Pickles 101

January 14, 2013

Pickles can be a great tangy accompaniment to a range of meals. Find out the difference in the varieties here

What are Pickles?
Pickles are cucumbers preserved in a brine or vinegar solution to preserve them. They can also be preserved in a sweetened liquid.
How to Buy:
Savory pickles are made in 3 basic types: fermented/processed: cured up to 5 weeks, lasts 2 years, very sharp flavor, soft texture; fresh pack/quick processed: pasteurized, lasts 1.5 years; refrigerator: home-made style, lasts 4-5 weeks.
Flavors vary with herbs, spices, seasonings, brine.
Sold whole, in halves, spears, sticks, chips, chunks, relish.
Dills: use dill weed or dill oil.
Genuine: slow processed fermentation with high lactic acid.
Kosher Dill: has garlic, robust flavor. (Kosher dills are a type, to buy kosher-made brands always read the label).
Overnight Dill: brined under 2 days in refrigerator, stored/shipped refrigerated, found in a deli counter.
Sour/Halfsour: seasoned in brine without vinegar, stored/shipped refrigerated, intense sour taste.
Halfsour: extra crispy, fresh green color.
Sweet pickles: packed in vinegar, sugar, spices.
Bread and butter: circle cut cukes with onions, chopped red or green peppers, sweet/tangy brine, waffle cut chips, chunks or smooth cut.
Candied pickles: cured in sweet, syrupy brine.
Gherkins: miniature dill or sweet.
No-Salt Sweet: in chips with little sodium.
Sweet/Hot: sweet with hot spices/seasonings.
How to Use: Eat as is, sliced on sandwiches, chopped in egg, potato or pasta salads.
How to Store: Keep shelf jars in cool dark cupboard; refrigerate after opening. Always store refrigerated jars in refrigerator.
Health Benefits: No fat, low in calories, high in sodium (dills) or sugar (sweets).
Smarter Shopping: Visit deli section for fresh-made pickles for best taste.
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