One deli fave we can never get enough of? Pickles. Shelf stable, great to eat on their own as a late night snack, and the perfect complement to oh-so-many dishes, the humble pickle is a a widespread favorite (and interestingly enough, a seemingly common pregnancy craving!). Half sour, bread-and-butter, kosher dill—there are so many types of pickles on the market—some spicier, some more acidic, some herbaceous. Pickles are served in many ways, from sandwiches to burgers to straight-out-of-the-jar to alongside a hot dog (in the bun, trust us it’s good). Whether you’re a gherkin aficionado, home pickler, or just a lover of this crunchy, salty green ingredient, we’ve got the lowdown on said pickled cucumbers.
Bread and Butter
Though the origins of this classic pickle are murky (some say that it was used during the Depression between slices of bread and butter as a cheaper alternative to sandwich fixins, while others say it was a name trademarked in the 1920s after an Illinois couple traded their homemade pickles with their local grocer for staples like bread and butter), bread and butter pickles are usually made with either cider or white vinegar, salt, and ground spices like turmeric or cloves. Unlike other kinds, bread and butter pickles are usually sliced into rounds and often have waffle-cut edges. You’ve most likely enjoyed them accompanying sandwiches and burgers at your local diner. Sweet pickles, which are similarly sliced, are brined in a solution with sugar and are sometimes spoken of interchangeably with bread and butter pickles.
Usually made with Kirby cucumbers, dill pickles are flavored with the fragrant, leafy herb, alongside kosher salt and garlic. Some argue that kosher dill pickles are prepared in accordance with kosher dietary restrictions, while others suggest that they’re simply so-named because they are made in the style of many Jewish delis. When left to ferment for less time in the salt solution, dill pickles are known as half-sours. Half-sour pickles are usually a brighter green than others, as they retain their color from less time in the acidic solution. When left to ferment for longer than normal, the pickles are known as sours. These are the pickles you’ll commonly find cut into long spears and served with a simple club sandwich.
Cornichons are those baby pickles—about 1.5 inches in length—that hail from France. They are made from small growing gherkin plants (which are not the same as cucumbers) and have a tart, acidic flavor profile. They are a common addition to a cheese or charcuterie board, and often used in creamy rémoulade sauce or deviled eggs, as their vinegary taste cuts the richness of dairy and fatty meats. Vinegar and pearl onions are used to flavor cornichons.
Want to try your hand at pickling at home? It’s really simple, and this is all you need to know.
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