10 Reasons You Should Consider Drinking Pickle Juice

by Yvonne Quincey-de Guzman

 

One sunny weekend afternoon while visiting friends in Melbourne, I was offered a micro-brew and homemade liverwurst on rye. How could I resist? My eyes widened and salivary glands started pumping. Gorgeous, glistening, green slices of deliciousness adorned the open-faced sandwiches, pickling spices tickled my nose. Growing up in Southern California and living a good portion of my life in the San Fernando Valley, West Coast deli capital of America, combined with my father’s Brooklyn, New York heritage, I can sniff out a good deli pickle from a mile away, no matter what country I am visiting. I instinctively knew they were going to be excellent pickles, even before I tasted their greatness.

Little did I know, these pickles would change my life.

Little did I know, these pickles would change my life. I took a bite and my childhood flashed before my eyes. Epigenetics kicked in and this ancient pickle affinity seemed to be in my DNA, as natural as blood coursing through my veins. My friend explained to me that these were the pickles in her husband’s new Lewis and Son range. I jokingly said that if I ever quit my day job, I would sell those pickles. Three years later, I am selling those pickles, and have been for over a year now.

I loved those pickles then because they reminded me of the most precious memories from my youth and reinforced the magic of food, family traditions and recipes passed down through generations. I love these pickles now because they have been shown to be part of a healthy diet and are giving us a new twist on food, drink and culinary inventiveness. We are mixing the science and medicine of food with the creativity of this generation’s artisan foodies and mixologists. As we dive more and more into the advantages of fermented foods, pickle juice has popped up with some surprise benefits and uses.

Here are 10 reasons to give that pickle juice in the jar a second look.

  1. ANTIOXIDANTS Pickle juice contains two key antioxidants, vitamins C and E, shielding your body from free radicals. We are exposed to these damaging molecules every day. Having plenty of antioxidants in our diets helps our bodies eradicate those harmful agents. Vitamins C and E boost your immune system’s function, amongst other roles they play in nourishing the body.
  2. BOOST YOUR GUT HEALTH Fermented foods, including pickle juice, have been shown to encourage the growth and healthy balance of good bacteria and flora in your gut. In an article featured in the Huffington Post’s 21 February 2017 edition, gut health may be the key to preventing Alzheimer’s. In a John Hopkins School of Medicine article titled, The Brain Gut Connection, “Anxiety and depression have been thought to contribute to gastro conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).” It goes on to say “the brain is your gut” and there are many other health conditions related to gut health from allergies to type 2 diabetes. It would just make sense to want our guts healthy. Ferments, together with their juices, have been shown repeatedly in many studies, to support gut health and increase our body’s ability to absorb good nutrients. By consuming ferments and improving gut health, the bio-availability of other foods increases too. There is no point spending good money on top quality food if our bodies cannot absorb those healthy nutrients due to poor gut health. The John Hopkins article also commented that people who start eating a diet high in raw fermented foods reverse the course of cancer, stop diabetes in its tracks, and notice an increased level of heart fitness. If pickle juice could talk it would say, “How do you like me now!”
  3. HELPS CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS The lactic and acetic acids in fermented foods, including pickle juice, block carbohydrates from entering the blood and turning into blood sugar, reducing spikes. These benefits can carry over to the next meal, but that’s not all. Every culture has a long tradition of fermented and raw foods. These foods provide for healthy intestinal flora and decrease the load on your pancreas and liver. There is something to be found in those universal truisms. When nearly every culture throughout recorded time has had some form of fermented food as part of their diet, it is something to be seriously considered.
  4. SOOTHES MUSCLE CRAMPS Some athletes have known about the secret health benefits of pickle juice for decades. Dehydrated men experienced faster relief from muscle cramps after drinking pickle juice, according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. About 1/3 cup of pickle juice is all it took to have this effect. Pickle juice relieved cramps more than drinking the same amount of water. It also helped more than drinking nothing at all.
  5. STAY HYDRATED When exercising hard, more than an hour, or in hot climates, water may simply not be enough. Drinking something with sodium and potassium can help you get hydrated faster. Sodium is an electrolyte that you lose when you sweat. Potassium is another electrolyte depleted in sweat. Did you know that you can recover from your workout more quickly by taking a sip of some pickle juice? High in sodium and rich in potassium, pickle juice can help your body return to its normal electrolyte levels more expediently and effectively than water alone. Watching your sodium intake or on a low-sodium diet? Be sure to check with your doctor and dietitian about pickle juice before drinking it.
  6. SUGAR FREE RECOVERY AID Sugary sports drinks are high in calories, artificial colours and preservatives. And if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably not too psyched about consuming high-calorie sports drinks. Pickle juice to the rescue! Pickle juice contains no fat, but it can have some calories. It can have anywhere from zero to 100 calories per 1-cup serving. The number of calories depends on what’s in the pickling solution. We aren’t saying ditch the water, but when you need a quick boost, sugar is not the answer, try so pickle juice instead.
  7. GARLIC IS GOOD Lewis and Son’s Traditional Pickled Cucumbers contain garlic as a main ingredient in our pickling spices. The Sulphur-containing compound, Allicin, found in fresh, crushed or chewed garlic has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and some startling claims mention that it may help prevent some forms of cancer too. Garlic is also enriched with Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.
  8. SWEETENS YOUR BREATH You thought the garlic was going to keep both vampires and people away? That is half right. It is the bacteria in your mouth that causes the bad breath. The potent antibacterial qualities of pickle juice neutralize those nasty bacteria and freshens breath, while maintaining its effectiveness with the undead.
  9. BOOST METABOLISM Garlic, pepper, cloves and allspice, have all been known to boost metabolism and support the immune system. Drinking a small amount of pickle juice can help get the blood flowing, and some have even claimed weight loss benefits.
  10. COST EFFECTIVE If you already eat pickles, you have a win-win! Save money on sports drinks, drink mixers, salad dressings and dips by utilizing your refrigerator gold. There are companies out there selling just pickle juice, without the pickles. I know right!

I was in the States last month visiting friends and family in California. Whiskey Pickle-Backs were all the rage at many of the establishments we frequented. A healthy and scrumptious drink mix you say? Yes, I do! Try a Bloody Mary made with pickle juice next time you are having a fun Sunday brunch. Per tastingtable.com, it’s the sugar in drinks that is partially to blame for giving you a hangover together with dehydration. Mitigate tomorrow’s headache naturally. The salt and water in pickle juice assists in fighting dehydration. Dehydration from alcohol consumption contributes to the hangover experience. So, skip the sugar and dehydration, at Lewis & Son, we are fundamentally against hangovers and for feeling groovy. Have an excellent time the Lewis & Son way with a few new cocktail ideas using pickle juice.

Here are 7 Pickle Juice Based Cocktails to try:

The New Pickleback- The standard traditional pickle-whiskey combo works fine, but since you can pickle anything, you might as well utilize the juice from your alternative creations, too. Try a shot of your favorite spirit followed by the brine from pickled watermelon rind (watermelon rind left in Lewis and Son Pickle juice over night or longer) or a little Lewis and Son Preserved Lemon juice and some fizzy water, or both if you like. Leave a little bit of the luscious red watermelon flesh on the rind, it gives a slightly sweet undertone to the freshness of the rind and the saltiness of the pickle juice (and it makes the drink a pretty colour).

Pickle Infused Vodka- Combine decent vodka and pickle juice in a 3 to 1 ratio. Throw in a pickle slice or two and pinch of fresh herbs, like dill, basil, rosemary, or crushed red peppers, if you are so inclined. Choose one herb here, as to avoid overpowering the concoction. Think subtlety here and err on the side of being conservative. More is not better. These small additions will add beauty and flavour to an already divine brew. Let it sit in a dark place for a few days and serve it over ice. If you are feeling swanky, drink it from a chilled martini glass with a slice of pickle and a single slice of Lewis & Son Pickled Red Onion. Go on get the slice of garlic out of the bottom of the pickle jar too. It is fun to experiment with garnishes and different combinations. I do like a good fancy drink. It is a feast for the eyes not just the tongue.

Fisherman’s Folly- Fish sauce and pickle juice make this funky cocktail a far cry from the fruity drinks you’re used to. The matcha powder gives it a slight creaminess, and grapefruit juice adds a citrus tang that works well with the sake-and-gin base. See our Recipe Section on the Lewis & Son website for instructions on making this drink. (insert link here)

Spicy Bloody Mary- This cocktail is just asking for it. Spicy pickle juice is the yin to the yang of the sweet tomato base. Funk it up with a curl of carrot and a stalk of celery. Though the best garnish for this drink, in my opinion, is a couple of Lewis & Son Dilly Beans. With all the health benefits of pickle juice, it is practically a salad in a glass. This is the time to go a little crazy with the garnish, if you were looking for that opportunity. At brunch in San Francisco a few years ago, I was served a Bloody Mary with a 20 cm tall garnish towering over the glass, complete with striped, extra-long bendy straw. Want to impress? Toss a steamed prawn or two on the garnish skewer with a slice of lemon or lime and call it a Seafood Bloody Mary. I would like to order mine with a dab or horseradish please. I like it extra spicy.

Charred Spring Onion Gibson— Place cleaned and charred (on BBQ or stovetop) spring onions in pickle juice overnight. Take 2 ounces of gin and 1 ounce of dry vermouth and pour over ice. Mix for 30 seconds and strain into a glass. Drop a charred, and now pickled, spring onion into the glass. Bonus Tip: Toss any extra pickle liquid into salad dressings or dips.

Pickle Martini— A dirty martini with pickle or pickle slices instead of olives.

Pickled Tequila Shots— Instead of salt, tequila and a wedge of lemon, try a sip of pickle juice, tequila and a slice of lemon or lime. If you want it muy caliente, stick a whole dried chili or a fresh jalapeño in your reserve pickle juice. The longer you leave it in, the hotter it will be.

Pickles have been around for centuries, the Lewis Family has been making fine food for decades. Join the next generation of pickle enthusiasts and try some new healthy ways (and not so healthy, depending on how many cocktails you have) to enjoy pickles and their precious juice. Lewis & Son Pickles and other products can be found on our website, in our webstore and in your local wholefoods and independent grocers. Check out our Facebook page and Instagram.

Send us your favourite pickle and/or pickle juice recipe together with a high resolution (or best you can) photo or two and we will send you a jar of Lewis & Son Pickles. Please send all submissions to yvonne@lewisandson.com.au. All submissions become the property of Lewis & Son and may be used for promotional and marketing purposes by Lewis & Son. We look forward to seeing your marvellous creations!

Head to the store now and buy some pickles

Photo Credit: Sean Lorre Source: The Five O'Clock Cocktail Blog

Photo Credit: Sean Lorre
Source: The Five O'Clock Cocktail Blog

Support Independent. Support Local. Support Pete

Pete, of Superior Fruit has a stunning shop deeply ingrained in the community of Graceville.

Pete is an old school fruiterer that heads to the markets himself to ensure he gets the best possible produce for his clients. His shelves, fridges, and freezers are also filled with thousands of exotic and hard to find ingredients, including truffles, porcini, bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, cheeses fit for royalty, and home made pies, lasagna, crisps and much, much more.

Whilst the big guys may have the marketing dollar that draws the Masterchef shopper, the produce doesn't quite match. Shop where the real gourmands concoct their magic. Superior Fruit indeed stocks superior products; not just product that is commercially viable.

We are passionately independent and support this through our independent stockists. We supply to stores where the dollars you spend goes back into the pocket of an Australian family. Your dollars should be going to buying a bike for a store owners daughters birthday present, not buying an eighth investment property for a director on the board.

Superior Fruit stocks a wide range of our wild fermented veggies including Sauerkraut, Kale Kraut, Beetroot Kraut, Kimchi, Beetroot Kimchi, Rockin'Out Brocco Kraut, and Cauli-Flower-Power. He also ranges our FODMAP Friendly, Gluten Free smallgoods made from all Australian grass fed beef - Viennas, Kabana, Salami and Pariser

COOKING AT HOME—THE KEY TO WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS BY CHLOE MC LEOD, ACCREDITED SPORTS DIETICIAN EDITED BY YVONNE QUINCEY-DE GUZMAN

Dining out for a meal at a restaurant is a delicious and fun experience. For some though, it is not always the best choice for managing the waist line. Did you know that cooking at home can help with weight loss and make a difference in your overall health results? But how, you ask? Check out the 5 key reasons you should consider cooking meals at home when you want to shed the extra kilos. We have included some healthy hacks to make it easy for you too.

  1. HIGHER CONSUMPTION OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES We are most likely to carry a few extra kilos when we do not hit out daily target of fruit and vegetables. A recent study has shown that people who eat meals prepared away from home more often, have higher BMIs (Body Mass Index) and percentage of body fat, and eat less fruit and vegetables than recommended in a healthy eating plan. Aim for 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day. A single serving of vegetables is a cup of salad or ½ cup of cooked vegetables. A single serving of fruit is 1 medium piece of something like an apple or banana or 2 small pieces of something like a kiwi fruit or apricots. HEALTHY HACK—Fill half of your plate with veggies that are low in starch such as baby spinach, rocket, broccoli, celery, tomato, capsicum and zucchini to help increase your vegetable intake and fill you up with healthy fiber. Low FODMAP ferments can also spice things up and make a great side dish or addition to salads and cooked veg.
  2. LESS ADDED KILOJOULES Did you know that many restaurant, takeaway and café meals are much higher in added sugar, salt and fat than the meals we prepare at home? Many of these establishments use fully prepared and semi-prepared foods as the base to much of what is served. This processing requires artificial colours, additives and preservatives in addition to higher levels of sugar, salt and fat to maintain freshness and flavour. Extra sugar and fat also means extra kilojoules, making weight management even more of a challenge. We do need some healthy fats in our diets. At home, fat types and amounts can be controlled along with sugar, salt, additives and preservatives, leaving you in the driver’s seat of your weight loss and health journey. Recent research indicates that high fat and high sugar diets can reduce the variety of healthy bacteria in our gut. Whilst this research is still emerging, it seems that an increased variety of gut bacteria is necessary to stabilize and manage weight. HEALTHY HACK—Include moderate amounts of healthy fats from things such as nuts, seeds, avocado olive oil and fish.
  3. MORE CONTROL OVER PORTIONS Cooking at home allows us to manage portion size more easily and accurately. Most of us have experienced sitting down to a meal at a café and being awed by the sheer enormity of it. Sandwiches that no mere mortal could fit their mouths around, not even Mick Jagger, beg us to dance with the devil and try to eat it all in one sitting. Many of us feel guilty and use excuses like “I don’t want to waste it.” Some of my male report it feels like it is a point of manhood to eat every scrap on the plate. Even when we order healthy items from the menu, the portions can often exceed our personal portion requirements, making weight management difficult. HEALTHY HACK—As a general guide, use your hand to help work out your personal portion requirements. Approximately 1 palm sized portion of meat, 1 fist of grains or starchy vegetables and 2 cupped hands of salad or low starch veggies will fit the bill. Please remember that some individuals may require more or less, depending on activity levels and body size.
  4. EASIER TO MANAGE INTOLERENCES

With the frequency of food intolerances on the rise, taking these into account is important, and sometimes a matter of life or death. Eating at home makes it much easier to monitor and manage food intolerances, as you know exactly what goes into each delicious morsel of food. This in turn can positively reflect in our weight management, as eating foods we do not tolerate well can be a barrier to losing weight, for a myriad of reasons.

HEALTHY HACK—If you suspect that you, family member or friend has an intolerance, get in touch with as Accredited Practicing Dietitian to help you figure it out. A dietitian can also help you maintain as much variety in your diet as possible, while avoiding foods that make you feel uncomfortable.

  1. GIVES YOU MORE TIME When you are organised and have all the ingredients you need on hand and ready to go, a healthy meal can be on the table in as little as 10 minutes. In the great culinary tradition, the term is called Mise en place (French pronunciation: [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]). Mise en Place is a French culinary phrase which means "everything in its place." It refers to the set up required before cooking, and is often used ensure that meals can be quickly and easily prepared when they are ordered by a guest at a restaurant. This practice of being prepared is also essential to ensure your success at home. It saves the last-minute decision making of what to eat or “too hard” paving the way for us to choose the easy take away option. Take away food also takes time, between the driving to get it, the ordering and the wait time. This amount of time could be an hour or more. Even just freeing up an extra 20 minutes could be the difference in liberating time for a walk or some other physical activity. This increased activity can also play a significant role in weight management.

HEALTHY HACK—Plan meals for the week ahead of time so that trips to the shops are limited to once or twice a week. Being organised makes healthy foods choices quick and easy, reducing stress and making weight management much easier.

Best Low FODMAP Protein Sources by Chloe McLeod, APD

When following a low FODMAP diet, one of the most challenging things is having so many foods on the ‘no’ list. We have focused a lot on vegetables and fruit, but what about protein sources? Are they something to watch out for?

Luckily, most animal based protein sources are naturally low FODMAP. Beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, kangaroo, fish… As they are, each of these are low FODMAP. The only way they become high FODMAP is if high FODMAP ingredients, such as onion and garlic, are added to them.

I have noticed for many of the people coming through my door, meat is assumed to be a big part of the problem; however in many cases, once the low FODMAP diet is commenced, these problems seems to dissipate.

What about though if you are vegetarian? Or vegan? There are still great options. Easy to access ones here in Australia include tofu and tempeh. Whilst both of these are soy based, they are considered low FODMAP. Some types of legumes are more well tolerated than others as well, for example canned brown lentils are usually tolerated quite well, whilst small amounts (quarter cup) of chickpeas also may be tolerated. With nuts, they are all tolerated ok, apart from pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts and almonds. One of the most common things I hear is ‘but they are all my favourites!’

Eggs are another vegetarian suitable option, and can make eating out for breakfast, or a quick, healthy, low cost dinner much easier.

What about milk? And cheese? The way most cheeses are processed, they actually contain very little lactose. Whilst in some cases, some people are very sensitive, it is also possible that you are either intolerant to dairy itself, don’t digest fat well, or maybe even be amine intolerant, a compound found in cheese, particularly the old, stinky types.

Lactose free milk is a great option, as is lactose free yoghurt. Alternatively, plant based milks such as soy milk (made from soy protein, not whole beans), almond milk (as is only 2% almonds) or rice milk are all appropriate alternatives.

Traditional Cucumbers pickled the old-fashioned way

Traditional Cucumbers pickled the old-fashioned way; in a salt water brine with our signature blend of spices including allspice, clove and a garlic and cayenne kick.  These crispy, Full-Sours are made from non-GMO cucumbers and grown with no chemical fertilisers or pesticides in the Barossa Valley (with its fabulous terroir).  They undergo a lactic acid fermentation process for a minimum of six weeks and are awash with billions of beneficial bacteria conducive to good gut health.  They are unpasteurised to maintain their benefits and have no added vinegar.  These are a real pickle!

Available from the following pickle supporters:

Aunt Maggie's Malvern - 72 Glenferrie Rd. Malvern - (03) 9500 2129

Geelong Fresh Foods - 171 Pakington Street, Geelong West  - (03) 5221 6004

Lewis & Son HQ - 155 Glenferrie Rd. Malvern - (03) 9509 9822

Naturally on High - 697-699 High Street, Thornbury - (03) 9484 7131

Superfruit Organic - 230 Waterdale Rd. Ivanhoe - (03) 9497 1055

Natural Pariser to add to our delicious range of FODMAP Friendly, Gluten Free Charcuterie

A delicious and nutritious, finely textured deli meat does make friends with salads.  Best suited for sandwiches or sneaky snacks -  but be warned, snacks may result in empty packets at rates quicker than anticipated.

Naturally made with care for conscious continental tastes. This Natural Pariser was made from premium quality grass fed beef that had a good life roaming free in lush paddocks with no hormone growth promotants. The meat was carefully prepared and mixed with the finest blend of continental herbs and spices and naturally smoked with German Beech Wood.  They are gluten free with endorsement from Coeliac Australia.  They have no artificial flavours,  colours,  preservatives, fillers, phosphates or any other nasties. They are suitable for folk with fructose or lactose intolerances, paleo diets, and is the first meat product in  the  world  to  be  certified  FODMAP  friendly.

Now available at the following outlets:

  • Lewis & Son HQ - 155 Glenferrie Rd. Malvern, VIC (03) 9509 9822

  • Sunnybrook Health Foods - 553a North Rd. Ormond, VIC - (03) 9578 6400

  • Karve It Up Meats & Fine Food - Shop 119, Level 1, Greensborough Plaza, Greensborough, VIC - (03) 9461 5111

  • Taste Organic - 25 Falcon Street, Crows Nest, NSW - (02) 9437 5933

Health for Life Kitchen recognises Lewis & Son's devotion to good health

Health for Life Kitchen™ have just run a cracking little article on your favourite (and only) artisans making FODMAP Friendly, Gluten Free, all natural Charcuterie.  Have a read about it here:

http://healthforlifekitchen.com.au/lewis-son/

Health for Life Kitchen™ is owned and managed by a group of individuals who are passionate about recipes and food for special dietary conditions and good health.  Following many years of publishing healthy cookbooks for prominent Authors such as Dr Sue Shepherd – the leading Dietician in Coeliac Disease, Melinda Morrison – Diabetes Educator, Rick Grant (aka Uncle Rick) – leading Gluten Free Chef in Australia today, Joanne Turner – one of Sydney’s top Sports Nutritionists and Exercise Physiologists, together with a number of other talented Authors, they decided it was time for a website that is devoted to dietary conditions and good health.  They are committed to building a second to none recipe resource for dietary conditions and food for good health, as well as providing a Membership area where Members can access exclusive competitions and offers, as well as share their recipes, tips and ideas.

 

Billy Joel knows it. When will you realise, Vienna waits for you?

Well, hot dog!  Those on a variety of diets such as Paleo, Coeliac, Low FODMAP often site the foods they miss.  Amongst the lists is always the humble hot dog.

Lewis & Son's Natural Vienna is the hottest hot dog in town.  We are talking the first hot dog in the world to be certified FODMAP Friendly, and by no less than guru Sue Shepherd's certification body.  It is certified as Glatt Kosher by Kosher Australia, and is Gluten Free and endorsed by Coeliac Australia.

They are made from beef that roamed free in lush paddocks and fed only on grass, and were not subjected to any hormone growth promotants.  They contain meat and spices.  They contain no artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, fillers, or phosphates.  They also happen to taste great.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Vienna waits for you.

Stockists in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney can be found at www.lewisandson.com.au/welcome

Sauerkraut, a work of art

Sauerkraut, a work of art

"The Art of Fermentation" is the book by Sandor "Sandorkraut" Katz.  This art form is the medium of choice for these beautiful cabbages that would otherwise have been framed and hung in a gallery.  Though without the addition of salt these cabbages may not have been beautiful for all too long, hence where lacto-fermentation comes in and with its transformative process makes the beautiful cabbage into gorgeous Sauerkraut.  Special thanks to the passionate Aphrodite of Kinglake Vegetables who farms vegetables with love and no chemicals.

The Benefits of Red Meat

We had a nice write up in the healthy living section of the Australian Jewish News this week. Our own Larisa Ulianitsky, BSc(Hons), MSc, MAIFST and Quality Assurance Assistant Bala Chander, B.Tech (Biotechnology), MSc Biotechnology (Food Science) weigh in on the subject. These professionals really do ensure the quality of the meat products you know and love and are an asset to the company.