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Cornichons from France. While they look like gherkins, cornichons are European pickles picked at two inches in length. Photo by Claire Freierman.




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May 2008
Updated February 2010

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Condiments

Pickle Glossary

Types Of Pickles & Pickled Vegetables

Page 2: Pickle Terms Beginning With Letters D ~ G



This is Page 2 of a 5-page glossary. Some of the terms below include dill pickle, dilly beans and gherkin. After you’ve peeked at the pickles, take a look at our other food glossaries—an easy way to get up to speed on more than fifty different food categories.

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Dill Pickle
Dill PicklesThe dill pickle is the most popular variety of cucumber pickle in the U.S. Originally made with fresh dill weed, today dill oil is added by commercial manufacturers (artisan producers will use the fresh herb and often pickling spices—mustard, pepper, garlic, etc.—as well). There are many types of dill pickles. See also Genuine Dill, Kosher Dill, German Dill, Overnight Dill, Polish Dill. The longer pickles ferment, the darker they become. Compare the color of these dills to the bright green half-sour pickles on the next page.
Photo courtesy of

Dilly Beans
Spicy pickled string beans, which are made with hot red chiles, along with garlic, mustard seed and pickling spices.

Fermented or Processed Pickles
Here, salt is used to ferment the cucumber: The pickles are covered with brine (salt dissolved in water). Vinegar is usually added to the brine for flavor, and seasonings are added during the final stages of fermentation.

Seasonings added to the brine at the end of fermentation can create a variety of different profiles, including Cajun, dill, kosher and zesty. These are the most common commercial varieties; artisan producers can create any flavors from curry to wasabi.

Fresh Packed or Quick Process
One of the most common methods for producing commercial, jarred pickles. The pickles are not fermented, but are preserved in jars with vinegar (sometimes with lemon or lime juice) and seasonings. Salt firms the texture and concentrates flavor. After bottling, the pickles are pasteurized, providing a shelf life of about 18 months.

Genuine Dill Pickle
Dill pickles made by the slow, “processed” method. Dill weed is added to the tanks during the last stage of fermentation or to the jar after fermentation. These pickles usually have a higher lactic acid flavor; they taste more concentrated and sour than other dill pickles.

German-Style Dill Pickle
An unfermented style of pickle, which does not use a brine, but pickles the cucumber in vinegar or lemon juice. This creates a less sour flavor.

A gherkin is not only a pickle of smaller size, but also a particular species of cucumber—the West Indian or Burr cucumber (Cucumis anguria), which produces a somewhat smaller fruit than the garden cucumber (Cucumis sativus). Some gherkins are made from the West Indian cucumber, but most are made from the garden cucumber. And yes, the cucumber is technically a fruit, not a vegetable: its seeds are contained on the inside. Gherkins can be dill or sweet. They are used to garnish appetizers and sandwiches, are served with sausages and pâtés and enjoyed as snacks. Chopped sweet gherkins are added to egg, macaroni, potato, seafood and tuna salads.



Continue To Page 3: Pickle Terms H ~ L

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