Pickles are a global food: from the fiery, fermented kimchi of Korea and Japan’s salty tsukemono, to the ceviche and escabeche of Latin America, Europe’s sauerkraut and America’s dill pickles. They are also a modern food. Growing interest in naturally fermented vegetables – pickles by another name – means that today, in the early twenty-first century, we are seeing a renaissance in the making and consumption of pickles.
Across continents and throughout history, pickling has been relied upon to preserve foods and add to their flavour; and in these health-conscious times they have acquired a new significance. Traditionally fermented pickles are probiotic and possess anti-aging and anti-cancer properties; while pickle juice cures hangovers, prevents muscle cramps in athletes and reduces sugar spikes in diabetics.
In Pickles, Jan Davison explores the cultural and gastronomic importance of pickles from the earliest civilisations to the present day. Discover the art of pickling mastered by the ancient Chinese, find out why Korean astronaut Yi So-yeon took fermented cabbage into space, learn how the Japanese pickle the deadly pufferfish, and uncover the pickling provenance of that most popular of condiments, tomato ketchup. In this globe-trotting book, Davison discovers how pickles have been omnipresent in our common quest, not only to conserve, but to create foods with relish.