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It’s National Pickle Day!

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Crunch! That’s the satisfying sound you hear when you bite into a pickle. Would you believe there’s actually a day to celebrate this tasty snack? It’s true — November 14 is officially Pickle Day. Whether you prefer dill or sweet pickles, we can all agree that they’re simply delish. Check out some tasty tidbits about the pickle.

Pickles date back nearly 4,500 years ago

Fact: Pickles date back nearly 4,500 years ago in the Middle East.
Images courtesy of Pixabay

Experts believe that pickles were made as far back at 2,400 BC, when they were gobbled up in the Middle East. By pickling things, people were able to make their fresh food last longer. That was a big help, since refrigerators and freezers had yet to be invented! The pickling process is usually done by placing all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables in vinegar or salty water. As for pickled cucumbers (what we usually think of when we think of pickles), it got a lot easier to make them in 1850s, when a Scottish chemist invented a special wax that helped to seal pickles in a jar.

Some countries make pickles by burying them

Fact: Some countries make pickles by burying them in the ground.
Images courtesy of Pixabay

While it's common to make pickles in a jar, some people in Africa and on islands found in the South Pacific make pickles in the ground. They dig deep pits and line them with banana leaves (like those on the tree in the picture above). Then they use this hole to preserve fresh food. It’s an ancient method of pickling. The pickling pits also come in handy when a tropical storm is threatening — people can also use them to store food reserves!

Some professional athletes drink pickle juice

Fact: Some professional athletes drink pickle juice during a game.
Photo by Ashley Ringrose licensed CC BY-NC 2.0

Yup, it’s a fact. Some athletes guzzle down pickle juice during a game. You might think that a salty, tangy drink wouldn’t be all that helpful when you’re playing a sport, but think again. Drinking pickle juice stops muscle cramps faster than drinking water. That’s because the vinegar in pickle juice triggers your nerves, which send out a signal to your muscles to stop cramping. Even so, we’d suggest that you leave the pickle-juice-drinking to the pros.

There is a Christmas Pickle capital of the world

Pickle ornament in Christmas tree.
Photo by Richard Steih licensed CC BY-NC 2.0

Every December, Berrien Springs, Michigan, U.S., throws a pickle festival, honouring the fermented food. During the festival, people can take part in a pickle-tasting and try out unusual treats like deep-fried pickles and chocolate-covered gherkins. And believe it or not, the pickle has its own parade. Parade-goers gather along the streets of the small village of Berrien Springs as marching bands, choirs and firetrucks pass along the route. Fresh pickles are even tossed into the crowd by the Grand Dillmeister, the host of the parade. Santa shows up in a llama-drawn cart and there's even a pickle prince and princess!

Older generations from Barrien Springs remember a pickle ornament hanging on their Christmas tree. As the tradition goes, the first child to spot the pickle on the tree receives a special present. Now visitors can purchase their own Christmas pickle ornament as a souvenier from the Christmas Pickle captial.   

Some people turn their pickles red

Fact: Not all pickles have to be green. With a little Kool-aid, you can turn your pickles red.
Photo by Social_Stratification licensed CC BY-NC 2.0

We all know that when you buy pickles at the store, they’re green. But some people turn their dill pickles red by soaking them in strawberry or cherry Kool-Aid. After a while, the once-green pickles take on a lovely shade of red. Besides looking a little unusual, the tinted pickles taste entirely different from a traditional pickle. They’re part sweet and part sour.