At the store today, we were in the pickle area, because Bob was looking for banana peppers, and I got a hankering for some bread and butter slices. Every single jar, bar none, had high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient (after cukes). I was so disappointed. As we know from the Centers for Science in the Public Interest, sugar consumption (I’m lumping high fructose corn syrup in with sugar, since it is sugar) has skyrocketed; we eat too much of it, because it’s ubiquitous. It’s in ketchup, bread, and yes – pickles. Am I seriously going to buy a product that’s second ingredient is sugar? I’m going to try not to.
Lucky for me, I was browsing through my Real Simple today, and saw a recipe for pickles. They’re dill, not bread and butters, and there are 2 tbs sugar in it. But I’m ok with that. Why, you might ask? Well, high fructose corn syrup is super-processed. It starts as cornstarch, and after a lot of breaking things down into sub-units and then adding and subtracting parts, you end up with a thick syrup. Sugar is still processed (since it starts out as a cane, or stalk), but at least the methods for converting sugarcane juice into sugar crystals have been around since about 500 BCE. The extra processing and refining that cornstarch goes through to become high-fructose corn syrup adds to our global burden. But since it’s a cheaper additive than actual sugar…it’s in everything.
My friend, Angela, is lucky enough to come from a childhood chock full of homemade pickles (and I think some other preserves, as well). The sweet pickles that her grandma makes are to die for. I’m not sure what she puts in with them, but they are also BRIGHT GREEN. I couldn’t say for sure what’s in them, but at least I have evidence that homemade pickles can be a thing of beauty! Sweet, delicious beauty.
Plus, I might be obsessed with that jar in the Real Simple recipe.