Americans have been eating naturally fermented pickles ever since Christopher Columbus discovered the land. Since then, the pickled cucumber has become a favored snack, available in more than 36 varieties. Even teenagers and toddlers love them. In a recent study teens have identified pickles as one of their favorite vegetables. (Some call pickles a vegetable, but Supreme Court U.S.A. has ruled that they are a fruit of the vine.)
Pickle history dates back to 2030 B.C., when inhabitants of Northern India brought cucumber seeds to the Tigris Valley. Shortly thereafter, cucumber vines were growing all across Europe. People then learned to preserve the fruits of their labor by pickling them in a salty brine.
During the 17th century, the pickle came to the “New World.” By the 1820s, colonists had grown so fond of pickles that Nicholas Appert constructed the first pickle plant in America. In fact, America was named after a pickle peddler: Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci was a ships chandler, outfitting vessels scheduled for long explorations with vitamin C-packed pickled vegetables (particularly cucumbers and cabbage) to prevent scurvy among crew members.
You can experience a piece of early American history each time you open a jar of Bubbies Dill Pickles or Bubbies Bread and Butter Pickles.
- More than 67 percent of all households eat pickles.
- American households purchase pickles every 53 days.
- Americans consume more than nine pounds of pickles per person annually.
- Approximately 100,000 to 125,00 acres are devoted to growing pickling cucumbers in the U.S. They are grown in more than 30 states, with the biggest producers being in California, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas.
- Cucumbers are a cash crop at the grower level. Growing them requires no government subsidies.
- Pickles are fat-free and low in calories.
- Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, believed pickles contributed to health and beauty.
- Pickling is one of the oldest forms of food preservation, discovered at the dawn of civilization, thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia.
- North Americans prefer pickles with warts while Europeans prefer them wartless.
- Refrigerated versions account for about 20% of all pickle sales.
- International Pickle Week is one of the country’s longest running food promotions. It has been observed for more than 50 years. IPW runs for ten days during the last two weeks in May.
- The pickled vegetable industry has its own trade association: Pickle Packers International, Inc.
- During WWII, the U.S. Government tagged 40% of all pickle production for the ration kits of the armed forces.
- Good pickles have an audible crunch at ten paces. This is measured using an Audible Crunch Meter. Pickles that can only be heard at one pace are known as denture dills.
- Artesian Well Water