Pickles are foods preserved in brine or an acid (vinegar) solution. In the U.S. when one refers to "pickles", we are usually talking about pickled cucumbers, but there are many different fruits, vegetables and even meats that are pickled throughout the world. Asian pickles are well-known for being spicy. Many types of pickles are credited with various health benefits (indeed the action of the bacteria involved with the fermenting process releases B vitamins), but the true magic of pickles is that, for centuries, they have allowed people to preserve food that would otherwise have gone to waste while the people starved for want of it.

Pickles are formed by a process of anaerobic fermentation in either brine or vinegar. The ingredients used and the biological processes lower the PH to below 4.6, killing off most bacteria. The addition of antimicrobial herbs and spices helps polish off any hangers-on, ensuring the safety of the food. Many modern picklers do a lot of sterilization as well, but this isn't strictly necessary. Purists will insist that this destroys the good bacteria that pickles contain and reduce their healthfulness.

In many cultures, pickles are served as a side dish at almost every meal. Home made pickles and other fermented foods provide friendly gut bacteria which many believe to have extremely positive health benefits. At the very least, they are wonderful to make ahead and have on hand for last-minute meals, take along lunches and snacks and those days when it's just too hot to cook.

Pickles made with brine contain active probiotics, assuming they were not pasteurized after pickling. Those made with vinegar do not. The World Health Organization and the British Journal of Cancer have reported that certain types of Asian pickles may increase risks of certain types of cancer. Please research this further on your own. (Feel free to comment below) You can start here http://www.care2.com/causes/hold-the-pickles-are-some-types-carcinogenic.html
However, some fermented vegetable preparations are believed to prevent and even cure cancer. http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/sauerkraut-anti-cancer-fermented-food-that-restores-gut-flora/

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A pickle is the sum of its parts and so contains the magical energy of all of its ingredients intensified.

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