(Picture courtesy of christine at flickr.com.)
Since we’ve talked about the various relishes for sandwich making, it seems only natural that we conclude with a mention of the many added tangy pickles that make a sandwich more interesting yet. There are so many varieties, I doubt any of us like them all, particularly all at once, but without the pickles many of us would find our munchies a bit dull.
I was happy to find a review of every kind I know of, all in one publication here, and encourage you to add your own if you think of any others. For my taste, sweet dill is the perfection of a ham sandwich, and sour goes best with burgers. Pickle relish makes a hot dog more bearable, and no, I’m not a fan of hotdogs.
Dill: Dill is the most popular variety of cucumber pickle. Herb dill or dill oil is added to impart a distinctive and refreshing flavor. There are many types of dill pickles, including:
- Genuine Dill - These pickles are made by the slow “processed” method. Dill weed is added to the tanks during the last stage of fermentation or to the jar after fermentation. These pickles usually have a higher lactic acid flavor than other varieties.
- Kosher Dill - True “Kosher” pickles are those that have been manufactured and certified in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, and made with dill and garlic added to the brine. The flavor is very popular, more robust than regular dill pickles, so much so, that the name has stuck and kosher dills are the ultimate accompaniment to an overstuffed deli sandwich.
- Overnight Dill - Cukes are placed fresh into brine (which may include a slight amount of vinegar) for a very short time — one to two days. The entire process takes place under refrigeration, and they stay refrigerated when stored and shipped. The bright green pickles taste like fresh cucumbers accented with dill flavor. They are the kind of pickle you usually find at a deli.
- Other types of dills include Polish and German style.
Sour/Halfsour: Fresh cucumbers are first placed into a seasoned brine which doesn’t include vinegar. The containers are then refrigerated, and remain refrigerated when stored and shipped. The longer the cucumbers remain in the brine, the more sour they become. Half-sour pickles are extra crispy and keep their fresh cucumber color.
Sweet: Sweet pickles are packed in a sweet mixture of vinegar, sugar and spices. Here are some variations:
- Bread & Butter - Sweet, thinly-sliced pickles made from cucumbers, onions and chopped green or red peppers. They have a distinct, slightly tangy taste. Available in smooth- or waffle-cut chips or chunks.
- Candied - These pickles are packed in an extra-heavily sweetened liquid.
- No-Salt Sweet - These are a relatively new variety of sweet pickle to which no salt has been added. Usually available as chips.
- Sweet/Hot - These are a “hot” new kind of pickle. They’re made by adding hot spices and seasonings to pickles for a delightful spark of piquant flavor.
Pickled Peppers: Made in the same way as cucumber pickles, there are more than fifteen varieties of pickle peppers available, ranging from mild to hot, hot, hot. These are some of the most popular pickled peppers:
- Jalapeno - Thanks to the growing interest in Mexican and southwestern foods, this type of pickled pepper is hot – literally. Fiery jalapenos are packed in brine and come whole or in rings.
- Banana Peppers - Long, shiny, yellow peppers that come both hot and sweet , and are banana-shaped. They’re available whole or in rings.
- Cherry Peppers - Shaped like cherries, these pickled peppers are available in red or green and both hot or sweet versions. They’re most popular whole or in rings.
- Pepperoncini - These pickled peppers are available whole or as green Greek or Italian. Mildly hot, these peppers are popular in antipasto or Mediterranean-style salads.
Specialty Products: Not only are pickles and pickled peppers very popular, but there is a wide variety of pickled vegetables on the market today. Some are found nationally, others regionally. They include pickled asparagus, beets, cauliflower, cocktail onions, green tomatoes, okra, sauerkraut, sweet mixed vegetables, sweet pickles with raisins, and more.
Having myself enjoyed pickling peppers grown in the garden, I hope you have favorites, and make some of them yourself.
(Picture courtesy of jeffreyw at flickr.com.)