Several years ago I taught at a school with a lower socioeconomic status. I had a few students who were homeless or transient. One day I had a girl come into class looking particularly sad. She told me it was her 11th birthday and no one in her family could afford to give her a gift. So I reached for my wallet and gave her the only bill I had - $5 - and told her to spend it wisely. The next day she came back to class so happy and told me that she and her dad walked to Albertson's, and she bought a giant jar of pickles with her money.
It struck me as odd that a giant jar of pickles would put a smile on the face of an 11-year-old girl. I thought back to when I was 11. If someone would have given me $5 to spend on my birthday, I would have definitely spent it on a cupcake or cookie, or some other birthday treat. Definitely not pickles. To each their own though. She was really happy to share the pickles with her brother and her dad. She also bought herself some orange juice. That didn't surprise me as much as the pickles though.
Pickled foods have a long history. Pickling began thousands of years ago as a way to preserve freshly harvested foods for the months of the year when these foods did not grow. Pickling is a natural fermentation process that gives foods their sour taste. Healthy bacteria, or probiotics, break down the natural sugars in these foods. Some pickled foods aren't fermented. Instead they get their sour taste from vinegar.
Either way, pickled foods have several health benefits. If fermented properly, they are a good source of probiotics. They are also a source of vitamin K. Pickled foods tend to be blood-sugar friendly. They also replenish electrolytes and aide in hydration. Some athletes even drink pickle juice to help them recover from strenuous workouts. Pickled foods tend to be kid friendly for the most part. So if you're having trouble getting kids to eat their veggies, try feeding them a pickled version of the vegetable you'd like them to eat.
Here are some pickling recipes for you to explore. Enjoy!
Dill Pickles from Elena's Pantry
Pickled Beets + Carrots from The Castaway Kitchen
Pickled Green Beans from Rachel Cooks
Quick Pickled Onions from What Great Grandma Ate
Homemade Sauerkraut from Steph Gaudreau
Asparagus Pickles from Raising Generation Nourished
Pickled Carrots and Daikon Radish from Joyful Fiat Family
Quick Pickled Vegetables from Tasty Yummies
Italian Pickled Vegetables (Giardiniera) from The Spruce Eats
Homemade Pickled Eggs from Sweet & Savory Meals
Of course, you can always find some type of pickled vegetable at your local market. But making them is easy and way more cost-effective. Give it a try!