In case you were not aware, it’s National Pickle Appreciation Day! There are a vast variety of pickle facts we’d love to share with you! While our favorite brand at Gourmet International is Hengstenberg, you can see the many different brands of pickles, their origin and company all at the Pickle Packers International website, cutely named: ilovepickles.org.
We are sharing the following facts from that website and what better why to start by talking about the origin of “in a pickle” as stated in our title post today! Shakespeare first introduced that phrase in The Tempest. In the play the quote is read, “How cam’st thou in this pickle?” and “I have been in such a pickle!”
Consumption: How many Americans consume pickles within one year? Well, that answer is 2.5 billion pounds which is 20 billion pickles! Even more random fact from the site: If you want to reach the moon, it would take 4 billion pickles. Do the math and the amount of pickles consumed in one year could get us to the moon and back more than 2 times! How crazy is that?
World War II Ties: During the days of the war, the United States Government tagged 40% of all pickle production for the ration kits of the armed forces.
Is it a fruit or a vegetable? The United States Government technically classifies pickles as a “fruit” of the vine – much like a tomato, but most people categorize pickles as a vegetable.
What are the more popular varieties of pickles? Dill is considered the most favored variety of cucumber pickle. Other variations and varieties include Sour/Half Sour and Sweet. Let’s explore these varieties a moment…
- Dill. Herb dill or dill oil is added to impart a distinctive and refreshing flavor. The different types of dill pickles include:
- Genuine Dill. These pickles are made by the slow “processed” method. Dill weed is added into the tanks during the last stage of fermentation or to the jar after fermentation. These pickles usually have a higher lactic acid flavor than other varieties.
- Kosher Dill. True “Kosher” pickles are those that have been manufactured and certified in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, and made with dill and garlic added to the brine. The flavor is very popular, more robust than regular dill pickles, so much so, that the name has stuck and kosher dills are the ultimate accompaniment to an overstuffed deli sandwich.
- Overnight Dill. Cukes are places fresh into brine (which may include a slight amount of vinegar) for a very short time — one to two days. The entire process takes place under refrigeration, and they stay refrigerated when stored and shipped. They bright green pickles taste like fresh cucumbers accented with dill flavor. They are the kind of pickle you usually find at a deli.
- Other Dills: Include Polish and German Style.
- Sour/Half Sour. Fresh cucumbers are first placed into a seasoned brine which doesn’t include vinegar. The containers are then refrigerated, and remain refrigerated when stored and shipped. The longer the cucumbers remain in the brine, the more sour they become. Half-sour pickles are extra crispy and keep their fresh cucumber color.
- Sweet. Sweet pickles are packed in a sweet mixture of vinegar, sugar and spices. The variations include:
- Bread & Butter. Sweet, thinly sliced pickles made from cucumbers, onions and chopped green or red peppers. They have a distinct, slightly tangy taste. Available in smooth or waffle cut chips or chunks.
- Candied. These pickles are packed in an extra-heavily sweetened liquid.
- No-Salt Sweet. These are a relatively new variety of sweet pickle to which no salt has been added. Usually available as chips.
- Sweet/Hot. The are a “hot” new kind of pickle. They’re made by adding hot spices and seasonings to pickles for a delightful spark of piquant flavor.
You’re probably learning more about the pickle today than you thought you would! And did you know that pickles are identified as on the favorite vegetables of teens per a consumer study that was conducted for the pickle industry.
Now how about you? What’s your favorite type of pickle now that you’ve read through all the varieties? I have to say mine would have to be bread & butter. Nothing like the crunch of a nice crisp, bread & butter pickle! Nibble, nibble!