Pickles have been a part of the meal all around the world for so many years. Every country has its unique varieties of pickles, from Kimchi of Korea to Aam Ka Achaar of India. The pickling process was initially a method of preserving food but later became an important part of the daily meal. In India, a ‘thali’ is considered incomplete without a pickle. But did you know pickles are more than 3000 years old? According to historians, pickles were discovered in the Tigris Valley using cucumbers that came from India. The word pickle came from the Dutch word ‘pekel’ meaning brine, an important component of pickling.

According to New York Food Museum, pickling may have started in 2400 B.C. for preserving food. They were either preserved in vinegar or brine, which is considered the oldest method of food preservation. But the exact origin of the process is still not clear. It was only in 2030 B.C. when the cucumbers native to India were pickled in the Tigris valley.

During 50 B.C. Queen Cleopatra included pickles in her diet to maintain her health and beauty. Roman emperors including Julius Caesar gave pickles to their troops believing that it would make them strong, as reported by History. In 1942, Christopher Columbus also rationed cucumber pickles to his sailors who suffered from diseases caused by vitamin C deficiency, and by 1659, dealers from New York also started selling pickles in barrels on the street by purchasing cucumbers from Dutch farmers.

During the nineteenth century, several experiments in the pickling process were done such as vegetables and fruits stored in air-tight bottles were sealed and boiled to preserve them. This trick also worked for jellies, syrups, soups, and dairy products. Since then, various methods of pickling are discovered with different ingredients and preserved in vinegar, salt, and oil. In India, pickle-making started as the ancient art of preserving food by adding salt and vinegar which later became an important part of the culture. Different kinds of aromatic and flavourful oils are used for preservation such as mustard and sesame oil and Indian pickles are said to be one of the most delectable of all.

Pickles have travelled very long to become the most popular condiment in the world and they can never be replaced on the palate. Whether it is seasonal fruit and vegetable pickles or non-veg pickle they always add a punch to our meal.