Who knew there were so many types of pickle? According to Pickle Packers International, there are four main categories of pickle, with countless variations.
Pickles are often produced in three methods: refrigerated, fresh-pack, or processed (which implies curing or fermenting is involved).
So… what’s the difference between sweet pickles and bread and butter pickles?
It turns out that bread and butter pickles are simply a subset of the sweet pickle category, so you can feel free to swap them into any sandwich without fear of a condimentary faux pax!
Besides the distinction between sweet pickles and bread and butters, there’s a whole planet of pickles to explore. Read on to discover pickle p’s and q’s — plus, how to make some of your own delicious fermented cukes, carrots, jalapeños, and more.
Of the basic types of pickle, you can take your pick of the peck. The following are the four most common variations.
These are the most popular kind of pickle, made with fresh dill. “Kosher” pickles are the most common deli find, and dill weed is added to the pickles in the final stages of fermentation. Other kinds of dill pickles include Polish and German style.
These are pickles made in a brine that doesn’t contain vinegar. The half sour pickles are left in the brine for about 6-8 weeks and are not fully fermented. They’re also referred to as “new dills.”
These pickles are made in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, water, and spices. The following types of pickles are categorized as sweet.
Bread and butter: Tangy and bright green, these pickles are the famous thinly-sliced chips, smooth or waffle-cut, that you’ll often find on cheeseburgers at fast food places.
Candied: These are pickles that are packed in an extra-sweet brine, often a syrup.
Jalapeños, banana peppers, cherry peppers, pepperoncini, etc. can all be pickled in the same method as cucumbers.
No matter what route you choose for pickling, you’ll end up with some delicious (and often long-lasting) pickles that add an extra something special to that boring sandwich you brought for lunch. Experiment with different spices and herbs, as well as various types of vinegar, to find your perfect combination.
Check out these seven recipes for pickling and impress your friends with your peck of pickled peppers.
These bread and butter pickles have plenty of sugar for sweetness, as well as mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric, peppercorns, and garlic, for a complex flavor profile that packs a punch. You can substitute any vegetable you like for the bell pepper as long as you keep the ratios the same.
Take a scan at the veggies in your crisper. Can we pickle that? Why yes, you can (according to the folks on IFC’s Portlandia).
Make a basic brine (vinegar, peppercorns, mustard seeds, water, sugar, salt, and a bay leaf), and then choose between any of your favorite vegetables. This recipe works for carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, cauliflower, green beans, or okra.
Once you try making your own garlic dill pickles, it’ll be hard to pick up another store-bought jar again. The full 2 tablespoons of fresh garlic and freshly chopped dill make the flavors really stand out, and you can experiment with different types of vinegar (the recipe calls for distilled white vinegar) to change up the taste.
Sweeten up burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, or even ribs with this refrigerator-based sweet dill recipe. (Or just eat ’em straight out of the jar!) The crinkle-cut attachment on your mandoline gives these cukes the perfectly classic look.
These sweet and salty Kirby cucumbers from Chef David Chang are the perfect gateway pickle. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to a month, and they’re ready in only about an hour from start to finish.
Why limit yourself to cucumbers when you can pickle carrots too? Vinegar, red onions, jalapeño, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper are used to pickle the freshly scrubbed carrots. Set these out for pre-dinner snacking at a barbecue and watch them disappear.
If you’re sick of sweet pickles, try this recipe for candied jalapeños.
Slice up fifteen jalapeños in 1/4 inch rounds (and be careful about rubbing your eyes, etc. when handling the seeds!). You can use these immediately, but the flavors will further meld after leaving them in the refrigerator for a few days. Great on nachos or deviled eggs.