Massachusetts Daily Collegian

What’s the big dill with pickles?

I don't know, you tell me

Sarah Price

Sarah Price

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What starts out as a plain, boring cucumber eventually becomes a delicious, juicy pickle. It’s like the transformation of milk into scrumptious cheese. Pickles come in a variety of popular flavors including bread and butter, sweet and dill (my personal favorite). Brine, or the concentration of salt used in the formula to pickle cucumbers, is key when considering the quality and taste of the eventual pickles. Essentially, the brine makes or breaks the pickle.

In my honest opinion, bread and butter is an abominable flavor. Whose bold idea was it to invent a pickle that tastes like bread and butter? Why anyone would ever want a cucumber to taste like buttered bread is beyond me.

Sweet pickles also get a ‘thumbs down’ from me. All dramatics aside, every time I see pickles at a salad bar I pray they’re not sweet pickles — it’s that mood altering. Sweet pickles have no place being on a burger or any other form of savory food.

Dill pickles on the other hand are the best flavor. They’re the perfect combination of vinegar, salt, garlic, dill and all the other delicious spices amalgamated to form a memorable treat. However, not all pickles are created equally. Below is an honest review of my favorite dill pickle brands and their acclaimed variations on the classic snack.

Claussen

***1/2

Claussen is arguably the most popular name in the business of pickles, yet their quality is nothing to write home about. Although the pickles are tasty and crunchy, I find them to be overrated — their taste becomes bland after only a few munches. The brine used by Claussen is decidedly too salty to consume a lot of pickles in one sitting, and without the option of doing just that, my interest is lost.

Vlassic

****

Some people are turned off by this brand because of their greenish-yellow colored pickles. However, I’m an enthusiast. I could eat a whole jar. The brine is the perfect balance of salt, vinegar, garlic and dill.

Additionally, Vlassic just came out with a new variety of pickles coined “purely pickles.” They are superior to the former variety in the sense that they claim to contain no preservatives or artificial coloring. As a result, they appear more fresh. If the old appearance was what prevented you from giving the treat a chance, I highly recommend the new and improved version.

Mt. Olive

***

I would rank this brand slightly above average, but I don’t think it deserves much further acclaim. The brine is tasty and the color is appealing, but Mt. Olive just doesn’t stand out to me. For its rather high price, it leaves something to be desired.

Some important pickle differentiations (aside from brand name) to keep in mind while shopping are the numerous shapes and sizes offered.

As far as cuts go, there are a variety of options including, but not limited to: whole, spear, sandwich slices, chips and gherkins.

Whole pickles are good when you’re really hungry and craving some instant gratification. However, sometimes they can be flat-out overwhelming, depending on the size of the pickle.

Spears are my top favorite cut. They have facilitated the perfect portion of pickle (I usually have two spears per-sitting). The shape is both visually appealing and thick enough to give a nice crunch.

I recommend sandwich slices in times of lighter snacking. I usually eat about four slices before feeling sufficiently satisfied. Therefore, I go through the jar rather quickly.

Chip cut is great for layering on hamburgers and sandwiches. They’re the perfect size to get a pickle in every bite. I love them as a condiment, but I wouldn’t buy the jar for regular snacking.

Gherkins are my all-time least favorite cut. In my opinion, their cut somehow makes them taste different than the typical pickle. They feel like wannabe pickles that just don’t pack the same punch. They taste different in a way that is difficult to describe. My theory, due to their small size, is that they don’t absorb the brine flavor as well.

All in all, pickles are a classic snack that deserve careful and calculated consideration.

Sarah Price can be reached at [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Responses to “What’s the big dill with pickles?”

  1. Bella on February 7th, 2018 4:28 pm

    GREAT ARTICLE SARAH. I honestly learned so much about pickles. Well written with humor, too!

    [Reply]

  2. Paige Giannettj on February 17th, 2018 11:49 pm

    Sarah I think we still have a whole jar of your favorite pickles at our house!

    [Reply]

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