I did a Google search for "pickles", hoping to find out how many different kinds of pickles there actually are. When your search engine returns 10.1 million results, you come to realize several things: a) you're going to learn something new; b) you're going to spend hours perusing sites called "ILovePickles.org" and "Wickles Pickles"; and c) you're going to develop a certain fondness for research, simply because there's so much out there to find.
In narrowing my search parameters to how many different varieties of pickles there are, we find that the term actually comes from the process of canning fresh vegetables in a brine solution of vinegar, salt, water, peppercorns and various spices [source: WiseGeek.org].
Narrowing the scope further to what we (specifically we Americans) refer to as "pickles" yields the list of pickled cucumber goodies that vary according to both the size, type and process of pickling. According to the Pickle Glossary section of The Nibble Magazine, "...there are thousands of different types of pickles in the world's cuisines, as appetizers, side dishes, garnishes and snacks."
Here are just a few types popular in the U.S. that were named in the conversation at the day job today:
- dills (a.k.a. kosher dills) - brine heavy on dill and garlic
- gherkins (smaller version of dills)
- sweet - more sugar, less garlic
- bread and butter - not as strong as dill but not as sweet as sweet
- spicy (or hot) - generally pickled with some sort of pepper
I'm interested to see what topic suggestions are thrown my way for tomorrow's "Q" post. Until tomorrow, then, read a book. Or eat a pickle. They're both good for you!