We're In A Pickle - Why Pickles Are Popular

POSTED ON JULY 20, 2021   |   BY JOSH ROTHSTEIN

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America is currently experiencing a pickle renaissance. Pinterest boards are full of pickle recipes and local shops, selling craft, artisanal pickles are popping up everywhere in cities and suburbs and small towns all across the United States.

Pickles are popular and if you landed here in search of the perfect pickle, then we hope you have an appetite! Let’s begin by exploring the 4,000 year history of the pickle and then we’ll discover some of the wildly-different types of pickles that creative minds have come up with today.

A brief history of pickles can help explain why they are so popular

Pickles got their early start in the cradle of human civilization – ancient Mesopotamia. Following the domestication of animals and the early development of agricultural practices such as irrigation and planting crops, the Mesopotamians began pickling cucumbers in acidic brine as a means to preserve them.

Today, we can trace the origin of the pickle to somewhere around 2030 B.C. This is when cucumbers were brought from their native India to the Tigris Valley. Back then, pickling was a necessity, as it was the only way to preserve food for long periods of time.

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Around 50 B.C., Queen Cleopatra of Egypt swore by pickles, crediting them for giving her great health and beauty. Julius Cesar and other Roman emperors fed pickles to their armies to make them strong and more resilient in battle.

What’s the dill with pickles?

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It wasn’t until around 900 A.D. when dill would be used in the pickling process. When this plant arrived in Europe from its native Sumatra, it quickly became one of the most important herbs used in the pickling process. In these early human civilizations, pickles were a dietary staple of travelers, explorers and sailors alike, as they were one of the first mobile foods. Christopher Columbus brought pickles to the Americas in 1492. Not only could the pickle survive the long, nine-week trip across the Atlantic Ocean, but due to their high levels of vitamin C, they could also help his sailors prevent scurvy. In fact, Columbus even stayed in Haiti long enough to grow more cucumbers for his return trip to Spain.

But pickles were not only great traveling companions, they also provided humans with an important source of food during the cold winter months, as they could be preserved for long periods of time.

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So now that we understand the historical importance of this resilient food, let’s explore some of the different types of pickles available today!

What are some classic types of pickles?

Pickles are traditionally prepared in a type of brine that not only preserves them, but makes them go a little sour. Salt and water are the two most important ingredients here, but they can also be mixed with vinegar and combinations of spices, like fresh dill or garlic that can really give them a desirable flavor.

There is such a variety of ways to make pickles, that you are truly only limited by your imagination. Different types of artisanal pickles are made with peppers, whiskey, horseradish, red pepper flakes, mint leaves, honey and even Kool-Aid sweet pickles. (I know you just heard the Kool-Aid man’s voice in your head, shouting: “Oh yeah!”)

Bread and butter pickles are a version of the pickled cucumber that is marinated in a solution of vinegar, sugar and spices. These can then be chilled as refrigerator pickles, or canned to preserve them for long amounts of time.

Homemade pickles can be made easily in as little as 24 hours. There are many recepies for refrigerator pickles online, with simple ingredients like water, salt, white vinegar, cucumbers (of course) and a variety of different spices.

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The rise of pickle juice: better than sports drinks?

Pickle juice has become a popular item in recent times. Even the fast-food chain Sonic has released a pickle juice slush drink on their menu. Though the drink was met with some controversy online, but the drink became an instant summer hit when it was released in 2018.

As a wonderfully-unique addition to our lineup of over 500 different flavors of craft, glass-bottle sodas, Redstone Foods carries Lester Fixins Pickle Juice Soda, by Rocket Fizz. Talk about a unique soda pop experience! For decades, pickle juice has been used by athletes and their trainers as a means of hydration. It can even be used to help relieve muscle cramps. Drinking pickle brine has also been shown to help stabilize blood sugar in healthy adults.

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Many pregnant women will crave pickles during their pregnancy because the nausea and morning sickness can make them feel dehydrated. In addition to all of these benefits, pickle juice is high in nutrients like vitamin C and E, so drink up!

From classic dill pickles, to sour pickles to sweet Kool-Aid pickles – the only limit is your imagination

As the world undergoes the modern “pickle renaissance”, anything is possible. From your typical, store-bought jar of pickles you eat with your sandwich or a hot dog, to exquisite artisan pickles flavored with everything from white vinegar, habañero, horseradish and even Kool-Aid pickles, seemingly anything is possible. Heck, even pickle-flavored cupcakes are a popular hashtag on Instagram.

At Redstone Foods, we carry the super-popular Big Tex Dill Pickle in Chamoy, by Alamo Candy.

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This is one most sour pickles available on the market today. Of all the popular pickle brands that are currently available, this one is perhaps the most unique in our inventory. They became so popular that some stores and even their own online shop had to begin limiting them to just 3 per person.

If vegetables aren’t your thing, but you love the pickle flavor, we even carry Pickle Cotton Candy, by Chocolate Storybook. We also carry Van Holten’s Pickle Ice, which are pickle-flavored ice pops. We can attest that these are a great way to refresh and rehydrate during the hot summer months! With a seemingly endless briny bounty of pickles and pickle-inspired products available on the market today, deciding which one to try next might make you feel like you’re, well…. in a bit of a pickle!

Take a look at our huge selection of pickle products and let us know what you think!