts.'  A pickles crunch should be audible from 10 paces away.

More than half the cucumbers grown in the U.S. are made into pickles.

Amerigo Vespucci, for whom America is named, was a pickle merchant before becoming an explorer.

Pickling has been used to preserve food for almost 5,000 years.

Heinz was a marketing and advertising pioneer. His company had the largest commercial exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and in 1900 erected the first electric sign in New York, a 40 foot pickle!

Supposedly originating in the Mississippi Delta, the popularity of Kool-Aid Pickles is spreading. You can find them in red, yellow, orange.... all the colors of Kool-Aid, and kids love them. Just make double strength Kool-Aid, add sugar and pickles (cut lengthwise) and let it sit for a week in the fridge. (2007)

Pickles and Pickling. Any food can be pickled, but a "PICKLE" used as a NOUN refers to a pickled CUCUMBER.  There are pickled vegetables of all types, as well as various pickled fish, etc.

Pickling is one of the oldest methods of preserving foods.  Pickling is the preserving of food in an acid (usually vinegar), and it is this acid environment that prevents undesirable bacteria growth.  However, how and what kind of acid gets into the liquid is what can cause some confusion about the use of salt.

Most pickled foods are salted or soaked in brine first to draw out moisture that would dilute the acid that is added to 'pickle' the food.

1) Vinegar can be added directly to the liquid that the food is placed in.

2) The food can be place in brine (salt and water) - this is what causes confusion. Even though it may seem that pickling can be done with either an acid (vinegar, etc.) or salt, that is not strictly true.  That is because the amount of salt in the solution is carefully measured to allow natural fermentation which produces lactic acid. So pickled foods that are made with brine (salt and water) are really made with an acid- - but instead of directly adding acid, conditions are created so that the fermentation creates its own acid!  This is a tricky process because just enough salt needs to be added to prevent the growth of undesirable bacteria, and the correct temperature maintained, to still allow the growth of several specific bacteria that produce lactic acid.

3) Some cucumber pickles are made with a combination of both methods. They are soaked in a strong brine with vinegar added in specific proportions so that they still ferment and produce additional acid (lactic acid).

I hope this explains pickles and pickling without being too confusing.
          Chef James

 

 

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