Why everyone should join the pickle party – six benefits of pickling your produce
If you don’t know, pickling involves submerging food in an acid, usually vinegar, to preserve it’s shelf life, giving it a tangy and somewhat addictive new flavour and providing you with a tasty snack. The whole process can be fascinating and has won the heart of many, from selecting your pickling veggies of choice, flavouring the brine (we’ve got you covered here) and enjoying the perfect pickled snack along with the pickling juice which is a gift that keeps on giving! Pickling and pickling juice has some weird and wonderful benefits which a lot of people don’t know about. Here at Sylt we are obsessed with pickling and we think you could be too, so here are 6 benefits of pickles and their heavenly brine which earns them their cult following and keep us coming back for more.
Pickled vegetables contain vitamins
We all know that vegetables are highly nutritious and important to include in your day to day diet. Eating the vegetables that you pickle provides you with a lot of the same nutrients. In fact, the salty brine used for pickling draws the water out and leaves the nutrients behind in a higher concentration making them a nutritionally dense snack which has almost no fat or calories.
Vegetables also lose nutrients from the moment they are picked and then lose more depending on how we cook them. Pickling is a great preparation method which preserves the nutrients and extends the vegetables lifespan so we can enjoy their salty sustenance knowing that we are getting some precious vitamins and minerals at the same time.
Ease muscle or menstrual cramps
Though much of the evidence around pickling liquids benefits remains preliminary, many swear by it to relieve muscle cramps. The theory suggests that the taste of the pickling brine stimulates receptors in the throat. This suppresses the activity of certain nerve cells leading to muscle relaxation. This effect is maintained without swallowing the pickling liquid, so feel free to skip that part.
Helps control blood sugar
The vinegar used for pickling brine can also have benefits for blood sugar control. When consumed with a meal sugar spikes are often lower following the meal. This is beneficial for those that struggle to maintain normal blood sugar levels and will also help with weight control and avoiding dreaded sugar crashes after meals.
Reduces food waste
One of the key benefits of pickling is that it helps to reduce food waste by preserving vegetables which would otherwise spoil quickly. The UK alone has a massive food waste issue, with over 4.5 million tonnes being thrown out each year. Pickling vegetables which are about to go off is one of the many ways to prevent food waste as you can save your favourite fruits and veggies from being thrown out. It preserves them and their nutrients so they can be enjoyed for an extra few weeks whilst also enjoying their health benefits.
Increases food availability
Similar to reducing food waste, pickling also increases vegetable availability in the same way. Vegetables provide precious micronutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but since they spoil relatively quickly, they are harder to access compared to grains and dry food. Pickling vegetables slows spoiling, preserves nutrients and makes them easily transportable so more people can get their veggies in, especially as they approach the end of their last food shop.
A wholesome past-time
With all these benefits to offer we won’t miss out the fact that pickling your vegetables is simply the perfect wholesome past-time for a slow Sunday morning. Is your pickle juice curing your hangover? Or is it simply the undeniably rewarding process of preparing your favourite fruits and veggies in heavenly brine, to spend weeks diligently checking on them, eagerly awaiting that day you are blessed with envy-worthy perfectly pickled produce? You be the judge. Pickle with your friends, family and loved ones, finding common ground through these exquisite salty snacks.