Experts believe that the ancient Mesopotamians pickled, which dates the pickle to at least about 2,400 B.C. Pickling served to preserve food before the widespread availability of cooling techniques.
The pickle has received much praise through the ages. There are references to pickles in the Bible, in many of Shakespeare's plays, and in Aristotle's works. Aristotle believed the pickle had many benefits, including increased strength and fertility. Cleopatra even attributed her good looks to the benefits of the pickle.
America is named after a pickle seller. Explorer and former pickle seller Amerigo Vespucci understood the benefits of the pickle during long voyages on the sea and is credited with saving the lives of many sailors due to his pickling techniques. Christopher Columbus grew cucumbers in Haiti and introduced pickles to the New World in the 15th century.
Commercial manufacture and sales of pickles began in the United States in the 1600s. The area now known as Brooklyn had many cucumber farms. Vendors purchased the vegetables, pickled them in large barrels, and sold them on Canal Street in New York. The classic deli kosher pickles have been available in New York since around 1899, although this style of pickle originated in Europe.
In 1942, Frank Vlasic created Vlasic Pickles in Detroit. Americans consume more than 5.2 million pounds of pickles each year. In 2001, New York City held its first Pickle Day celebration.