Pickles. More than Just a Tart Condiment
Who knew that pickles had such a well-documented and historic story? • Julius Caesar, as well as other Roman Emperors, fed pickles to their troops in the belief that the food provided the soldiers with physical and spiritual strength. • Cleopatra declared it as one of her most important beauty tools. She attributed her good looks to a hearty diet of pickles. • In his famous 1492 voyage, Christopher Columbus rationed pickles to his sailors to keep them from getting scurvy. He even grew cucumbers during a stop in Haiti for the rest of the voyage • Shakespeare not only made reference to pickles in his plays, but also found new uses of the word as a metaphor. “Oh, Hamlet, how camest thou in such a pickle?” (Act 5, Scene 1.) ' • Napoleon, like the Romans, considered pickles a health asset for his troops but had expressed concern about the preservation of the food. He offered, and paid, more than the equivalent of $250,000 to anyone who could develop a safe way to preserve the pickles. In 1809, a confectioner named Nicholas Appert created the "boiling water bath"; by removing the air from the bottle and boiling it for safety so that the pickles would not spoil. Appert's application towards food preparation is still considered one of the most influential culinary contributions in history. Yet, he had to wait for Pasteur to explain why it was important. • H.J. Heinz touted his company and its “57 varieties” of pickles, preserves, and other foods during the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair. Heinz marketed the product using a pickle shaped pin to encourage fair-goers to try his food. By the end of the Fair, Heinz gave out over 1,000,000 pickle pins, making it one of the most successful marketing efforts in American History. • According to the Department of Agriculture, American's consume more than 5,200,000 pounds of pickles annually. The average American eats 8.5 lbs of pickles a year. and finally..... In 1985, Steven Trotter became the youngest man to conquer the crest of Niagara Falls in a pickle barrel. Actually, Trotter used two plastic pickle barrels surrounded by rubber inner tubes.