The pickled vegetables are traditional winter supplies for Bulgarians. Most of the people prefer the time around St. Dimitar’s Day to prepare them.

But, are the pickled vegetables wholesome?

Actually the winter salad, prepared at home in jars, is fermented vegetables that are easily absorbed by the organism and improve the functioning of the intestines, supplying them with components for the synthesis of essential vitamins. Pickled vegetables are natural probiotics or microorganisms (bacteria predominantly) which make us healthier when swallowed.

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The vegetables in the winter salads are low-calorie: 1 pickle for example contains only 4 kcal and 1g of fat.

Furthermore, pickles are rich in vitamin K – just one pickle provides 15% of the daily dose of this vitamin for the body. Many people include pickled vegetables in their diets because of the low calories in them.

Among the cons of the pickled vegetables is the high content of salt in them. Sodium may cause trouble to the people with hypertension and heart problems. Therefore, if you fall into a risk group, limit the pickled vegetables. Another drawback of pickles is that a lot of vinegar is used in its preparation whose role in weight regulation remains controversial, but certainly it may cause heartburn and exacerbate the problems of people with more sensitive stomach.

How to prepare a healthier alternative?

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When talking about healthy pickled vegetables, we should know that no preservatives are used in their production, even aspirin.

After a brief inquiry and consultation, I found that the vegetables will not spoil and will ferment well if you put half of the recommended in the recipe amount of salt and add a glass of brandy. You can leave them in the sun for a day or two, just to stimulate fermentation and when they become “sharp”, put them in jars and sterilize for 5 minutes after boiling. Thus, the pickled vegetables will remain for longer.

You can put fresh lemon juice in the raw pickled vegetables instead of vinegar marinade, and the squeezed lemon itself. Thus it will gain very fine aroma.

Finally, don’t forget that “the dose makes the poison”. Each food may harm us if we overdo it. The pickled vegetables are a great appetizer or “brandy” meal and should be consumed in small amounts or as people say: it is not to eat your fill.

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