Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stamp and Food of the day: Cucumbers

Pickles a la Sweden! There are many types of pickles ('inlagd gurka') in Sweden, but none are called full sour, half sour, or dill pickles like in the US. Instead the two most common types are 'saltgurka' (salt pickled) and 'ättiksgurka' (vinegar pickled). Now, both types have salt and vinegar in the brine, so it is just a matter of proportions. Mustard seeds, dill flower crowns, and other spices are common, and my favorite recipe for homemade pickles is one my mom has given me.

This photo shows my daughter's favorite kind from our Sweden trip this summer - Mother Anna's thinly sliced pickles (Mor Annas tunnskivad gurka). [Question to Swedes, shouldn't it be 'Mor Annas tunnskivadE gurka' in proper Swedish?]. 'Gurka' means cucumber, and must be from the same root word as gherkin, the English word for tiny little pickled cucumbers. The word cucumber comes from the old Latin or Greek since the genus name is Cucumis. Cucumbers are a kind of berries with a leathery skin, and are placed together with pumpkins, squashes, and melons in the Cucurbitaceae family.

(Stamp from the island of åland, between Finland and Sweden in the Baltic Sea.)


Cynthia said...

I'm all for any stamp celebrating the art and science of zymology (fermentation). Can't say I've had a Swedish pickle that I know of, but I've met very pickles I haven't liked.

Keep up the great food posts. They are always delicious and inspiring.

By the way, this is Mr. Lebo, not his wife. She is not wildly fond of pickles. Chocolate on the other hand...

LS said...

Zymology - now that's a new word for me! It sounds like it is named after the sounds of fermentation, bubbling and oozing around :)