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pickle/cucumber
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2013/11/04
10:28pm
deaconB
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When you're buying seed for your garden, you want to pay close attention to whether the seed is labeled as pickle or cucumber.

Planting pickle seed, you might end up with dull skinned fruit, with warts, and a crook at the end, unlike pretty salad cukes. Planting cucumber seeds, you might find that the skin slips off in the pickling process.  Some cultivars are good for both uses.

2013/11/04
11:26pm
Robert
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I didn't immediately realize 'wart' here is not a bad thing. (Right?).  The cousin bitter melon is full of little bumps on its surface.

Is 'pickle' a fruit itself or what becomes of it after being preserved ?

2013/11/05
6:52am
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Robert said

I didn't immediately realize 'wart' here is not a bad thing. (Right?).  The cousin bitter melon is full of little bumps on its surface.

Is 'pickle' a fruit itself or what becomes of it after being preserved ?

The fruit becomes a pickle in preservation process; boiled cackleberries become pickled eggs.

2013/12/10
4:11pm
JohnS
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Sure, pickles are any food item that has been preserved by the pickling process.

I suspect this is a regional thing. Maybe in some parts of the country, the only pickles available are cucumbers. Here in Texas, the stores have a variety of pickled vegetables. Some have pickled pig's feet.

My grandmothers in west Texas pickled nearly every sort of vegetable they grew in their gardens, including cucumbers, okra, onions and peppers. Pickled okra is my favorite.

One of the odd (for a Texan) food items I grew to like in Sweden was pickled herring. The fermented herring that is common in northern Sweden, however, is absolutely inedible for anybody who did not grow up there.

2013/12/11
1:30am
Glenn
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I am familiar with lots of pickled foods. But I don't call them pickles unless they are cucumbers. If it isn't a cuke, it is a pickled [fill in the blank] but not a pickle.

Am I alone here?

2013/12/11
1:51am
deaconB
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JohnS said
Sure, pickles are any food item that has been preserved by the pickling process. 

Mostly.  I don't know that sauerkraut is a pickle, nor relish, nor pickled cut corn; the item needs to be countable in a practical, as well as theoretical, sense.  ("I'd like a cup of applesauce and 37 london peas, please")

Industrial baths used for certain metalworking processes are "pickles" is st, not whaself, Yes, the bath itself.

2013/12/11
5:10am
tromboniator
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Glenn said
I am familiar with lots of pickled foods. But I don't call them pickles unless they are cucumbers. If it isn't a cuke, it is a pickled [fill in the blank] but not a pickle.

Am I alone here?

If so, then I'm alone with you.

2013/12/11
7:54am
RobertB
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I always thought that too.  

2013/12/11
8:59am
deaconB
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tromboniator said

Glenn said
I am familiar with lots of pickled foods. But I don't call them pickles unless they are cucumbers. If it isn't a cuke, it is a pickled [fill in the blank] but not a pickle.

Am I alone here?

If so, then I'm alone with you.

For parties, you'll see hostesses put together "pickle trays".  Food preservation cookbooks refer to "end of the garden", sauerkraut etc, as pickles.

About 35 years ago, I did a feature story on a small pickle manufacturer. The boss mostly used "pickle" without modifier to mean "genuine dill" (i.e. fermented pickles), which excluded fresh-pack (hamburger chips), which he disparaged as a commodity, and refrigerator dills (Claussen), which he really had contempt for, as tasting "raw".  His sweet pickles included onion, cauliflower, carrots, etc, which he included in the "sweet pickle" category.

FDA standard of identity includes fresh pack but leaves out refrigerator dills and sweet pickles:

§52.1681 Product description.
Pickles means the product prepared entirely or predominantly from cucumbers (Cucumis
sativus L). Clean, sound ingredients are used that may or may not have been previously
subjected to fermentation and curing in a salt brine. The product is prepared and
preserved through natural or controlled fermentation or by direct addition of vinegar to an
equilibrated pH of 4.6 or below. The equilibrated pH value must be maintained for the
storage life of the product. The product may be further preserved by pasteurization with
heat, or refrigeration and may contain other vegetables, nutritive sweeteners, seasonings,
flavorings, spices, and other ingredients permissible under the Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act. The product is packed in commercially suitable containers to assure
preservation.

 

So I think you'll see people with tighter and loser definitions of "pickle"  It's like "Coke", which in the South, includes 7-up and root beer, but in some parts of the north, doesn't even include other brands of cola.

2013/12/11
9:11am
Bob Bridges
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I was already thinking about pickled herring (yumm!) when JohnS brought them up.  In my family they're party and celebration food; we serve them with sour cream and eat them with delight at any special occasion, almost always on crackers, usually but not exclusively Ritz.  They're traditional at my sister's family New-Year party, but we just had them at Thanksgiving too.  Those married into our family are divided on the subject; some adopted it enthusiastically, others with equal enthusiasm turn their noses up and make rude comments.  (A few, who haven't yet got into the spirit of the Bridges ethos, try to be polite about their dislike.)

I think this is a regional thing.  The last few generations of my family are from Wisconsin and thereabouts, and my own earliest memories are of Minnesota.  There the gene pool is largely Scandinavian and German, which may explain why we still think sauerkraut and pickled herring are normal foods.  I tolerate sauerkraut (though it's not at all bad mixed with mashed potatoes), but whatever the explanation, I love pickled herring.

Makes me wonder whether I should try lutefisk someday.  Garrison Keillor's mocking descriptions sound disgusting.  But then so do my in-laws' descriptions of pickled herring.

2013/12/11
1:54pm
Ron Draney
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Bob Bridges said
I think this is a regional thing.  The last few generations of my family are from Wisconsin and thereabouts, and my own earliest memories are of Minnesota.  There the gene pool is largely Scandinavian and German, which may explain why we still think sauerkraut and pickled herring are normal foods.  I tolerate sauerkraut (though it's not at all bad mixed with mashed potatoes), but whatever the explanation, I love pickled herring.

If you're interested in such things, check out the anime movie "Ranma 1/2: Big Trouble in Nekonron China". One of the lead characters is kidnapped by a foreign prince who is unable to eat anything that isn't pickled. This may or may not be a joke by the Japanese animators on pickle-heavy Chinese cuisine.

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