It’s a Christmas tradition that has several “stories” to it. And if you’ve never heard about the Christmas pickle, it’s not too late to take relish in the custom (okay, I couldn’t help that one!)
It all started…maybe, in Germany. But many experts say that’s just not true. In fact, historians have rejected any connection between Germany and the gherkin.
Others say Spain. Two boys were kidnapped by an evil Innkeeper and put in a pickle barrel.
Well, maybe not.
The most colorful pickle story of all has the custom originating during the Civil War.
Private John C. Lower was in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry. And he was captured in 1864 and held at Andersonville prison. Near death from starvation, he begged a guard for a pickle to eat.
Granted his pickle, Lower survived his captivity. And when he returned home, he began the practice of placing a pickle in the family tree. The first child to find the pickle hiding in the branches would receive an extra present.
Now don’t think your tree pickle has to be the edible kind. There are now zillions of (quite pretty) pickle ornaments to continue this tradition with.
And if you happen to live in the vicinity of Berrien Springs, Michigan, stop by for the yearly Christmas pickle festival and parade. It’s something that’s been going on there for over 20 years.
But the best part of the pickle isn’t really a Christmas story or an extra present.
A true, fermented pickle can be a real health food. It’s an excellent source of probiotics, the “friendly” bacteria that has been found to protect against infections, help your GI health, and even strengthen your immune system.
So maybe that’s the real “present” we get from the pickle.
On Christmas and every other day.