The Christmas pickle is not really a pickle at all. It is a pickle-shaped ornament that is the last one hung on the tree on Christmas Eve.
The story goes something like this…
Two Spanish boys were traveling home from boarding school to spend time with their families over the holidays. They stopped over to rest at an inn for the night. The evil innkeeper steals everything the boys own and then stuffs them into a pickle barrel. Now this very evening, who happens to stop by for a rest at the inn but St. Nicholas! He somehow becomes aware of the boys in the pickle barrel, taps the barrel with his staff, and in an instant, the boys are magically returned to normal. The boys thank St. Nicholas and continue on their journey home to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones.
The tradition of the Christmas pickle ornament supposedly hails from Laschau, Germany years ago. The pickle ornament was the very last one to be hung on the fir tree on Christmas Eve. The parents would hide the special pickle ornament deep inside the green fir boughs. On Christmas morning, the children immediately began searching for the special pickle ornament. They believed that the first child to locate the pickle ornament would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas in addition to their other gifts. If the family couldn’t afford the extra gift, the child who found the pickle ornament was the first one to open presents instead.
My daughter bought a pickle ornament to put on our tree to carry on this tradition. But pickles have their own legend in my house. They have written it on the lives and bodies of our family.
Here is one of the many stories of the magic pickles at our house. Every summer I make tons of dill pickles. Then every winter we enjoy these pickles. But these are more than just pickles they are bacteria, virus fighting wonder pickles. Time and time again I have used the juice and the pickles to help someone sick come back to health. I have a million of these stories but I will tell you my latest story which happened a couple of months ago.
My 23-year-old son DJ called me from his home. He was very sick with a stomach flu and was in a considerable amount of pain with stomach cramps throughout the night. With a 1/2 cup of pickle juice in hand I went over to his home. I went into his room which was darken with no lights. There I found him in sorry shape. He said he hadn’t slept all night because he stomach kept cramping. He was unable to keep anything down and also had a fever. I placed my jar on the counter and said,” DJ take small sips of this juice every half an hour until the juice is gone. If you do this you will be up watching TV and eating some rice by tonight”. Later that evening when I came back over to check on him he was sitting on the sofa watching TV and eating a bowl of plain rice. Nothing makes me happier than to see this happen. DJ is the kindest soul I know, and when he is in pain it kills me. These magical pickles had done there magic again and I am was so thankful.
I know it sound crazy to feel such love and appreciation for food, but I do. So I will hang that pickle on my tree and be thankful that such a simple food could bring me and mine such wellness.
It is not to late to make these pickles. Run and get some cucumbers and a few other things and you can have pickles in a couple of weeks. I would highly recommend making some kind of cultured vegetable for cold and flu season. It is always so great to have cultured vegetables and their juice on hand in case someone comes down with something.
And yes Virginia, pickles are magic!
- 3-4 lbs of cucumbers (small to medium is ideal, but if all you have is large, cut them into spears)
- 3 Tbsp Celtic sea salt
- 2 – cloves of garlic, separated into cloves & peeled and chopped
- 3 Tbsp whole dill seed
- 2 Tbsp whole coriander seed
- 1 tsp whole mixed peppercorns
- 1 tsp juniper berries
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dill seed
- ½ Caldwell veggie pck or ¼ cup kefir whey
- Filtered water
- Chop cucumbers in half place flat side down on surface and cut into spears.
- Place cucumbers in 4- 4 quart jars.
- Place other ingredients in a bowl with a spout for easy pouring.
- Mix all ingredients till well combined.
- Pour mixture into jars making sure that each jar gets equal amounts of ingredients. (some of the seed fall to the bottom)
- Fill the jars with extra water leaving an 1½ inches of room at the top and making sure veggies are below the water. The veggies will mold if left above the water. If this happens scrape off the mold or discard veggies and push the others below the water. The mold is harmless and won’t hurt anything but they can ruin the taste of the veggies.
- Set at room temperature for 3 days and then place in the refrigerator.