Have you been looking for a low-calorie way to make your veggies a lot more flavorful while adding practically no calories to 'em? Luckily for you, we've got an idea that might even make them healthier: pickling!

The practice of pickling is nothing new. In fact, evidence shows that the human race has been pickling away for over 4,000 years, and ancient queen Cleopatra even credited her legendary beauty in large part to her pickle-rich diet!

Pickling was first developed as a way to preserve food and extend its shelf life. This made it quite popular among sailors, who would preserve fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C to avoid scurvy during long voyages. It is thus thought that the first pickles were bought to the United States by Christopher Columbus himself!

When a food is pickled, it is soaked either in either in brine (highly salted water) or vinegar. Sometimes antibacterial spices, like mustard and garlic, are added as well. This gives pickled foods their distinctive taste, and actually preserves more antioxidants than cooking them would!

While certain vitamins may degrade with pickling, most of them will remain intact, and the concentrations of some may even increase. Salt-pickled food is also a fermented food, meaning that it is a probiotic that could help pave your way to a healthier gut.

While vinegar-pickled foods lack these health benefits, they have plenty of their own: for instance, vinegar has been shown to lower glucose levels after a carbohydrate-heavy meal. Our versions of pickled food, which use even healthier apple cider vinegar, may also aid in fat loss!

pickle

Pickled cucumbers are of course the type of pickled food most commonly consumed in the western world, to the point that "pickle" and "pickled cucumber" are almost synonymous. However, you can actually pickle all sorts of things: meats, fruits, carrots, celery, okra, olives, cauliflower, even pig's feet!

Pickle juice is also high in electrolytes as well as nutrients, which may be why it has been found to soothe muscle cramps in athletes. It's also been found to relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome and dehydration, presumably for similar reasons.

Pickling may also make vegetables more palatable to sensitive tasters who would otherwise be put off by their bitterness. On the other hand, many dieters find that the strong taste of pickles makes them a useful substitute for higher-calorie salty snack foods.

Yet pickled foods do have their pitfalls, most notably their high sodium levels. Too much dietary sodium can increase the risk of health problems ranging from high blood pressure to stomach cancer. Pickles can also have a temporary negative impact on weight despite their low calorie count since they can cause salt-related water retention.

Some processed brands of pickled food also contain preservatives or are made with sugar, both of which you definitely want to avoid! Our recipes for pickled cucumbers, pickled jalapenos, and pickled beet greens/spinach use a lot less salt than conventional versions, and substitute calorie-free Stevia for the sugar.

Feel free to adjust these recipes to your taste by adding additional spices like dill, horseradish, and turmeric. If this isn't enough pickle for you, and you may also enjoy our pickled red cabbage!

Pickled Cucumber

pickled cucumber

Pickles are better the 123Diet way! Estimated nutritional value of 79 calories, .8g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 34.9g carbohydrate, 2.9g fiber, 3.1g protein, and 7.1g sugar.

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook time
N/A
Yield
%yield%

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber sliced length ways
  • 4 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of pepper corn

Directions
Mix liquid ingredients together. Salt cucumber slices. Pack cucumber slices tightly into a small glass jar layering with crushed garlic and pepper corn. Pour apple cider vinegar and lemon juice into container until liquid covers the slices. Refrigerate overnight. Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Recipe provided by


Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos

Give this spicy food even more punch with a little pickling! Estimated nutritional value (for entire recipe) of 114 calories, 1.9g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 23.3 g carbohydrate, 6.6g fiber, 5g protein, and 6.6g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
5 minutes
Yield
1 or more servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups of green fresh sliced jalapenos
  • 2 tbsp fresh crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp pickling salt
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp stevia

Directions
Boil together vinegar, water and stevia. Place seasonings and bay leaf in the bottom of your jar. Place sliced jalapenos in the jar. Pour boiled liquid over the top and put lid on. Allow to cool, then place in refrigerator for 3 days before eating.

Recipe provided by

Pickled Beet Greens (Or Spinach)

Pickled beet greens

Give your favorite greens a kick by pickling them up! Estimated nutritional value of 97 calories, .2 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 22g carbohydrate, 4.8g fiber, 3g protein, and 11g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
10 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 vegetable)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups beet greens
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg’s amino acids
  • 1 clove garlic crushed and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Stevia to taste (optional)

Directions
Combine liquid ingredients and spices. Pour over beet greens and cook for 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally to mix spices. Add water as necessary. Serve hot or cold.

Phase 3 Modifications
Add 2 tablespoons of crumbled bacon to the greens for added flavor.

Recipe provided by

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