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 stole everything the boys owned and then stuffed 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.
Tradition of the Christmas Pickle
The tradition of the Christmas pickle ornament supposedly hails from Laschau, Germany, many 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 hearts and bodies of our family.
My Favorite Pickle story
Here is one of the many stories of magic pickles at our house. Every year I make tons of dill pickles. But these are more than just pickles - they are bacteria- and 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 favorite pickle story.
My 23-year-old son, DJ, called me from his home. He was very sick with a stomach virus and was in a considerable amount of pain with stomach cramps throughout the night. With a half cup of pickle juice in hand, I went over to his home. I went into his room, which was darkened with no lights. There I found him in sorry shape. He said he hadn't slept all night because his 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 thirty minutes 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 and feeling much better. These magical pickles had done their magic again as they had done many times before. It is not too late to make these pickles. Run and get some cucumbers and a few other things and you can have pickles in three days. 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.
I know enough to know that when you're in a pickle. . .🥒 Call Mom. ~ Jennifer Garner
Probiotic Pickle Benefits
Having lots of beneficial microbes, as a result of eating pickles, can give you not only extra microbes but also digestive enzymes that help you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. You won’t need as many supplements and vitamins, and you’ll be absorbing more of the live nutrients in your foods.
All fermented foods can play a really important role in rebalancing the gut flora and recovering from gut imbalances such as Candida. They bring things into balance quickly. Candida yeasts don't have the room to grow and flourish as these helper microbes crowd them out, keeping them in their proper place. I should add a note of warning here. Eating large amounts of fermented foods is more powerful than taking large amounts of probiotic supplements. If you consume a lot of fermented foods, this can lead to a Herxheimer reaction. As the harmful pathogens die off, they can release toxins that can mimic a yeast infection.
Natural antioxidants found in cucumbers help in the fight against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable chemicals that are formed naturally in the body and can lead to cell damage. While cooking food may break down some of the heat-sensitive nutrients, culturing vegetables preserves their antioxidant power and supplies them with more vitamins and minerals through the magic of fermentation.
Immune System Boost
Your immune system fights pathogens with bacteria and your T-helper cells. They destroy foreign invaders, especially when they have large numbers of good microbes. You'll also get lots of vitamin C that boosts your immune system. These extra microbes do it so effectively that your immune system will become stronger making sickness a thing of the past.
Check Out My Christmas Pickle Recipe
- 1/8 teaspoon Cutting Edge Cultures - or you can use 1/8 cup kefir whey
- 1 cup filtered water - to mix with culture
- 13 ounces pickling cucumbers
- 1/2 tablespoon Celtic Sea Salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon Mulling spices
- 1 whole star anise
- filtered water
- 1 teabag -Christmas - I like ones with Christmas flavors. The tannins in the tea leaves help to make the pickles crisp.
- If using the starter culture, stir together the culture and water. Let the mixture sit while you prepare the ingredients—around 10 minutes. If using kefir whey, add it when the recipe calls for culture.
- Chop cucumbers into circles.
- Place cucumbers in quart jar. Place other spices and tea bag in the jar with cucumbers. Some of the seeds may fall to the bottom.
- Add the Cutting Edge Culture or kefir whey and cover with water, leaving an inch or two at the top.
- Seal the container and let it sit on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight, for three days. After three days, place the container in the refrigerator. You can remove the tea bag or leave it in.
- Check the vegetables every day to make sure they are fully submerged in the water. If they have risen above the water, simply push them down so they are fully covered by the water. If any white spots formed because the veggies rose above the water, do not worry. Remember, this isn’t harmful. Just scoop out the vegetables that have the white spots on them and push the rest back under the water.