First known pickling of a cucumber: in Meso – potamia (Iraq), 2500 B.C.
Cucumbers are native to India, and were spread from there across Western Asia about 5,000 years ago.
East Asians were eating pickled foods as far back as 3,000 years ago—but not cucumbers, which were introduced (to China) about 2,000 years ago.
Different types of pickles are pickled differently. Nearly all start with the brine fermentation process—salting and soaking for weeks in brine. They get their different tastes and textures —“bread and butter,” “kosher dill,” etc.— from what’s added to the brine: vinegar, sugar, and spices.
Pickles are mentioned in the The Epic of Gilgamesh, the world’s oldest known piece of literature, written by the Sumerians around 4000 B.C.
Christopher Columbus planted cucumbers for pickling in what is now Haiti.
Who wrote: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.” (Answer: Thomas Jefferson.)
The cucumber is a fruit, so technically the pickle is, too.
Pickle Packers International, the pickle workers union, was founded in 1893 at #1 Pickle and Pepper Plaza, St. Charles, Illinois. (They still represent about 95% of all pickle workers in North America.)
Pickles are mentioned in the Bible (in Numbers and Isaiah.)
“Pickle” comes from the Middle English pikel, meaning “a spicy gravy served with meat.”
The H. J. Heinz Company first sold pickles in 1876. At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Heinz gave away “pickle pins” (green pins shaped like pickles with the word “Heinz” on them). Heinz still makes them…and has given away more than 100 million.