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Some brands are labeled handsomely and are easily giftable. Photo courtesy Brooklyn Brine Co.

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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 8e: Pickle Brands R To Z

 

This is Page 8e (page 13) of a 13-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

 

Brand Reviews: R To Z

 

The Real Dill

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  • Caraway Garlic Dills. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 150 mg. Sugars: 1 g. Good crunch. Great flavors, predominantly dill, caraway, and garlic, with a long finish of all three. The pickle equivalent of a good-quality rye bread. [FAVORITE]
  • Habanero Horseradish Dills. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 150 mg. Sugars: 1 g. Despite the habanero half floating in the brine, these are just mildly spicy—a boon for those who like just a little, but not for those expecting full-on habanero heat.
  • Jalapeño Honey Dills. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 170 mg. Sugars: 1 g. Mild spice; the honey adds something special, much nicer than pickles sweetened with sugar. [FAVORITE]
 

Caraway Garlic Dills from The Real Dill. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

These are large jars, but beautifully presented and better for a gift than many others.

 

Real Pickles

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Certified Organic

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  • These are fermented pickles, without vinegar. At this writing, the company ships within the Northeastern U.S. only.
  • Dill Pickles. Certified organic. Serving size: ¾ piece (28 g). Sodium: 330 mg. Sugars: “not a significant source of sugars.” Good crunch. Multiple layers of flavor, pleasantly garlicky and with a nice dill presence. Some unusual herbs/spices but they blend together nicely. [RUNNER UP]
 

Real Pickles. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

Red Hop Mama

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  • Hop pickles include beer hops in the brine. It’s a new trend in artisan pickle making; the hops add a dimension of flavor. Some pickle makers (but not Red Hop Mama) will add some beer as well.
  • Overall, one of our favorite lines in this tasting.
  • No nutrition information.
  • Hop Pickles (Slices). These pickles are not particularly crunchy. The flavor combines garlic, vinegar, moderate heat, and a touch of the beer that’s used. I can see these as a tailgate pickle, with beer and grilled burgers or sausages. Unusual, but good.
 

Hop Pickles from Red Hop Mama. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Hop Pickles (Spears). If we hadn’t known about the hops, we would have wondered about the unusual—but charming—seasoning in the brine. Very good.
  • Hop Pickles (Hot Bread & Butter Pickles).  When we received this jar, the item was so new a label had not yet been printed. Slices of onion and red chili pepper dance among the cucumber slices. One of the best sweet and hot products in this article. [FAVORITE]

 

Rejuvenative Foods

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Certified Organic

Non-GMO

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  • These are fermented pickles, without vinegar. These pickles are organic and GMO-free. The smallest size available is 64 ounces.
  • Caraway Dill Garlic Pickles. No nutrition information. The “health salt” listed among the ingredients is either Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, according to a representative. These are easily the largest pickles tasted during this study; they’re whole pickling cucumbers and large for pickling cucumbers to begin with. If you haven’t had fermented pickles before, the appearance of these pickles may be a little unsettling. There’s so much dill in the jar that the pickles seem to be bobbing in a dill swamp. Don’t be upset by that; these *are* very different, but not in a bad way. Slight effervescence on the tongue, a result of the fermentation. Almost no crunch, something I had been told about early on by the same company representative. There’s garlic first, middle, and last, but it doesn’t overwhelm. Quite a bit of dill presence, as you’d expect, with a little note of caraway just at the end.

 

Rick’s Picks

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  • Classic Sours. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 75 mg. Sugars: Less than 1 g. Deli-style pickle spears. These contain natural color. Much crunchier than most sour pickles. Some tartness, quite vinegary. A lot of minced garlic in the jar. Good.
  • Kool Gherks. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g/ about 1/3 pickle). Sodium: 70 mg. Sugars: Less than 1 g. Whole dill pickles. Very good crunch, tangy. Vinegary, with some pepper. I swear I taste cinnamon in these. Good amount of mustard seed and dill seed in the jar. Good.
  • K.O. Pickles (kosher and organic dill spears). Serving size: 1 oz. Sodium: 70 mg. Sugars: Less than 1 g. Good crunch. Vinegary. The skin on these is a little tougher than on other pickles. Good amount of mustard seed and dill seed in the jar, but not much dill presence. These pickles are certified kosher by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations.
 
One of our all-time favorite lines. Photo courtesy Rick’s Picks.
  • The People’s Pickle. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g/about 2 pickles). Sodium: 70 mg. Sugars: less than 1 g. I believe these have every buzzword known to man on the label, including: no fat, no cholesterol, low sodium, hand packed, all natural, and gluten free; the pickles are also “made in season with vegetables from local farmers”. These are garlic dill pickle slices, with a great deal of both minced garlic and dill seeds in the jar. The slices have moderately crunchy interiors and much crunchier exteriors. Some vinegar presence, but garlic—first, middle and last—dominates. Good.
  • Sweet Pickles. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Sodium: 100 mg. Sugars: 2 g. Good crunch. A gentle tangy flavor, but, despite the name, not much sweetness.
  • Not tasted for this review but previously enjoyed: Bee ‘n’ Beez (bread and butter pickles). Garlic Dill Pickles, Hotties, Spicy Pickles. Read our full review of all of Rick’s Picks pickled vegetables.

 

Stuart’s Cajun

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  • Dill Pickles. No nutrition information. Sold shelf-stable. The label mentions “habanero slices,” but we only see chopped bits resting at the bottom of the jar that may be the “red peppers*”. For something called “Cajun” dill pickles, these have the mildest level of heat; but are very good. The balance of tart vinegar and hot habanero, with garlic .
    [FAVORITE]

*Americans tend to call hot capsicums “peppers,” when they should be called chiles. “Pepper” was a misnomer applied by early explores who equated the heat of the chile to the black peppercorns they knew from India (here’s the history). The word “pepper” is not used in Latin America to describe chiles.

 
Stuart’s Cajun Pickles. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE  NIBBLE.

So when a label says “red pepper,” is it red bell pepper (no heat) or a red chile? You won’t know until you open the jar and taste the item in question.  Do the right thing; use the right word: chile or chili. If you must, then “chile pepper” or “chili pepper”—but it’s still incorrect. In the U.K., bell peppers are called capsicums, the genus to which they and the chiles belong.

 

Tabasco

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  • Hot ‘N Sweet Sliced Pickles. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g/5 slices). Sodium: 210 mg. Sugars: 8 g. What a surprise: Someone seems to have left the heat out of Hot ‘N Sweet. They are a nice, chunky sweet pickle chip with no hint of Tabasco or any other hot stuff.
 
Tabasco provides its famous name to hot pickles. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE  NIBBLE.

TabbyCat Pickling Co.

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  • Mother’s Pickles. Serving size: 1 tablespoon (15 g). Sodium: 25 mg. Sugars: 0 g. Sold shelf-stable. Firm and crunchy in a very pleasant, vinegar-forward brine. [FAVORITE]
  • A fun label for feline fanciers.

Unbound Pickling

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  • Bacon Pickle. This does not contain any meat products; rather, the pickles derive their name from the “natural hickory smoke flavor” used as an ingredient. No nutrition information. Very good crunch. The strong hickory smoke flavor overpowers everything else except a “hit” of vinegar. Length smoky aftertaste.
 
Calling all tabby lovers! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE  NIBBLE.

 

Vlasic

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Certified kosher by The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations

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  • Bread & Butter Chips. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g/about 3 chips). Sodium: 170 mg. Sugars: 5 mg. Good crunch. A little initial sweetness followed by a punch of vinegar. The spices/herbs in the mix have little effect. Contains high fructose corn syrup and yellow #5.
  • Farmer’s Garden by Vlasic Kosher Dill Spears. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g/1 spear). Sodium: 270 mg. Sugars: not listed, presumably 0 g. Nice crunch. A more subtle vinegar presence than many. You can taste the garlic; the dill comes in as an after-note. Contains natural flavor.
  • Kosher Dill Stackers. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g, about 1 slice). Sodium: 210 mg. Sugars: 0 g. Decent crunch. Very vinegary pickles with a slight dill aftertaste. Not interesting. Pickles have a very yellowish cast.

We Love Jam

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  • Bread & Butter Pickle. No nutrition information provided. Sweetened with sugar. Very crunchy and quite sweet. Flavor is complex, with a definite onion presence (onions are visible in the jar). Sold shelf-stable. Good.

 

Wickles Pickles

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Certified kosher by OU

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  • Wickles Pickles. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g/about 4 slices). Sodium: 150 mg. Sugars: 8 g. Contains natural flavors, Polysorbate 80, yellow #5. Seasoned with dill, garlic, sweetness and spice. A nice combination of flavors, very enjoyable on a sandwich, burger or grilled cheese. Good.
 
Most fun name: Wickles Pickles. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE  NIBBLE.

Wildbrine

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  • Sliced Dill Pickles. Serving size: 1 oz. Sodium: 320 mg. Sugars: 0 g. These are fermented pickles, without vinegar. An outstanding aroma: herby, savory and almost “meaty” (though these are vegan). Salty/savory on the tongue, with a little jump of pepper and a long fade of dill/garlic. These pickles are umami in action. [RUNNER UP]

 

 
Wildbrine pickles. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE  NIBBLE.


Woodstock Foods

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Certified Kosher By The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations.
Certified Organic

Website

  • Bread & Butter Pickles. Serving size: 28 g (about 4 slices). Sodium: 180 mg. Sugars: 7 g. All ingredients are organic except water, salt, and calcium chloride. The first taste is one of sweetness, followed by a kick of vinegar; onion and mustard flavors follow. Good.
  • Kosher Dill Pickles (Baby). Serving size: 28 g (about 2 pickles). Sodium: 290 mg. Sugars: 0 g. Contains natural spice flavors. All ingredients are organic except water, salt, calcium chloride, and xanthan gum. Contains “organic natural spice flavors.” Mostly vinegar and dill flavors represented here; garlic comes in a little later and lasts longer.
  • Kosher Dill Pickles (Planks, bearing the slogan “Flat and Happy”). Serving size: 28 g (about 1 slice). Sodium: 290 mg. Sugars: 0 g. These contain the same ingredients as the baby dill pickles. Moderate crunch. Vinegar and dill are the chief flavors here, with some garlic.

 

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