America is named after a Pickle-Dealer


I had a little get together with some friends last week to carve pumpkins. My friend Meredith Urban, designer and owner of De La Mer 1981 clothing, brought to the party her grandmother’s sweet pickles. They’re honeyed and buttery with a tang, sliced thin and so so delicious (Grandma Rita we need that recipe!). My husband is a pickle fanatic. I had to hide them in the back of the fridge so he wouldn’t eat the jar in one sitting (gavone!).

Grandma’s Rita’s pickles reminded me of a recipe for overnight pickles I used to make. Unlike Rita’s pickles that will last years in the pantry, overnight pickles are made for eating the very next day. With all of us being so busy, overnight pickles is a nice alternative to canning.


Meredith and Grandma Rita

According to the googleverse, pickles are native to India, dating back thousands of years. Pickling was a necessity for survival, preserving foods for migrants and households to use over the winter months. The word “pickle” comes from the Dutch word pekel or German pókel, meaning “salt” or “brine. Appropriate.

Before the advent of steamships, pickles were used on long journeys as non-perishable food that helped to prevent scurvy. All of the early explorers of the Americas were pickle freaks basically, and according to The History Channel: “Before he was an explorer, Amerigo Vespucci worked as a ship’s chandler in Seville, Spain—meaning he supplied ships with goods like preserved meat and vegetables. Known as the “Pickle-Dealer,” Amerigo Vespucci even helped stock Columbus’ ships on his later, less successful voyages across the Atlantic.” So in a way, our country is named after a pickle salesman? I’m okay with that.

My husband’s friend Todd Galloway gave us this recipe that I would like to share with you. The pickles are delicious and easy to make. On first bite there’s a sense of sweetness, immediately followed by the bite of vinegar, finishing with blasts of  annise-y goodness. Also, the pickled fennel chunks are just as good as the cucumbers, so don’t cut the chunks too small!

What I enjoy most besides eating the food I cook, is experimenting with it. Try the above recipe with garlic and/or dill. You can use this recipe and modify to pickle other vegetables too. Try cauliflower and carrots or onions and  beets! Autumn is the season for pickling!


4 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2-3 teaspoon celery seeds
4 kirby cucumbers
1 bulb fennel coarsely chopped


  1. In a large mason jar (8 cups), combine cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, fennel seeds and celery seeds. Stir in kirby cucumbers and chopped fennel.
  1. Cover and chill overnight. For maximum flavor, keep them in the fridge for 36 hours


tagged in recipes