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Old Style of Preserving Pickles Without Adding Preservatives

Preserving Pickles Without Adding Preservatives

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Pickles are a crave-able bite of briny deliciousness and have been people’s traditional favorite for a very long time. Besides being the perfect companion to eggs, burgers, sandwiches, pickles are packed with probiotics with numerous health benefits. We indulge in it during the winter months. Whenever, in fact, beans, a hot stew or a steak has to be served on our table, it is flanked with pickles. Out of all pickles recipes, buried pickles is one of our prized recipe which continues to be our favorite from generation to generation and the simplest, healthy way of preserving pickles without adding preservatives. This actually keeps things simple, as all you have to do is bury the pickles to make sure they withstand warm temperatures, preserving pickles for a very long time. In Romania, it is kept among old people from rural areas, who use burial food preservation so that they have fresh food all winter long. People like 88-year old Tofan Magdalena’s to die for pickle recipe. For this recipe, she uses unsprayed organic cucumbers planted and grown in her garden.

This is a very easy recipe and it is always appreciated. The ingredients required are horseradish, a few cloves of garlic, sticks of celery, a couple of chopped carrots, fresh thyme, a cabbage’s core, dill and, of course, local cucumbers, when they are in season. The secret to crunchy pickles is adding a generous quantity of horseradish, or else the pickles will soften during fermentation. After they’ve been washed, they are packed in jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Water from the fountain is added to cover them by one inch and salt, one tablespoon to  each litre of water. When everything is done, she puts the lid on and bury them in her backyard. It takes a while, about two months for them to ferment underground, but they sure are crunchy and have the best sourness.

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Location – Village of Iaslovăț, Suceava County, Romania

Update: In loving memory of Magdalena Tofan, we are saddened to announce her passing on Friday, July 2, 2021, at the age of 90. Magdalena was one of the last authentic Romanian peasants who loved to share the knowledge she acquired throughout her life. May she rest in peace!

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