Quicklist: Different Types of Pickles
- Genuine Dill Pickle
- Kosher Dill Pickle
- Overnight Dill Pickle
- German Pickle
- Bread and Butter Pickle
- Candied Pickle
- Cinnamon Pickle
- Lime Pickle
- Hungarian Pickle
The word “pickle” is derived from the Middle English word “pikel” which means a spicy sauce or gravy served with fowl or meat. The word is related to “pekel” – a Middle Dutch word, meaning spiced brine used for flavoring and preserving food. Today, pickles are referred to as cucumbers preserved in a mixture of salt, vinegar, and other flavorings.
Pickles have been around for nearly 5,000 years and are enjoyed in many cultures. They are prized for their cultural significance as it is rumored that pickles were one of Cleopatra’s many beauty secrets. On the other hand, Cleopatra’s love interest — Julius Caesar — along with other Roman emperors used to supply them to their soldiers believing that pickled cucumbers made them stronger.
In 1809,French confectioner / inventor Nicolas Appert, devised a way to pickle and preserve food in airtight containers to feed Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops.
At the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, the H. J. Heinz Company distributed green watch-chain charms in the shape of pickles — the Heinz Pickle Pin — to lure fairgoers to their food exhibit. The promotion was so successful police had to be hired to control the crowds.
There are many different types of pickles to savor in the culinary world and here we cover all those varieties in depth.
Types of Pickles
1. Dill Pickles
Dill is a popular variety of cucumber pickle that comes in two main types: Genuine and Kosher.
Genuine Dill Pickle
Source: Mt. Olive Pickles
When you think or talk about pickles, the first thing that probably pops up into your mind is the dill variety, the most common one being genuine dill pickles. The pickles are whole cucumbers packed with dill seeds.
They are prepared from a traditional pickling method which is also the simplest one — pickles are covered in flavored vinegar and then stored on a shelf at room temperature. Most people prefer to snack on genuine dill pickles directly from the jar, but they can also be added to a juicy burger, hot dog, or savored simply as a tasty dip.
Kosher Dill Pickles
Source: Mt. Olive Pickles
Kosher dills have an interesting history. Claudia Roden, in her book, The Book of Jewish Food, explains that kosher dills were a staple food for Jews in Poland, Russia and Ukraine. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Eastern European Jewish immigrants introduced kosher dill pickles to New York.
Cucumbers were washed and then mixed with dill, spices, garlic and kosher salt. Then they were fermented giving the pickles a sour taste. They sold in pushcarts like hotcakes. In New York, kosher dills are available in two varieties: full-sour kosher dill and half-sour kosher dill. Full-sour kosher dill is fully fermented and is usually presented in long spears. Half-sour kosher dills are not fully fermented and have a bright green color and super crisp flavor.
To enjoy authentic kosher dill pickles, check out easy pickle recipes online.
Overnight Dill Pickles
Also known as cukes, overnight dill pickles are covered with vinegar and then kept in brine for a short period of time (one or two days maximum). As the name suggests, this dill pickle needs to be stored “overnight” to achieve its full flavor.
German-style pickles, a.k.a. Senfgurken (“mustard pickle”), are peeled before fermentation. Spices such as caraway seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns create a herbaceous flavor profile to the sweet and sour pickles.
2. Sweet Pickles
As the name implies, sweet pickles boast wonderfully sweet and tasty flavors. Just like other pickles, this pickle type is first marinated with vinegar. The pickles are mixed in with sugar and other spices like onion, cinnamon, and mustard seed to add sweetness.
Sweet pickles tend to come in the following variations:
Bread and Butter Pickles
Invented by two Illinois farmers — Omar and Cora Fanning, bread and butter pickles are easy to prepare and are a real treat for your taste buds. Cucumbers are first mixed in with ingredients like sugar, salt, white vinegar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and coriander seeds. Then sliced sweet onions are added in the mix to make the pickles sweet and crisp.
What distinguishes these preserved cucumbers from the others is the combination of saltiness and sweetness. They taste great on burgers and sandwiches and can be a perfect sweet-and-sour dip for fried items like spring rolls or fries.
Candied pickles are covered with rich and thick layers of sweetened liquids. All you need to do in preparation is cut pickles in thin slices and coat them with cider vinegar and sugar along with mixed pickling spices.
Sugar content contols the level of sweetness. Pour into a jar and seal properly. Store it in the refrigerator and flip the jar’s content daily for at least one week.
Other types of sweet pickles include sweet/hot pickles and no-salt pickles.
3. Gherkin Pickles
Gherkin pickles are a unique variety of pickles that are eaten both raw and cooked. Native to North America, gherkins are smaller as compared to cucumber pickles. Also known as bur gherkin or West Indian gherkin, gherkin is a part of the gourd family — Cucurbitaceae —and is grown for its edible fruit.
Gherkins are usually considered as condiment vegetables and are best added to sauces for their strong flavor.
To prepare gherkins, you will need fresh gherkin pickles, sugar, pickle spices, salt and vinegar. First, rub the gherkins with a hard piece of cloth and then prepare the salt mixture and marinate the gherkins with it. Let them soak for 24 hours. Now boil the sugar, vinegar, and spices together. Rinse the salt-covered gherkins with water and pour them in jars. Let stand for five minutes. Add in the vinegar mixture and seal the jars. Store the jars for at least a month before using.
Cornichons are about the length of your pinky finger and are quite crunchy.
They go by the name “gherkin” in the United States, while in other countries like France, they are known by their rightful name “cornichons.” Cornichons are one of the several types of gherkin plants and are picked before they have matured.
If you are interested in growing this type of pickle, consider varieties such as Fin de Meaux, Parigno Cornichon pickling cucumbers, or Parisienne Cornichon de Bourbonne Cucumbers.
4. Cinnamon Pickles
Cinnamon pickles are a sheer delight for taste buds. Unique with a bright red hue, the pickles are intense and vibrant in appearance. This variety of pickle is formed after a several-day process involving a candied syrup prepared by mixing red hot candies, vinegar, water, sugar, sticks of cinnamon, and red food color altogether.
The syrup is boiled on medium heat until the red candies are dissolved. Once the candies have melted, pour the syrup over the pickles. Cover it with a jar lid and let it rest for a day or two.
5. Lime Pickle
In lime pickles, there are no pickles involved, what is pickled is the lime itself. Prepared from limes mainly, pickles are a popular Indian preserve known as “limbu ka achaar.” Since limes are tangy in flavor, the overall taste of the lime pickle is quite strong, yet flavorful.
To prepare lime pickles, you will need salt, chili powder, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, and limes, of course. First, add limes in a jar and mix in thoroughly with salt. Cover the jar with a lid for two weeks. Over time the limes will turn a light brown shade. Add in mustard powder, fennel, chili and turmeric powder. Heat the mustard oil in a pan and add in mustard seeds. Turn off the fire and pour the hot oil over the limes. Mix well. Let the pickle rest for a week before serving.
Lime pickle goes well with a wide range of dishes including plain rice, Indian flatbread and parathas.
6. Hungarian Pickles
In Hungary, vinegar-pickled cucumbers are eaten in most parts of the year, however, during summer, leavened pickles (kovaszos uborka) made without vinegar are popular. To prepare this kind of pickle, cucumbers are placed in a jar with spices like garlic or dill. Salt and water are added into the mix. A few slices of bread are placed at the top and bottom of the mixture. The jar is covered by a lid and is left out in the open for a couple of days. The bread produces yeast and elevates the fermentation process.
Pickled cabbage, made from a mixture of vinegar and spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, etc.) is another favorite. Also known as sauerkraut, it is often served alongside cabbage casserole or cabbage rolls with rice and ground meat.
Best Types of Pickles for Various Recipes
Best Pickles for Burgers
Bread & Butter Pickles
Traditionally, most burgers are topped with a bread and butter pickle.
These types of pickles differentiate themselves from others because they are crafted with a combination of salty and sweet flavors. The pickled cucumbers are sliced in the shape of coins and sit perfectly atop a juicy burger patty.
Kosher Baby Dill Pickles
Pickles offer a great healthy and flavorful snack. Kosher Baby Dill Pickles provide a great crunchy texture and a salty flavor with minimal calories. Kosher Baby Dills are low in net carbs, a requirement of the Keto Diet.
Pickled or Fermented Turnips & Beets
Shawarma is a street vendor food that is popular in countries throughout the Middle East. Recipes differ across regions, but Shawarma is traditionally a combination of ingredients that have been wrapped in a flatbread. These vary but include meat (turkey, beef, veal, lamb, or chicken) cooked in spices, sauce or toppings, which include pickled vegetables like beets or turnips.
Best Pickles for Pulled pork
Gherkin pickles can be eaten either cooked or raw. While Sweet Gherkins are small (usually one to several inches in length at most), not every small pickle is a Gherkin. Most people love Gherkin pickles because of their amazing crunch. Sweet Gherkin’s are powerfully flavored and add a salty, acidic, sweet umami flavor to a pulled pork recipe.
Thicker Dill Pickle Chips
The key to a fantastic fried pickle is to use a thicker slice of dill pickle. The fried pickle, which can easily be sliced as chips from whole dill pickles, should be 1/4- inch in thickness. Thicker dill pickle chips create a better ratio of pickles for your chosen breading.
Thin Dill Pickle Chips
Dill pickles, which are among the most versatile and popular, can also help bring your chicken sandwich to delicious perfection. Thinly sliced pickles help to brighten any kind of chicken sandwich with a punch of acidity. Their thinness makes them ideal for layering that adds a juicy sweetness to complement the sandwich.
Bloody Mary Pickles
Dill Pickle Spear
Most Bloody Mary drinks are accompanied by a tall, crunch stalk of celery. Many bartenders use a Dill Pickle Spear instead — the acidic flavor and different textures of the spear are surprisingly tasty and satisfying.
Charcuterie Board Pickles
Cornichons are harvested and pickled at a young age, so they are typically no bigger than 1.5 to two inches. Cornichons are crunchy and pack a robust flavor. The taste varies depending on the pickling recipe, but their size makes them a perfect addition to a Charcuterie Board.
Pickles in Egg salad
Sweet Pickle Relish
A classic egg salad sandwich is a great go-to comfort meal that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Egg salad on some delicious fresh bread is the perfect dinner on a hot summer night. To elevate the creamy salad, add a teaspoon of Sweet Pickle Relish.
Pickles for Falafel
Lebanese Pickles refer to beets, turnips, onions, and many other vegetables that have been brined and added to dishes. Falafels are high in protein and low in fat.
A Falafel may be served on a plate or in a fluffy pita wrap with a spiced and creamy sauce and the crunch of acidic, pickled vegetables. In one bite, there are contrasting textures and flavors that offer warmth, spice and sourness.
Sweet Pickles are a great addition to freshly made salad. Sweet Dill Pickles are often used in salads as they enhance the flavors of the other salad ingredients.
Kosher Sour Pickle
The Kosher Sour Pickle has been a part of New York City’s Lower East Side’s history for more than one hundred years. At one time, on Essex Street in Lower Manhattan, there were more than 80 pickle vendors selling Kosher Sour Pickles from pushcarts.
When you stroll through the grocery store in search of your favorite pickles, there are a few brands that you can count on to be there.
Mt. Olive Pickle Co.
One of the most popular pickle brands is Mt. Olive, founded in 1926, and based in the town of Mount Olive, North Carolina. They are the largest independent pickle company in the U.S., and in 2020, also became the country’s top-selling brand. Kosher Dill, their most popular pickle, is available in four different flavor profiles: Kosher Dills, Hot & Spicy Kosher Dills, Simply Pickles Kosher Dills and Zesty Garlic Kosher Dills.
Dating back to 1870, Claussen has been a staple for pickle aficionados. One year vegetable farmer Claus Claussen underestimated a bumper crop of cucumbers and needed to find a use for them fast. He started pickling the surplus and the rest is history.
Originally based inside Chicago’s city limits, the company moved their operations to Woodstock, Illinois, in 1976. In 2008, their sweet pickle relish won the San Francisco Chronicle’s Taster’s Choice challenge.
Unlike most pickle brands, Claussen market their product uncooked — they are not found on the shelf of your grocery store but in the refrigerated section. You can choose from dill spears, whole dill pickles, burger dill slices, bread and butter chips, and hot and spicy pickles for those who need an extra kick.
Bosnian Croatian immigrant Frank Vlasic operated a creamery in Detroit, Michigan, before he started Vlasic in 1942. During World War II, the demand for pickles spiraled and he filled the need by creating a line of “Big Crunch” pickles in glass jars.
Today, the company offers a variety of pickles, peppers, relish, and sauerkraut, in many flavors and sizes.
One of the newer pickle brands, based on a 100-year-old family recipe, is Grillo’s. Travis Grillo started selling Grillo’s Pickles out of the trunk of his car at food markets. In 2008, he began selling his product out of a food cart in Boston Common, before establishing his own retail space in Cambridge, MA.
The company now features more than a dozen products: traditional spears or chips. dill, bread and butter, and half-sour options are all available. Grillo’s has now moved into a pickle-based salsa, Pickle de Gallo, that is gaining lots of traction.
Grillo’s Pickles are refrigerated instead of jarred. You can order them direct to your door and find them through retailers such as Whole Foods, Target and Amazon Fresh.
“Ready to get wicked?,” asks Wickles Pickles on their website. Located in the Deep South, Alabama brothers Will and Trey Sims, and business partner Andy Anderson, decided to bring their family’s secret recipe to the rest of the world in 1998.
Wickles Pickles feature spices and peppers to create 16 unique flavor profiles in pickles, relishes and spreads. Their website also features dozens of food and drink ideas to try out, such as the Wickles Boogie Burger or the Wickles Oyster Shooter. To complete the picture all you need is a little Lynyrd Skynyrd or Drive-By Truckers on the jukebox.
Frequently Asked Questions
When were pickles invented?
Pickles have been available for consumption for thousands of years. They date as far back as 2030 BCE. Cucumbers are native to the Tigris Valley. When cucumbers are pickled by soaking them in an acidic brine, they become pickles.
Where do pickles come from?
Pickling cucumbers are grown all over the U.S. There are 100,000 to 125,000 acres specifically used to grow pickling cucumbers. While they are grown in over 30 states, there are some states that grow more cucumbers than others including South Carolina, Colorado, California, Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Shop, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin. See: States That Love Pickles the Most.
Are pickles good for you?
Pickles can be good for you. They are full of probiotics, which are good bacteria and essential for a healthy gut. Pickles can help you fight disease. They are high in beta-carotene and other antioxidants. In addition, pickles are helpful in relaxing muscles to help reduce cramping.
Are pickles bad for you?
Pickles have a high amount of sodium due to the brining process. If you consume too much salt in your diet, it can be a contributing factor to high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure or take blood pressure medication, you should eat pickles in moderation to limit your sodium intake.
Why is pickle juice good for you?
Pickle juice is good for you because it contains a high amount of lactobacillus, which is healthy gut bacteria. It also contains probiotics which are microorganisms that are helpful for your body.
Pickle juice is helpful when recovering from exercise. In addition, pickle juice has electrolytes that help balance the fluid in your body to ensure your systems are functioning properly.
Are pickles good for weight loss?
Pickles can be a healthy snack because they are low in calories. This makes them a good alternative to other crunchy and less healthy snacks. In addition, they have a high water content which helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time. This may help you eat less.
Are pickles good for your skin?
The probiotics contained in pickles are good for your entire body, including the health of your skin. They can fight disease and boost immunity. In addition, pickle juice can help with sunburn, acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Do pickles go bad?
Pickles can go bad, especially once the jar has been opened. In addition, they are perishable, even though pickles take longer to spoil than other food.
How long can pickles sit out?
Pickles can be left out for about two hours. After that, the USDA recommends that you throw away the pickles when they have not been refrigerated. Most likely, pickles can be left out overnight without going bad because of the acidic brine.
How long do pickles last?
When pickles are not opened, they should last for about two years after being pickled. They can last as long as one year past the date on the label. Once you open the pickles, they retain their best taste for two to four months. If you got your pickle from a barrel, you should consume them within one week.
How long do homemade pickles last?
Homemade pickles can last for as long as two months in your refrigerator. They are best in a jar. You should note that they become less crunchy the longer they sit.
Do pickles need to be refrigerated?
Once you open up a jar of pickles, you should keep them covered and sealed in the refrigerator. Pickles that are not pasteurized are sold refrigerated. These pickles have live bacteria in the jar, and are still fermenting.
How long are refrigerator pickles good for?
Refrigerator pickles will be good for up to four to six weeks as long as they are kept in the refrigerator and the lid is sealed.
Can pickles be frozen?
Yes, pickles can be frozen. Then, when they start to get a little mushy, you can pop them in the freezer to get them more crispy.
Are pickles a fruit or a vegetable?
Pickles are considered to be both a fruit and a vegetable. Since they are made from cucumbers, they are a vegetable. However, because of their seeds, they are considered to be the fruit of the vine.
Are pickles and cucumbers the same? Are pickles from cucumbers?
Yes, they are one and the same. All pickles start as cucumbers.
How are pickles made?
Pickles are made by immersing them in saltwater brine or acidic liquid. They are kept in this liquid until they are no longer raw.
How are pickles grown?
Pickles start as cucumbers, which grow on a cucumber bush or vine.
Can you pickle English cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, radishes, and/or white onions?
Yes. You can pickle just about anything. To pickle a food item, you brine it in a mixture of salt and water.
Can you make pickles with apple cider vinegar?
Yes, apple cider vinegar is a great choice when it comes to making pickles. It is mellow and fruity, which blends well with spices.
Do pickles have any nutritional value?
Yes, they are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K and potassium. They are low in calories and fat. They tend to be high in sodium.
Do pickles have potassium, probiotics, gluten, electrolytes, and/or fiber?
Yes, one pickle has about 15 mg. of potassium and 0.8 grams of fiber. They are a great source of probiotics and electrolytes. Pickles do not contain gluten.
Are pickles bad for dogs?
No, pickles are not toxic to dogs.
What do pickles taste like?
Pickles have a salty and sour taste.
What pickles are fermented?
All pickles other than quick pickles are fermented. You are most likely to find quick pickles at the grocery store.
Does pickle juice stain?
Yes, it will leave a stain on the fabric.
How many pickles are in a peck?
One peck is about two gallons of pickles.
Why do pickles have bumps?
Pickles come from cucumbers, which have spines on their skin that are typically rubbed off before being processed. This leaves little bumps behind on the surface.
Why are pickles served with sandwiches?
Pickles are served on the side with sandwiches because they are a palate cleanser due to the acidity of the vinegar.