Here at Texas Chicken and Burgers, we truly are scholars of the perfect hamburgers, and all the separate components and fresh ingredients that come together in pure harmony to help them achieve true perfection. One of these elements are pickles - complimenting burgers by both providing fantastic crunch, but also an acidic bite that helps cut through the sumptuous umami flavor of our burgers. Here’s a quick guide to the history of pickles throughout time, for the culinary curiosity of our fans.
Pickling, the art of preserving food in brine or vinegar, is an ancient form of food preservation. Archaeologists believe that Mesopotamians preserved food in these years, and a few centuries later, cucumbers began to get pickled in the Tigris Valley.
The famed Queen Cleopatra of Egypt credited her diet of pickles for helping her health and beauty. Julius Caesar and other Roman leaders gave pickles to soldiers in order to help increase their strength.
Dill, an important herb in terms of pickling cucumbers, came to Europe from Sumatra (although it was used widely by ancient Greeks and Romans, before the fall of their illustrious Empire.)
Scurvy affected many colonists on their transoceanic voyages, a disease caused by Vitamin C deficiency. Apparently, many of these Spanish and Portuguese explorers received a ration of pickles for their trip - with the individual known as Amerigo Vespucci outfitting crews with preserved meat and vegetables.
Dutch farmers in New York State began to grow cucumbers in Brooklyn, which would then get purchased, pickles, and sold out of barrels on the street. Years later, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe would introduce NYC to dill pickles sold in the same fashion.
Napoleon offered to pay up to 12,000 francs to the individual who could come up with the best method of pickling and preserving food for his armies. Nicolas Appert, a chef, won the competition by demonstrating the efficacy of vacuum sealing bottles.
The Scottish scientist created paraffin wax which became an essential component of jar sealing in food preservation. At the same time, John Mason of Philadelphia invented the Mason jar.
At the Chicago World’s Fair, H.J. Heinz of the eponymous company provided fairgoers with free pickles if they came to his booth and tasted his wares, giving out promotional pins, which would be repeated in subsequent world’s fairs - and providing valuable publicity to his company which would come to rapidly expand.
During WW2, the United States would ration pickles, with up to 40 percent of the nation’s stock going to the Army.
A scientific study at Brigham Young University revealed that drinking pickle juice would relieve muscle cramps up to 45 percent faster than a lack of drinking fluids, and 37 percent faster than when drinking plain water.