Pickles might be having a real moment right now, but they’ve actually been around for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest pickles go back all the way to 2400 B.C.
The ancient Mesopotamians started pickling their food for preservation, except they brined their pickles with wine or beer.
Cucumbers came into the picture in 2030 B.C., making their way from India and causing people to really catch on to the pickle craze. And pickles didn’t only become popular because of their flavor. In 51 B.C, Cleopatra apparently used to consume them as a health and beauty secret weapon —meanwhile, over in Rome, Julius Caesar was feeding pickles to his troops for strength.
Today’s pickles wouldn’t be complete without dill — which arrived in western Europe in 900 AD. They eventually made their way to the U.S. and, in the 1650s, Brooklyn basically operated as one giant pickle. In the 1800s, Jewish immigrants brought over kosher dill pickles, but the whole industry basically belonged to H.J. Heinz by that late century.
Today Americans consume an estimated 2.5 billion pounds of pickles per year. Some people even drink pickle juice today for its health benefits, while others choose to chase whiskey with it — though most people just consume the beautiful briny things sans juice.