This picture shows a typical winter pantry in the rural area of Transylvania, but also in the rest of Romania and most of Eastern Europe.
Vegetables and fruits are thermally prepared and pickled usually in late summer and in the autumn, to be consumed during the harsh winters when local seasonal food is almost non-existent.
Therefore, cucumbers, red and green tomatoes, cabbage, corn, carrots, onions, garlic, horseradish, peppers, cauliflower and all kinds of fruits are transformed into pickles, vegetable spreads, jams or stewed compote and are preserved for the winter.
As fruits and vegetables start fermenting, chemical processes occur, transforming sugars and starches to enhance the beneficial bacteria and enzymes. And this is how they are preserved for longer periods of time, while becoming healthier for your gut and incredibly delicious.
Generally, these pickled treats wonderfully accompany and complete the heavier protein-predominant winter meals (containing a lot of meats and sausages) making them easier to digest.
We cannot say if our ancestors had any idea of the health benefits of these fermented foods or if they considered them only as delightful side dishes for meats, but it's clear they were onto something, knowingly or unknowingly.
Do you like fermented foods? We would love to hear about your experiences with them.
And if you don't know so much, you can find out more about them and their properties below: