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197 × 120 × 16 mm
176 pages
60 illustrations, 50 in colour
11 Jun 2018

Pickles A Global History Jan Davison

Pickles are a global food: from the fiery, fermented kimchi of Korea and Japan’s salty tsukemono, to the ceviche and escabeche of Latin America, Europe’s sauerkraut and America’s dill pickles. They are also a modern food. Growing interest in naturally fermented vegetables – pickles by another name – means that today, in the early twenty-first century, we are seeing a renaissance in the making and consumption of pickles.

Across continents and throughout history, pickling has been relied upon to preserve foods and add to their flavour; and in these health-conscious times they have acquired a new significance. Traditionally fermented pickles are probiotic and possess anti-aging and anti-cancer properties; while pickle juice cures hangovers, prevents muscle cramps in athletes and reduces sugar spikes in diabetics.

In Pickles, Jan Davison explores the cultural and gastronomic importance of pickles from the earliest civilisations to the present day. Discover the art of pickling mastered by the ancient Chinese, find out why Korean astronaut Yi So-yeon took fermented cabbage into space, learn how the Japanese pickle the deadly pufferfish, and uncover the pickling provenance of that most popular of condiments, tomato ketchup. In this globe-trotting book, Davison discovers how pickles have been omnipresent in our common quest, not only to conserve, but to create foods with relish.

‘Who doesn't love a pickle? Low in calories and packed with flavour, they simply make any meal yummier. A book to relish, this tiny tome chronicles the global rise of the humble pickle, which fuelled workers who built China’s Great Wall, flew to space (with a Korean who brought kimchi along for the rocket ride) and is now touted as a cure-all for hangovers.’ — Globe and Mail, Toronto

‘Pickles aren’t simple, or so one learns after consuming just a few pages of Pickles by Jan Davison. There are quick pickles, pickle pickles and fermented pickles, not to mention dry salting and dry pickling with soybean paste or rice mold, ketchup, hot sauce . . . In Japan, they quick-pickle chrysanthemums as a condiment. Who knew?’ — Milk Street Magazine

‘well researched, nicely illustrated . . . Davison deftly explores the world of pickling; its antecedents stretching back at least 9000 years; its prominence in the cuisine of so many different countries; and the sheer wondrous variety of salted, soused, and marinated dishes of the world . . . Alongside the ubiquitous sauerkraut and cucumber Jan Davison gives us, in passing, recipes for pickling locusts and octopus, plums, celery and aubergines.’ — Petits Propos Culinaires

‘the book is well-researched and thoroughly studied . . . a mouth-watering account of pickle world, a delicious read for summer.’ — Hurriyet Daily News

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Jan Davison lives and works in London. Her first book, English Sausages (2015), explored the little-known culinary history of England’s sausages and puddings.