Are Pickles Paleo? What You Should Know
Making pickles is one of the oldest forms of preserving food. If you are on a paleo diet, you must be wondering if this is considered as part of a paleo diet or not.
It really depends on the group you belong to, some of the more extreme groups do not deem pickles acceptable, while others do.
Find out for yourself whether or not are pickles paleo and decide for yourself.
How do you define pickles?
Pickles are generally made from a fermented fruit or vegetable in a brine of salt and water to preserve. The most common form of pickles is cucumber.
Keep in mind that the process of making pickles involves fermentation which is what some paleo groups do not find acceptable.
However, since salt and water are one of the most natural ingredients on earth, and fermentation is a natural chemical reaction, other paleos find this perfectly acceptable.
Pickled Olives and beans are another form of fermented produce that are preserved using salt and water, however, we do not commonly refer to them as pickles.
Almost any vegetable can be pickled and we see so many different forms of them in different cultures, just like the Korean kimchi which is essentially made from pickled vegetables, except that other spices are included. You can even make pickled green mangoes and they are onestly very delicious.
Paleo Arguments against Pickles
As mentioned earlier, some of the more extreme paleo groups claim that since our ancestors who originally lived in caves prior to any civilization being formed where very unlikely to have bottled their vegetables in salted water, it is also true that some of our earlier near the sea.
While they may not have had bottles, they did have coconut shells and clay pots that were used to preserve food. The art of pickling is so old and so simple that no one can really pin point its exact origin, or even the date when it originally began.
Benefits of Pickles to our Health:
While some may take exception to pickles as being paleo, it still contains a lot of useful vitamins and minerals that are very beneficial to our overall healthy.
Pickled vegetables contain probiotics, which are basically good bacterial like lactobacillus to help fight off the bad bacteria in our stomachs.
With the amount of food that we consume every day, one cannot really say just how much bacteria we may be taking in.
The cooking process is meant to kill the presence of bacteria in the food that we consume. Unfortunately, some bacteria are capable of surviving high heat and are not killed easily.
Also, people who prefer eating rare meat are more susceptible to ingesting bacteria. Often times, the short exposure of meat to heat is not enough to kill the bacteria present in the meat.
You should know that some animals like cows are not capable of digesting their own food. They are only able to get nutrients from the waste products produced by the bacteria in the ruminants.
Without the presence of bacteria in a cow's rumen, they will not be able to absorb any nutrients at all.
One can even think of pickles being a source of probiotics for ancestors to neutralize all those bacteria in their stomachs. Needless to say, they were not as aware of cooking hygiene as we are now these days.
Make your own homemade pickles!
To make sure that your pickles are as paleo as possible, you can try making them yourself at home. Making them is so easy and it will even save you from throwing too many foods out.
They also make really awesome side dishes and can balance a really meaty meal, while being a source of probiotics and fiber at the same time.
Experimenting with pickled fruits and vegetables:
- 2 Liters of water
- 1 cup of sea salt (as natural as possible)
- Your fresh fruit or vegetable
I have tried making pickles with green mangoes, strawberries, olives, cucumber, cabbages and white radish.
If I have too much produce, I just peel them (and remove the seeds for mangoes) and just quarter them into reasonably sized chunks.
I stuff everything in a big glass jar and add the brine (combines water and salt, with salt already well dissolved) until every single chunk is completely submerged. I wait for at least one week and it will be ready for me to eat at any time.
Note on pickles, while souring is part of the process, watch out for any slimy texture. Your pickle will sour a little over time but sliminess can indicate spoilage.
The important thing for you to remember is that a paleo diet is entirely up to you. You can opt to add pickles to your diet or steer away from them completely.
Just keep in mind that maintaining a paleo diet means you eat as healthily as you possibly can.
The main point of following a paleo diet is to be healthy, but it should be up to your judgement whether or not something is acceptable to you or not.