Whether a pickles bicycle path, a pickles museum or a pickles market – in Lübbenau everything centres on the pickle, for Lübbenau is the native town of the pickle itself – the so called 'Lübbenauer Saure Gurke' – and the delicious 'Spreewaldgurken' in general. Cucumbers exist verifiably in Lusatia & Spreewald since the 8th century (seeds have been found in Slavic hill forts). Probably Sorbs/Wends brought the seed with them from their native region – the Carpathians.
In the 16th century, Jacob von der Schulenburg, lord of Lübbenau, made Dutch clothiers settle in the district of “Reklin”. They produced subtle Dutch drapery but hardly anybody bought it because everyone wove linen themselves. This is how the Dutch almost starved to death, and subsequently started to conserve groceries. They pickled cucumbers in salt and water. This was the hour of birth for the 'Lübbenauer 'Saure Gurken', which are also called pickled gherkins. It is only through salt, water and the fermentation process that the typical sour-salty taste comes into being. “Reklin” is nowadays situated in the so-called “pickle distric” in which five pickle manufactories are still to be found.
Since the road pavement from Berlin to Cottbus in 1844 and the extension of the railway network Berlin-Görlitz in 1966, the trade with pickles flourished.
First and foremost, in and around Lübbenau, pickles as well as other vegetables and herbs have been grown in large amounts. Many private pickle manufactories emerged and at nearly all yards in the Old Town of Lübbenau, cucumbers were pickled during cucumber time. More than twenty pickle manufactories emerged, of which up until today five exist in the pickle district alone. Such density of cucumber-processing firms did and still do exist only in Lübbenau.
What makes the 'Spreewaldgurken' extraordinarily delicious is the good soil as well as the water quality – they contribute to the distinctive flavour of the pickling herbs and cucumbers.
Throughout the centuries, recipes for pickles were constantly refined and harmonised with different herbs and spices. This is how a rich diversity of delicious pickle varieties exists today.
You can try and enjoy these for instance at Lübbenau's pickle stands at the big harbour.