July 22, 2011

Pickles - They are just good food!

I have loved pickles forever it seems!  When I was young I would make dill pickle sandwiches with mustard! yea..gross I know... but it was really good..although I do not eat those sandwiches any longer because of the salt content! I do love me a dill pickle on my bologna sandwich though!  Nothing like white bread, kraft mayo, oscar mayer bologna, kraft cheese, lettuce, dill pickle, and mustard!!! YUM!!  Are you hungry now? :)
 One of my best memories of local high school basketball games is of that gallon jug of whole dill pickles sitting in the concession stand!  My youngest daughter had an "admirer" in 7th grade and one ballgame he came to sit by her.  He proudly announced he had eaten one of those dill pickles!!  7th graders!!  Well, my daughter ignored him so he went on his merry way.  He later came back and sat back down only to announce that he had eaten yet another pickle!! She rolled her eyes at him that time!  He took that as a sign that he was making progress so he left and later came back and announced that he had yet eaten another pickle!  Mind you, these pickles are NOT small!  She told him that he was going to get sick and he just smiled!  He had actually gotten her to SAY something to him this time... he was DEFINITELY making progress now!  So, he hops down off the bleachers and comes back about 30 minutes later looking peekish.  He informs her that he went and ate another pickle and later got sick!  She told him he was gross and they went to giggling! WHAT!!  Yep, they became really good friends..not really so much boyfriend/girlfriend but they had a really good friendship from then on until they graduated!  Can you believe what the power of a few pickles can do! :)
My grandmother canned pickles every year in her churn!  She called them her 14 day pickles.  They take about 21 days before you can actually put them in jars so I always wondered why they were called a 14 day pickle???  Nonetheless, they are delicious and I make them every year in honor of my grandmother!  I have 3 batches ready for jarring right now!  I remember helping granny Ella wash her cucumbers in the front yard and thinking "My, how long these cucumbers are"!  She used those really long burpless cucumbers for her pickles.  I like to use the smaller cucumbers myself because those tiny pieces looks so pretty in the jars and they always wind up being the crispiest pickle in the jar!

Allie is the pickle expert and she says her mawmaw's pickles are the BEST on the market! ha!  Is that loyalty or what!
For me.. if it isn't my pickle it has to have one of 2 names on the label!  And Allie, the pickle expert will show you the 2 I am referring to...

VLASIC is my first pickle of choice!  Nothing like the crunch of a Vlasic pickle!  I always loved the commercial on television of the little girl eating lunch with her dad.  He was reading the newspaper and she asked him "Dad, you gonna eat that pickle?"  Thinking about it always makes me smile!
My second pickle of choice is CLAUSSEN!  If I can't have a Vlasic, then give me a Claussen pickle!!
And I have to give my mother in law a little plug!  She also makes the best pickle.. But not from cucumbers!  She makes an awesome pickle from watermelon rind!!  That first bite will make your eyes bug out because they are so spicy but they are delicious!!  The whole family loves them!  I have to get her recipe recorded one of these days!  Allie didn't know what to think when she took her first bite but when she learned they were from watermelon, she wanted more!!  This little girl could eat a whole watermelon if you turned your back on her for very long! ha!
And for those who love to read about the history behind things....I did some googling!  I LOVE to google about everything! I found the following information here.  Who ever knew that pickles were so important!!

Pickle History Timeline

2400 BC: Archeologists and anthropologists believe that the ancient Mesopotamians pickled.
2030 BC: Cucumbers brought from their native India helped begin a tradition of pickling in the Tigris Valley.
Cucumbers are mentioned twice in the Bible (Numbers 11:5 and Isaiah 1:8) and history sets their first usage over 3,000 years ago in western Asia, Egypt and Greece.
350 BC: Aristotle praisd the healing effects of cured cucumbers. Ancient Sources not only refer to the nutrional benefits of pickles, but claim that they have long been considered a beauty aid. Cleopatra attributed her good looks to a hearty diet of pickles.
Roman emperors, among them Julius Caesar, fed pickles to their troops in the belief that they lent physical and spiritual strength.
The Dark Ages
900: Dill has been introduced to Western Europe from Sumatra.
Since the Middle Ages, pickles were a common condiment and snack in England. Queen Elizabeth's chefs noted her liking of them, and Shakespeare peppers his plays with references not only to pickles, but new uses of the word as metaphor:
“Oh, Hamlet, how camest thou in such a pickle?” (Act 5, Scene 1.) 'Tis a gentle man here a plague o' these pickle-herring! How now, sot!” (Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 5.)
“What say you? Hence, Horrible villain! or I'll spurn thine eyes like balls before me; I'll unhair thy head: Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire and stew'd in brine, Smarting in lingering pickle.” (Anthony and Cleopatra, Act 2, Scene 5.)
Before Amerigo Vespucci set out to explore the New World, he was a pickle peddler in Seville, Spain. Since food spoilage and the lack of healthy meals were such concerns on long voyages, he loaded up barrels of pickled vegetables onto explorer ships. Hundreds of sailors were spared the ravages of scurvy because of his Vespucci's understanding of the nutritional benefits of pickles.
Pickles were brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus, who is known to have grown cucumbers for the purpose of pickling on the island of Haiti.
Cartier found cucumbers growing in Canada in 1535.
In the sixteenth century, Dutch fine food fanciers cultivated pickles as one of their prized delicacies. The area that is now New York City was home to the largest concentration of commercial picklers at the time.
As early as 1606, pickles were being produced at home and commercially in Virginia.
By 1659, Dutch farmers in New York grew cucumbers all over the area that is now known as Brooklyn. These cucumbers were sold to dealers who cured them in barrels filled with varying flavored brines the pickles were sold in market stalls on Washington, Canal and Fulton Streets.
Thomas Jefferson notes: "On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally's cellar."
18th Century
Napoleon valued pickles as a health asset for his armies, so much so that he offered the equivalent of $250,000 to anyone who could develop a way to preserve food safely. The man who won the prize in 1809 was a confectioner named Nicholas Appert, who figured out that if you removed the air from a bottle and boiled it, the food wouldn't spoil. He'd have to wait for Pasteur to describe why by making the bottle airtight, no microorganisms could enter, and by boiling it, any microorganisms that existed were killed. Known today as the “boiling water bath,” Appert's discovery was one of the most influential culinary contributions in history.
1820: “A Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons, exhibiting the fraudulent sophistications of bread, beer, wine, spirituous liquors, tea, coffee, cream, confectionary, vinegar, mustard, pepper, cheese, olive oil, pickles and other articles employed in domestic economy and methods for detecting them” was published by chemist Frederic Accum. It opened consumers eyes to the possibilities that common household ingredients were tampered with during production in order to improve their appearance or lengthen their shelf-life. This text revealed that pickles were commonly treated with copper to brighten their coloration.
1851: The Scottish chemist James Young patents a way of creating paraffin, which will be used to seal home preserves, through a dry coal distillation.
1860: Louis Pasteur sterilizes milk by heating it.
1881: Alfred Bernardin invented the first metal tops to be used in commercial canning.
1893: Heinz, a new company to touted its “57 varieties” of pickles, preserves, and other jarred foods, introduces the pickle pin at the Chicago World's Fair. The pickle pin resurfaces at world fairs and expositions to this day, marking it one of the most successful marketing efforts in American History.
19th Century
1848: Failed German revolutions bring a large number of German immigrants, Potato Famine in Ireland brings Irish immigrants. From 1870 to1900, religious persecution brings large numbers of Jews from Eastern Europe. Political unrest and economic conditions bring a large wave of immigration from Greece and Italy.

1858: John Mason designed and patented the first Mason jar. Made out of heavier weight glass than normal jars, these were developed to withstand the high temperatures necessary for processing pickles. When the patent expired in 1879, manufacturers of such jars continued to use the term “Mason” on their product. Lucius Styles Ball, who started the Ball Brothers Company in the early 1890s, was one such inventor. Alfred Bernardin invented the first metal tops to be used in commercial canning in 1881. These two companies joined forces as recently as 1993, to form the Alltrista Corporation, is the largest producer of Mason jars today.

1893: Pickle Packers International, a trade organization for workers in the pickling trade, was founded.
1895-1910: Lower East Side pickle purveyors began operations on Ludlow Street
During World War II, the U.S. government rationed pickles, and accounted for 40% of the country's pickle production.
1942: Vlasic Pickles, the polish-style cucumber pickle company, was born in Detroit.

1993: Ball, Kerr, and Bernardin jar makers join forces to form the Alltrista Corporation, today’s largest producer of Mason jars.
1926: Mount Olive Pickles, based in Mount Olive North Carolina, was founded with the intention of brining pickles for other commercial picklers. Instead, they went on to establish one of the biggest names in the pickle industry.
1985: Steven Trotter became the youngest man to conquer the crest of Niagara Falls in a pickle barrel actually, two plastic pickle barrels surrounded by rubber inner tubes.
In September, 2000, after the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys 41-14 in the blazing, September heat, many players attributed the win to the vim and vigor they gained from drinking pickle juice. "I may start drinking pickle juice when I'm just sitting home chilling," said defensive end Hugh Douglas.
2001: The First Annual New York City International Pickle Day begins - a celebration of pickling traditions for all ages, cultures and culinary persuasions. .

Well, what are you waiting for?  GO! eat a pickle!

And by the way... If you are in the market for a good pickle... I will be loading some of mine on the website in the next week, once I get them in the jars!  Hop over there and order you up a jar!!

Linking up at The Picket Fence and  The Trendy TreeHouse!!


Darlene's Quilts and Stuff said...

I love Vlasic Bread and Butter pickles. I can eat them right out of the jar with nothing else.

Margie said...

Pickles, any kind, I love them. But dill pickles are my favorite. My mother always new when I was feeling better from being sick as I would always ask for a dill pickle.