The Pickles of Medieval Times: A Journey Through Brine-y History

Pickles have been a dill-icious food for centuries, and even in medieval times, people found ways to preserve and enjoy them. In fact, pickles were a gherkin staple in medieval Europe, and were used not only as a tasty snack, but also for their health benefits and as a way to add flavor to other dishes.

One of the reasons pickles were so popular in medieval times was because they could be preserved for long periods of time without refrigeration. This was important because refrigeration wasn’t available back then, so people had to rely on other methods to keep their food from spoiling. Pickling was one of those methods. Vegetables like cucumbers, cabbage, and onions were preserved in vinegar or brine, which kept them from going bad and also gave them a tangy flavor.

But pickles weren’t just a practical food – they were also considered to have health benefits. In medieval times, people believed that pickles could help with digestion, and were often served with meat dishes to help break down the protein. Pickles were also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, which made them a popular food for people with joint pain or other inflammatory conditions.

In addition to being a standalone food, pickles were also used as a flavoring in other dishes. For example, pickled capers were often used as a seasoning in sauces and stews. And pickled vegetables were a common accompaniment to meat dishes, adding a tangy flavor that complemented the richness of the meat.

In medieval times, pickles were so popular that they even made appearances in literature. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales,” there is a reference to a “pikkyll” (a medieval spelling of pickle) being served with a meal. And in “The Book of Good Food,” a medieval cookbook, there are several recipes that call for pickled vegetables.

So there you have it – a journey through the pickles of medieval times. From their practical use as a food preservation method to their believed health benefits and use as a flavoring, pickles were a versatile and beloved food in medieval Europe. And even today, pickles remain a beloved food for people all over the world. They truly are the brine of our existence!

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