Pickles, a delightful culinary invention, are cherished worldwide for their tangy and flavourful profile. These preserved vegetables or fruits are created through pickling, which involves soaking them in vinegar, salt, and spices. The varieties of pickles found worldwide are as diverse as the cultures they originate from. No matter the type, pickles add flavour and texture to meals, making them a cherished condiment across the globe. Here we take you on a journey around the world in six pickles.
Kosher Pickles USA
Kosher pickles have a delightful origin story rooted in the traditions of eastern European Jewish immigrants who introduced them to the bustling streets of New York City. Crafted from cucumbers, these pickles undergo a meticulous process that involves washing and combining them with dill, a medley of spices, kosher salt, and water. After this, they are left to ferment for a period ranging from a few weeks to several months. Initially, these tangy treats were vended by the immigrants on pushcarts and later stored in barrels. As the demand for kosher pickles grew, enterprising Jewish immigrants established their own shops, paving the way for a prosperous business. Kosher pickles have become an integral part of Jewish delis, often offered as a complimentary accompaniment to a hearty meal.
Italian mostarda is a delectable fruit preserve with a delightful blend of sweetness and spiciness. It occupies a unique culinary space, embodying relish, chutney, and pickle elements. Traditionally paired with meats, particularly poultry, mostarda adds an irresistible flavour to these dishes. In the Northern regions of Italy, it is a crucial accompaniment to bollito misto, a medley of boiled meat cuts. Furthermore, mostarda complements robust, sharp cheeses that withstand its zesty bite. This condiment has a rich historical lineage tracing back to the Middle Ages.
Chinese Pickles China
Pickling food has been a cherished tradition in China since the Zhou dynasty. Over the years, this practice has evolved, resulting in a remarkable array of more than 130 distinct types of Chinese pickles. Home pickling holds such significance that dedicated porcelain urns are reserved exclusively for preparing these delectable appetizers or side dishes. Commonly pickled ingredients are cabbage, eggs, lettuce hearts, cucumbers, mustards, radishes, and bamboo shoots. These ingredients are submerged in a blend of water and vinegar, and infused with an assortment of ingredients ranging from Sichuan peppercorns to ginger, lending each pickle its distinctive and irresistible flavour.
Baechu-Kimchi South Korea
Baechu, also known as Napa cabbage, is prominent among the diverse array of kimchi varieties in South Korea. It is often regarded as synonymous with the very concept of kimchi. While the preparation of this dish can vary significantly, the core ingredients typically involve whole Napa cabbages generously coated with a mixture comprising glutinous rice paste, gochugaru chilli pepper flakes, garlic, onions, jeotgal (fermented seafood), fish sauce, and ginger. Sliced radishes, carrots, green onions, and other seasonings and condiments are also commonly added. Like kimchi variations, baechu is traditionally crafted in onggi, an ancient Korean earthenware vessel that is ideal for fermentation. Once prepared, kimchi should be left to ferment for at least a few days, preferably longer, to develop its distinctive spicy-sour flavour.
Takuan, a traditional Japanese delicacy, is made by pickling daikon radish. The daikon radish used in takuan has a delightful crunchiness and offers a gentle sweetness in its flavour profile. The preparation involves sun-drying the radish, seasoning it with salt and various spices, and then allowing it to marinate in a pickling solution consisting of turmeric, rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and water for several months. The result is a yellow-coloured daikon with a slightly pungent taste. In the Akita Prefecture of Japan, takuan takes on a unique twist as it is smoked, earning the name "iburigakko."
Tursu, a delightful assortment of Turkish pickled vegetables, encompasses various shapes, sizes, and colours. This delicious medley includes eggplant, zucchini, onions, carrots, cucumber, beets, garlic, and grape leaves. To create this culinary masterpiece, the vegetables are carefully arranged in jars and immersed in a combination of vinegar and brine, where they are left to mature for several months. Pickling has been a part of Turkish culture for thousands of years, enabling the preservation of fresh vegetables throughout the winter months. Tursu is commonly enjoyed as an appetiser.