You ever find yourself midway through your morning, only a few hours into your work day and notice that you are incredibly hungry? The kind of appetite that makes it nearly impossible to concentrate? For me, these types of hunger pains seem to only be subsided by a nicely overstuffed sandwich at lunchtime. Now what better way is there to finish off your mid-day meal than with a crispy pickle? Who doesn’t love a pickle? Americans seem love their pickles very much, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the average American eats approximately 8.5 lbs. of pickles annually. Normally, when someone refers to a pickle in America, they are referring to a pickled cucumber. Truth is, you can pickle any number of ingredients. Pickling is the fermentation process of expanding the lifespan of foods by method of brine or vinegar immersion. The word pickle comes from the Dutch word pekel which means brine. These juicy little post sandwich treats have become integral parts of many cuisines.
Cultures around the world pickle anything from fruits to vegetables or even meats. Some
cuisines have signature dishes like kimchi in Korea prepared by using fermentation. Pickling began over 4000 years ago, by preserving cucumbers that were native to India. This became a practical way to preserve out of season foods, along with preparing meals for long journeys. Most specifically for those who were traveling on the sea. Salt pork and salt beef quickly became very popular among sailors of those times. There are two different types of pickles that are common; fermented pickle and refrigerator pickle. Fermented pickling would be something like sauerkraut and is used for preserving. Whereas a refrigerator pickle is intended more to incorporate flavor into an ingredient, and is only good in the refrigerator for a little more than a week. The term refrigerator came about due to the necessity to use one while pickling, where the usual fermented pickle is done at room temperature.
Today I wanted to spend a little time talking about a very tasty type of refrigerator pickle; red cabbage. With St. Patrick’s Day in just a few days, I had wanted to give people an alternative method for preparing their cabbage other than boiling it in a large pot. The first thing you are going to want to do is peel away the outer layers of the cabbage, the leaves that are a deep or dark red. They have had too much moisture absorbed into them, and will h