Pickles are found at every ritual and family table. It is known that, a long time ago, clay vessels in which fruits and vegetables were salted, marinated with vinegar, and various plants, were used for winter food. Such a vessel was sometimes a derg, sometimes a jar, and sometimes a specially-made pitcher. In Georgia, they also knew that clay pots best functioned as a refrigerator. Thanks to the natural clay, the product was protected from harmful substances, did not spoil, and maintained its pleasant taste and nutritional value.
Preparing pickles was not difficult, but some housewives knew the secret of making the best pickles. Pickle preparation was a separate ritual from the whole year's work. A family with a wine cellar and a pickle cellar, now that’s what considered to be a rich household!
In such a family, before setting the table, the hostess served the guests bread, pickles, and wine (or chacha). This tradition continues even now, with pickles at the top of the menu. In general, assorted pickles have an honorable place on the Georgian table, and bladdernuts (Jonjoli) are the first among them.
The Jonjoli pickle is prepared at the end of spring and in many places, especially in the East, it is served on the table mixed with fresh coriander, thinly sliced onions, oil, and vinegar. In Imereti, they offer jonjoli mixed with dried walnuts, fresh coriander, fennel, and vinegar.
A real delicacy is pickled garlic, which does not need any other flavorings or herbs.
Assorted pickles are on the menu of every restaurant in Georgia including pepper, cucumber, tomato, and cabbage. There are two types of pickled cabbage - beetroot-coloured (red) and simply pickled (white), which probably came from the cuisines of the Slavic world.
A ripe or semi-ripe tomato pickle (with herb and garlic filling) is a distinctive pickle that is made in late autumn, as well as leeks and black beets. Many housewives prepare pickled salads and mixed pickles, which will be a real discovery for vegetarians.
Recently, bamboo and choyota (Mexican cucumber) pickles have appeared as a delicacy in Georgian cuisine, which are prepared using special technology, and picking the plant requires an exact time.
Pickles can be found in supermarkets today, although the so-called “Peasant pickles” are the easiest to buy in the markets. The pickle is an essential partner for bean stew and green beans in Georgian restaurants.