We've always loved pickled cucumbers and we know there are lots of you out there who do too. But the world of pickles can be confusing. What are the different types? Where do my pickles come from? Which pickle should I buy?
inabitofapickle was started to help pickle lovers make more informed purchasing decisions. We've done all the hard work - and tasted some great and not-so-great pickles along the way - so you only buy the great ones.
Please enjoy our reviews and we'd love to hear your thoughts on our reviews and ratings. Keep in touch with inabitofapickle by subscribing to the blog for the latest reviews, or check out our social media channels.
There are three pickled cucumber production methods:
1. Refrigeration. This method involves simply pouring an acidic brine of vinegar and water into jars containing cucumbers, without subjecting them to further processing. While still being conducive to producing a quality pickle, this method is not sufficient to prevent the growth of undesirable micro-organisms, meaning a shelf-life of only a few weeks.
2. Canning. In this method, the pickle jars are processed in an acidic brine - again, consisting of vinegar and water - at a high temperature to seal their contents. This is the most common commercial method, and ensures that undesirable micro-organisms are unable to grow.
3. Fermentation. Instead of an acidic brine, the cucumbers are placed in a salt solution for a period of days or weeks. This pickles the cucumbers, while preventing the growth of undesirable micro-organisms, while also promoting the growth of healthy lactic acid bacteria.
The broad range of pickled cucumbers is represented in the inabitofapickle Pickle Flavour Universe. Flavours can generally be categorised as traditional (flavoured in an acidic brine), sweet (which contain more sugar) or sour (fermented, and lacking the acidic or vinegary taste of the other categories). Other herbs and spices may be added to contribute to a pickles' unique flavour profile.
Varietals in the traditional pickled cucumber family include:
Varietals in the sweet pickled cucumber family include:
Varietals in the sour pickled cucumber category include:
Our ratings are compiled by our inabitofapickle tasters using three criteria:
1. Presentation - A pickled cucumber should look appetising and attractive. It should have colour, life and sheen, and not be dull or grey.
2. Flavour - Flavours will vary depending on the type of pickled cucumber, but in general, it should have a balance of flavours, with additional ingredients complementing rather than overpowering the core flavours.
3. Crunch - A pickled cucumber should make a pleasing and resounding crunching noise when bitten into. It shouldn't feel soft or mushy in the mouth.
The inabitofapickle scoring system is simple. Each pickled cucumber is awarded an overall score out of 10 based on the three criteria of presentation, flavour and crunch, which each have equal weight.
The overall score results in a summarised judgement of the quality of the pickle, as follows:
9.1-10: Outstanding - a pickle of superior quality and style.
8.1-9: Very good - a pickle with special qualities.
6.6-8: Good - a well made, solid pickle.
4.1-6.5: Fair - a pickle that is edible, but has some flaws.
0-4: Poor - a pickle that is seriously flawed and best avoided.