Pickles, from Mesopotamia to the Heinz Company, have not only preserved foods, but have also preserved spices from different eras and cultures.
Pickles were a way to keep food preserved on ships as voyages were long and tiring and hey, just like Indian raw mangoes and so many spices, those pickles really weren’t that!
So, wait, what is a Pickle?
It is a way to preserve veggies and fruits and even meat so that it can be used for a longer time, and so it is kept in brine or vinegar. These are then kept for fermentation or kept refrigerated as per the type, and used. This process of fermentation or refrigeration for days or hours so that the contents absorb the solution, the spices is called pickling.
Now these vegetables and fruits and all are kind of porous, so they take in the brine or vinegar, and become sour or close to it!
So Here are the types of pickles in different countries:
India always had raw mangoes with mustard seeds, mustard, mustard oil, coriander seeds, and spices. They are then allowed to stay for a few days and all set to eat! In other parts of India, raw mangoes are occasionally replaced with fish pieces, or with a change in spices here and there.
Bhutan and Srilanka kind of follow the same tradition but have a cultural touch of their own too. Bhutanese have more spicier pickles.
Russia is a freezing cold place. They need vegetables and fruits for winters and so, you would not believe but they have different pickles for tomato, garlic, cabbage and watermelon! Oh and also mushrooms!
Each of these is kept in a separate jar and some have brine or some vinegar with salt and, at times, cranberries and cherries, bay leaves depending on the type of pickle. Even beet is included!
The cabbage pickle is known as sauekrat. The garlic pickle has a strong smell but the vinegar softens it and it turns rubbery soft. The watermelon after pickling becomes savory in taste. Isn’t that lovely? It is so different from the East.
3. Arab, Iran, Turkey, Afghan
These places have the most common pickle called Torshi. Torshi is from the Iranian word, torsh which means sour.
So this one pickle consists of celery leaves, onion, cucumbers, beet, carrot, garlic, salt, all in vinegar with some coriander seeds and pickle spices! This pickle isnt fermented, instead it is kept in the freezer for days and then used. The beet almost completely colors all of the other content pink, so it is frequently added later.
This pickle completes this cuisine!
Much of Ireland goes for pickled fried fish wherein they fry the fish and dip it in vineager or brine and then consume it. Well, a sharp fried fish tastes mixed with sourness! You would not miss that?
America’s pickle was revolutionised by the Heinz company (You have probably heard it for ketchup) when they started making and selling pickles.
America is famous for pickled cucumbers wherein the cucumbers are kept in brine or vinegar, fermented and consumed. The cucumbers also get a sour lip-smacking touch!
But pickled cucumbers are confused with gherkins. Gherkins look like cucumbers, but they do not belong to their specie family.
- German pickles commonly have peeled cucumbers (whose seeds are also removed when prepared) with onions, mustard seeds!
- A Japanese pickle called tsukemono is fermented using soy sauce, rice bran and salt.
So, I hope these pickles have reached your heart like a bird’s song and fascinate you with their range of content