Two very important pickle related questions
December 1, 2005 4:40 AM   Subscribe

What is the definitive difference between kosher dill pickles and Polish dill pickles? And, in a related question, is there anything harmful about drinking the juice from a pickle jar when I feel the intense (pregnancy induced) need?
posted by leapingsheep to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Brine is pretty much water, salt, vinegar and herbs (usually dill). My mom's been drinking it for years and she's doing just fine.

Most Polish dill pickles I eat (and I eat a lot) have been pickled for 2+ months, from what I see, kosher dills are ready after a week or so.
posted by jedrek at 5:13 AM on December 1, 2005

And FYI, the "Polish" dills in North America are much saltier and tastier than actual home made Polish ones in Poland... they have been, to my disappointment, consistently soggy and bland.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:37 AM on December 1, 2005

Best answer: In my family, when we can pickles, the difference is that koshers are brined first with (you guessed it) kosher salt and water, before they are pickled in vinegar, and the Polish dills have WAY more garlic. Garlic, garlic!

And, as long as you're not drinking *only* vinegar and brine, there's no reason not to indulge from time to time. However, you might talk to your OB/GYN about pica if your desire to indulge in brine shifts to large doses of plain vinegar or to soap. (Very common; when I was pregnant, I desperately wanted to chew SOS pads.)
posted by headspace at 5:44 AM on December 1, 2005

The primary difference is actually the addition of garlic to the Kosher dills.

Seriously. At least that's been my observation.

Check the label.

posted by kungfujoe at 5:52 AM on December 1, 2005

headspace, I thought Pica was an eating disorder among young children?

What you're describing sounds more like a pregnancy related nutritional deficiency ...
posted by Dag Maggot at 6:01 AM on December 1, 2005

From a MetaFilter post I made long ago, there is at least one company that sells pickle juice as a beverage, so I think you're okay.
posted by Danelope at 6:09 AM on December 1, 2005

Response by poster: So the difference is related to: the length of sitting time, and the amount of or presence of garlic. Thanks!
No, I haven't had any wierd non-food cravings and I drink a lot of water. It's just that sometimes I want pickles so bad that the pickle itself isn't pickley enough.
Thank you for all your pickle knowledge!
*I read that pregnant women need extra salt because they have extra blood, hence the pickle cravings, and I think the brine is probably saltier than the pickles themselves which might explain the brine cravings. But don't worry, I'm not getting too much salt. I checked right away because I was thinking hey, there's a lot of salt in pickles. But no, I'm within range.
posted by leapingsheep at 6:11 AM on December 1, 2005

Response by poster: Danelope, thank you, that is my sister's new Christmas present! (She's always snuck a few drinks from the pickle jar.)
posted by leapingsheep at 6:14 AM on December 1, 2005

Best answer: It seems to stand to reason that if the Pickles are in it, then the liquid is safe to drink. Otherwise, how would the pickles themselves be safe? It's not like they're laquered or in plastic bags, the brine fills up the pickle like... uh, water fills a watermelon? Bad comparison, but hopefully you get the picture...

As for the Polish/Kosher pickle difference, here's an answer (google cache, site is down for me). This comes from "Pete" at PickleNet, and his answer is that both are the same. A Kosher or Polish pickle is made without using vinegar, uses a crock with a weight, and involves lactic acid producing fermentation. That seems to set them apart from other pickles, but he does also mention that nowadays, any pickle that looks like a deli-style pickle is referred to as a Kosher or Polish Pickle.
posted by splice at 6:19 AM on December 1, 2005

Pica is pretty common with pregnancy, and I don't know if they ever decided it was related to actual deficiencies or not. Pregnant women who eat ice are often low on iron, I read someplace. I think pickles are pretty common, although I think I'd drink a lot of water and not so much pickle juice all at once. If you give your body a chance to deal with the acidity a little at a time, it ought to be OK.
< /the voice of moderation in all things
posted by unrepentanthippie at 7:01 AM on December 1, 2005

You might not be craving the acid — you might be craving salt. In that case, pickle juice is a great source of it. Most pickles are packed in a solution of salt and vinegar with some flavorings added. If you're running low on sodium — say you've been sweating a lot — their juice is good to drink. If you've got high blood pressure, you might want to avoid it.

It's hard to find pickles made the old-fashioned way, but if you can, the juice is very good for you. Pickles used to be fermented using L. Acidophilus, the same microbe that's in sauerkraut, kim chee and yogurt. Active acidophilus culture boosts your digestion, fights off yeast infections, and is generally very good for you. It's the reason yogurt was such a health-food trend a while back. If you can still find pickles that contain active culture, drinking the juice is a great idea.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:21 AM on December 1, 2005

Best answer: (Slightly OT.) FWIW, I ate salt and vinegar potato chips during my first trimester. They calmed my stomach down and satisfied that salt/vinegar craving. If you're out and about, and can't get pickles, these chips (available in most convenience stores) might tide you over until you can. Good luck!
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:41 AM on December 1, 2005

As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I recall a season opener in Dallas a few years ago. It was a ridiculously hot day, and the training staff gave the players pickle juice to drink. Lo and behold, the Eagles won in a romp. So if it's good enough for 300-pound athletes who are the best in the world at what they do ...
posted by shallowcenter at 7:58 AM on December 1, 2005

I wish you could buy real kosher dill pickles in UK supermarkets. They all seem to be the sweet variety here.
posted by gfrobe at 8:58 AM on December 1, 2005

In East Europe and the balkans we drink pickle and sourkraut juice as a hangover remedy. In Turkey you can buy bottles of red turnip pickle juice "salgam" at any kebab shop. Great stuff.
posted by zaelic at 10:16 AM on December 1, 2005

Response by poster: [I]f it's good enough for 300-pound athletes...
It's good enough for a pregnant belly?

I can't express how thoroughly impressed I am with the collective pickle knowledge of metafilter. Thanks again!
posted by leapingsheep at 11:05 AM on December 1, 2005

So if it's good enough for 300-pound athletes who are the best in the world at what they do ...


*Begins to weep quietly*

So as not to derail: for whatever reason, I loved drinking pickle juice when I was a little kid, either from pica or salt deficiency. I was pretty young at the time - five or six maybe - and it didn't seem to hurt me any.
posted by kalimac at 11:21 AM on December 1, 2005

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