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We’re putting these pickles on everything! Photo courtesy Applegate.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

STEPHANIE ZONIE is a contributing editor at THE NIBBLE.

 

 

November 2013

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Condiments

Best Pickle Brands

Page 8a: A Survey Of Artisan Pickles

 

This is Page 8a (page 9) of a 13-page article. On this page, the review of artisan pickle brands begins. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

 

Now comes the tough part: tasting hundreds of pickles. While most of the brands are small producers, some larger brands—Classen, Farm To Market, Tabasco and Vlasic—were also tasted.

 

Brand Reviews: A & B

Companies are listed in alphabetical order. Shelf-stable products can be stored on the shelf until they are opened; then they must go into the fridge. Products that are sold refrigerated must be kept cold from the moment of purchase. The difference: Shelf-stable products are pasteurized to prevent the growth of bacteria at room temperature.

Ba-Tampte Pickle Products

Certified Kosher by The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations

Sold Refrigerated

Website

  • Garlic Dill Pickles. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g, about 1/3 pickle). Sodium: 180 mg. Sugars: 0 g. Good crunch. The immediate burst of vinegar is slowly replaced by a long afternote of moderate garlic flavor. No dill presence. Contains preservatives.
  • Kosher Dill Deli Spears. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g, about 1 spear). Sodium content: 330 mg. Sugars: 0 grams. Mushy spears, bland and salty, with slightly bitter exterior skins; no dill presence at all. Dill is not listed as an ingredient, though “spices” are. Contains preservatives, natural flavors, yellow #5.

 

Blue Ridge Jams

Sold Shelf-Stable

Website

  • Crisp Bread & Butter Pickles. No nutrition information. Although the ingredient list does not contain any sweetener, you can taste sweetness right away; a company representative told me that these do indeed contain sweetener (cane sugar). Despite the name, these are not especially crisp. They start out sweet, followed by a good kick of vinegar, then some spices.
  • Fire & Ice Cucumber. No nutrition information. The same level of heat as Sweet Flame (below), but just a small amount of sweetness.
  • Sweet Flame Cucumber. No nutrition information. Pleasantly sweet and moderately crunchy; a very good sweet and hot pickle. The large, even cucumber slices may or may not be a batch variation based on available  pickles, but they were the best looking slices we’ve seen.
 
Blue Ridge Jam pickles. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

Brooklyn Brine Co.

Sold Shelf-Stable

Certified Kosher by Rabbi Samuel Gringras

Website

  • Damn Spicy. Serving size: 48 g. Sodium: 70 mg. Sugars: 1 g.
  • Hop-Pickle. Serving size: 8 g. Sodium: 15 mg. Sugars: 0 g. There’s something different about this tart pickle: The brine includes Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and Cascade hops. A fun gift for a beer lover.
  • Maple Bourbon Bread & Butter. Serving size: 8 g. Sodium: 15 mg. Sugars: 0 g. Very unusual. What’s probably intended to be a little initial sweetness merely comes across as a muddle of tastes. This is followed by a whack of vinegar and a hint of pepperiness that curls the edges of your tongue.
  • NYC Deli Pickle. Serving size: 48 g. Sodium: 70 mg. Sugars: 2 g. An absolutely brilliant blend of savory and herbal flavors, with a wonderful three-part mustard-garlic-dill harmony. Not crunchy enough for me but I believe that’s a textural facet of this type of pickle, rather than a flaw. [RUNNER UP]

  • Whiskey Sour Pickles. Serving size: 48 g. Sodium: 60 mg. Sugars: 1 g.

Labels indicate “Contains NO Allergens”, a reference to the eight most common allergy-inducing foods—although the ingredients are almost never found in American pickles. In order of impact (number of affected individuals), these are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts), fish (bass, cod, flounder), shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp), soy and wheat.

 
Brooklyn Brine Co.: above, Damn Spicy, below, Whiskey Sour Pickles. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

Bubbies

Sold Refrigerated

Non-GMO Certified

Certified Kosher by The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations.

Website

  • Bread & Butter Chips. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 130 mg. Sugars: 5 g. Moderate crunch. Quite sweet. Vinegar taste not overwhelming, with a nice herb/spice balance. Good.
  • Kosher Dill Pickles. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 308 mg. Sugars: 0 g. These are fermented pickles, without vinegar. Not crunchy. Very strong fermented flavor with peppery notes and a dill aftertaste.

Busy D’s Gourmet Pickled Products

Sold Shelf-Stable

Website

  • Bread and Butter Chunks. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 530 mg. Sugars: 5 g. These look less like fresh cucumbers than many other bread & butter pickles. There’s a short burst of sweetness, then a blend of sweetness and tangy flavors. The onions and garlic add a nice finishing note.
  • Garlic Dills. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 360 mg. Sugars: 0 g. Good crunch. Garlic and dill are the chief flavors here, with a pleasing hint of pepper just at the end. Good, but we could use more garlic!.
  • Ghost Pepper Dills. Serving size: 1 oz (28g). Sodium: 360 mg. Sugars: 0 g. The ghost pepper (bhut jolokia) is the hottest chile in the world. These pickles pack heat, but thankfully aren’t blistery. And the flavor of the chile fruit* itself comes through nicely—something that can’t happen when capsaicin extracts are used (they give only heat).
 
Busy D’s pickles. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.
  • Spicy Bread and Butter Chunks. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 530 mg. Sugars: 5 g. Spicy, yes; zesty yes, with a complex layering of flavors. But also a bit too salty for us.
  • Zesty Garlic Dills. Serving size: 1 oz (28g). Sodium: 360 mg. Sugars: 0 g. Not tasted.

 

*Botanically, chiles are fruits, not vegetables. Here’s the difference.

 

Continue To Page 8b: Pickle Brand Reviews C to E

Go To The Article Index Above

 

 

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