Pickles for your Health!
Eating pickles daily or simply adding as a side dish with your main meals proves to provide and bursts with an infusion of vitamins and nutrition that keeps your body well nourished.
This is a well-established traditional side dish that aids in digestion and great for adding in as it can aid in dealing with your foods a lot better, it can ease the stomach, provide ‘good bacteria’ and contributes to the absorption rate significantly,
Eaten for hundreds of years and can include any sort of fruit, vegetable or edible food that have been pickled, it can provide fullness, satisfaction and better health. We have all eaten some sort of pickle at some point in our lives, some more than others and a favourite condiment brought to our kitchens time and time again, whatever the occasion!
Let’s explore together the pros and cons of all sorts of pickles available, straight from a jar or home made and relish in finding out more why it’s still a favorite today, in absolutely any type of food and occasion and relish in the flavors!
How are pickles made?
The process is somewhat either simple or complex depending on the type of pickles that you make, but one thing is for sure is that making pickles can be time-consuming and can take many days to complete.
Pickles add the right amount of sour flavor to any food that you choose to eat, from burgers to baguettes or rice dishes or meats. How many times did you take a bite of that delicious pasta from your plate, only to pause for some seconds and get up to find some side pickles to combine the flavor with in more depth!
Did you know that condiments such as tomato ketchup and mayonnaise all stem from the idea of pickles! Yes, the process for those condiments aren’t as healthier than pickles but allows for great taste and a longer shelf life.
The making of pickles has been around for decades and preserved in a liquid which contains salt, sugar. Vinegar, some seasonings or lemon juice and known as brine.
If you prefer to make it yourself, then any vegetables can be added in to the mix chopped up or chunky pieces, you would always place them in a sterilized airtight jar with filtered water, along with whatever type of seasonings that you prefer and definitely some salt and sugar.
You can keep a jar of pickles, whether fruit or vegetables in the fridge for up to 8 weeks or if you can’t wait, it’s fine to eat whenever the urge arises, although it will taste sharp and strong if not been in the jar too long before the taste mellows down over some period of time.
When pickles are store bought, the ingredients gives you a clue as to how they create the delicious side dip, however sometimes the use of certain artificial ingredients or coloring within the labelling is what really keeps the pickles from staying on the shelf for a longer period of time and can even sit on the shelf for around 3 years and still be edible!
Within factories, there are normally 4 steps to creating the store bought pickles that include : harvesting, preservation, pasteurization and then processing.
Within the pasteurization phase, pickles are exposed to extremely high temperatures for an extended period of time, in which destroys the enzyme activity or friendly bacteria naturally produced originally.
Types of Pickles!
When you hear of the word pickles, many people think about gherkins or cucumbers in brine. Whereas, pickling is a traditional method of preservation of vegetables or fruits. There ar many different kinds out there and loved over thousands of years –
Sauerkraut is a tasty and crunchy pickle that is mad usually from cabbage. It is cut up into edible pieces, put into a sterilized jar along with preserved brine such as water, salt or other preferred seasonings and fermented. It gives a sweet and sour taste and perfect to eat with stir fries, potatoes or soups. The easiest and cheap pickle to make and worthwhile!
Gherkins are baby cucumbers or just any kind of cucumbers that are pickled and preserved in brine and stemmed from India long ago and spread quickly to other parts of the world for it’s relish and healthy nature.
Gourds also can be created within a pickle and popular within the East area.
Kimchi – A traditional Korean pickle that is salty and full of flavor.
It consists of radish, cabbage, carrots and seasonings that can be absolutely sour with full on flavor or very hot n spicy and is considered a very tangy side dish with pungent strong flavors. Best eaten when it’s cold and delicious when added to rice.
Chutney – A green or red sauce typically containing tomatoes, coriander, parsley and popular with the Eastern regions, particularly in Pakistan and many chutneys are available such as coconut chutney.
The word actually means, ‘eat with appetite’ and highly regarded as a savoury or sweet condiment and highly versatile.
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Pros and Cons of Pickles
It is simple to note the power of nutrition and flavor that pickles can provide to your health and it does not really get in the way of your main meals. In fact, it simply enhances the taste of it overall and can be eaten everyday in small amounts.
The benefits may far outweigh the cons in terms of health benefits as with any fermented foods, a range of pickles are alive foods, brimming with probiotics and friendly bacteria.
This helps your body fight off invaders and can reduce infections rate over time. The more friendly bacteria that you have inside your body the more prone you are in fighting off the bad invaders and building a better immune system and helping digestion a lot better naturally.
- You only need a spoon or two to reap the benefits considerably and can be stored in a jar, inside your fridge for maximum freshness and flavor in which you and your family can enjoy together. and can be enjoyed as a snack as well.
- Contains a high amount of antioxidants and nutrition that can help your body gain a powerhouse of essential nutrients that can be topped up easily with this food and can keep you feeling satisfied for longer and may even reduce cravings for other salty foods!
The cons are in relation to the time being spent in that preparing and washing vegetables can be a part of your routine and much effort needed perhaps in watching the fermentation taking place and ensuring it’s replaced with clean filtered water when needed or being careful in the ingredients used.
Also, pickles may not be for everyone as some members of the family may dislike it completely and best to use vegetables or fruit that everyone can relish in and that can benefit the whole family.
A recipe for You – Apple Chutney
An easy and simple side sauce that is great for breads, rice, meats and stews that tastes pleasurable that you may want to eat alone! Here’s what you’ll need:
1 1/2 kg of cooking apples peeled and diced, 700grams of coconut sugar or unrefined sugar, 2 medium onions, 2 tbsp. of mustard seeds. 2tbsp of ginger powder, 600 ml of apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp. of lime juice, seeds of red chilies (optional) and 1 tbsp. of salt.
Combine all the ingredients into a sauce pan, heat well on a medium heat and stirring occasionally, then simmer uncovered for around 50 minutes or longer, mixing well and until it’s a thick consistency.
Remove from the heat when done and once it cools down, transfer to a sterilized dry jar and seal.
Take away Message
Pickles are simply fermented foods that contains vegetables as discussed earlier and even varieties such as beetroots, celery, onions or peppers that when done correctly, can be mouth watering to eat every single time.
Its great to choose those that contain natural brine or seasonings that contains minimum processing and less artificial ingredients to gain the benefits implored, even choosing organic or GM free are a great step in the right direction to eating cleaner and wholesome foods.
Which pickle do you like the most? Please do comment below and thanks for reading this article, hope you have learned a thing or two from this article and I’ll be happy to reply to your comments:)