Pickles : A Global History

Author(s): Jan Davison

Cookery | No Category | Reaktion Books

From the fiery kimchi of Korea to American dill spears; from the spicy achar of India to the ceviche of Latin America; from Europe's sauerkraut to brined herrings and chutneys, pickles are unquestionably a global food. Across continents and throughout history, humans have relied upon pickling to preserve foods and add to their flavor. Both a cherished food of the elite and a staple of the masses, pickles have also acquired new significance in our health-conscious times: traditionally fermented pickles are probiotic and said to possess anti-aging and anti-cancer properties, while pickle juice is believed to prevent muscle cramps in athletes and reduce sugar spikes in diabetics. Nota bene: It also cures hangovers.

In Pickles, Jan Davison explores the cultural and gastronomic importance of pickles from the earliest civilizations' brine-makers to twenty-first-century dilettantes of dill. Join Davison and discover the art of pickling as mastered by the ancient Chinese; find out how Korean astronaut Ko San took pickled cabbage into space in 2008; learn how the Japanese pickle the deadly puffer fish; and uncover the pickling provenance of that most popular of condiments, tomato ketchup. A compulsively consumable, globe-trotting tour sure to make you pucker, Davison's book shows us how pickles have been omnipresent in humanity's common quest not only to preserve foods, but to create them--with relish.


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"Throughout human history and in regions across the globe, pickling has been used by various cultures and ethnicities as a method of food preservation and flavor enhancement. Accomplished by adding salt, brine, vinegar, and flavorings to vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish, pickling has lead to classics such as Korean kimchi, Dutch pickled herring, Eastern European salted meat and sauerkraut, Latin American ceviche and escabeche, and Kosher dill pickles. Fermentation by microbes such as Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc are responsible for the desired keeping qualities and distinctive flavor. In the United States and elsewhere, pickling is undergoing a renaissance as consumers are rediscovering the many health benefits of pickled foods. Resistance to infection, improved digestion, and other effects such as decreased risk for stomach cancer are all associated with the consumption of these prized delicacies. Included in this attractive, well-written, slim volume are pertinent illustrations, historic and modern recipes, selected references as well as relevant websites, and a useful index. This text is a worthwhile addition to food studies collections at all levels.

– Choice  (JC BookGrocer)

General Fields

  • : 9781780239194
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : June 2018
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jan Davison
  • : Hardback
  • : 176