Did you know, the humble Miami pickled onion jar lurking quietly at the back of your cupboard has a long and fascinating history? Pickles have been part of the human diet for centuries- and a staple of the Miami lines since the 90s. Today we take a closer look at this fascinating, if often overlooked, family favourite.

The history of the pickle

Pickling as a process has long been a human dietary staple. Before the refrigerator was even a spark of imagination it was difficult to keep fresh produce tasty and healthy, after all! Ever innovative, the human mind turned to practical (yet delicious) ways to preserve their veggies and keep them ready for eating- and the pickling process was born. Both easy to store and carry, and safe to eat long after the picking date, pickles allowed sailors and travellers a tasty way to fill their stomachs and gave farmers the perfect way to still get their nutrients and vitamins long into the cold winter months while the fields were dormant. Barrels of gherkins and onions have long been some of the first goods to be loaded onto ships to ensure everyone stayed healthy on the voyage.

The word ‘pickle’ itself comes from the old Dutch word ‘pekel’ (mirrored in the German ‘pókel’), which simply refers to the brine water that’s so integral to the pickling process. Pickles are made by inserting fresh products- like small cucumbers or onions- in either an acidic vinegar and water mix or a brine solution. This mixture slowly ‘cooks’ the food in a way that makes it safe to eat long past the fresh produce expiry dates. When using brine, the natural production of lactic acid within the food ensures that the mix slowly becomes acidic, producing a ton of tummy-friendly probiotics in the process. Safe from spoilage (and heavenly to crunch), vinegar pickle juice has even been used to treat dehydration! As well as being safe for consumption, these pickled foods provided a welcome break from the stodgy starch that made up the average worker’s diet- pap and grain meals, bread, potatoes and other staples.

Miami Canners- making a good thing even better

The process became even more sanitary- and much easier for home picklers- when canning was invented in the 1850s, and the famous Mason Jar followed soon after. Miami Canners knows a good thing when we see it (and taste it), so it’s hardly surprising that the pickle became a staple of our ranges in the early 1990s. We’re proud to say that we are now one of the largest manufacturers of pickled cucumbers, gherkins and onions in South Africa.

Taking traditional foods and making them even better is what we do best here at Miami Canners! Are you a pickle fan, too, or do you enjoy other products of the rest of our scrumptious range more?

Fresh homemade pickled cucumbers in clay pot