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One Sour World: What Our Planet Pickles

by Alex Nolette Jun 25, 2010
In America, anything that is pickled besides a cucumber tends to turn the stomach. The rest of the world doesn’t see it the same way. Many cultures have pickle staples that have been around for generations. Let’s explore.
Mango Pickle (India)

Mango pickle is one of the preferred pickle dishes in India (the country that is said to have started pickling). Raw green mangos are pickled in mustard or sesame oil, and then a mixture of spices is added to create this salty and spicy pickle. Commonly found spices include turmeric, fenugreek seed, red chili powder, and mustard seed.

Lemon Pickle (Morocco)

Although the lemon pickle is very similar to the Indian mango pickle, it is almost a nightly tableside item in Morocco. It is also commonly used as an ingredient in Tajine dishes.

The flavor packs a wallop as you’re first hit by spiciness and then immediately consumed by a full and tangy lemon taste.

Gari (Japan)

I bet you didn’t know that the ginger you use as a pallet cleanser after eating sushi is actually pickled. It’s ginger that has been soaked in a sugar and vinegar solution. With the widespread popularity of sushi, I’d say that makes Gari the second biggest pickle after the cucumber.

Pickled Herring (Scandinavia)

Sure, it’s not the most appetizing sounding pickle, but it’s huge in Scandinavia. First the herring is cured in salt, then removed and added to a pickling solution that can involve various spices, like peppercorns and raw onions.

Scandinavians serve pickled herring primarily for holidays, with bread, potatoes, sour cream, and akvavit (Scandinavian schnapps).

Rodbetor (Scandinavia)

Another favorite in Scandinavia, Rodbetor is a colorful side dish to brighten up your bland dinner. Beets are pickled in a vinegar, salt, and sugar solution with other spices like clove. This pickle almost always includes raw onion.

Pickled Eggs (UK, for starters)

The eggs are first hard-boiled, the shells are removed and then the eggs are placed into a pickling brine of vinegar, salt, and spices. After a day or a few months of pickling (depending on how strong you want the flavor), pull a couple eggs out and enjoy with your favorite pint. Have an open mind – British food isn’t as bad as you’d think.

Cebollas Encurtidas (Ecuador)

Simple flavors prevail in South America and few are more simple than chucking an egg in some vinegar. Especially in Ecuador, where something as easy as pickled red onion is used as frequently as North Americans use ketchup on fries.

Kimchi (Korea)

Kimchi is essential to Korean culture and is essentially pickled Chinese cabbage that is stored in big pots and left outdoors to ferment. Although there are many ways to prepare Kimchi, it’s usually very spicy and very full of flavor.

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Interested in how the world cooks? Check out many Matador’s food articles. Fast food lovers, we’ve got you covered, from 50 of the most amazing burger joints in the world to hot dogs around the world (let alone what you can put on them).

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