Monday, May 14, 2012
Rick’s Picks Pickle Adventures
When it comes to pickles, I keep looking for something that will spare me from canning my own. My husband has always been a dill pickle lover, so finding an acceptable pickle would add a special spark to his low sodium diet. I’ve made refrigerator pickles successfully, but they must be used up within a few months. The NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation) has a recipe for low sodium sliced dill pickles. My husband likes whole pickles or spears, and I have not been able to find an approved recipe for low sodium spears or whole dills. And frankly, I’d rather not resort to canning, if possible.
I was disappointed when B&G stopped producing their no-salt-added dill pickles. At one time, I could purchase them from several online sources. Eventually Healthy Heart Market came out with its own brand of no-salt-added dill pickles. But, as so often happens when dealing with low sodium products, the company discontinued production. That’s what sent me on another search for lower sodium pickles.
As I reported in an earlier post, I gave the Vlasic 25% lower sodium pickle spears a try. The taste was good, but the sodium savings was meager. Plus I was disappointed in the deceptive serving size information.
Recently, Health Heart announced that it was offering a selection of pickles from Rick’s Picks. As fate would have it, I had already ordered two different pickle products directly from Rick's Picks. I received my jars of "Classic Sours” and “Kool Gherks” a couple of weeks ago. The first thing I did was check the “Classic Sours” nutritional label. A 1 oz serving has just 75 mg sodium, and there are about 15 servings per jar. The pickles looked like spears, so I assumed there were 15 spears in the jar and each spear accounted for 75 mg sodium. Not bad for low sodium pickles. However, when I opened the jar, I discovered that the pickle pieces were not uniformly cut. Several were huge and a few were super skinny. I weighed one of the large pieces; it was 3.5 ounces. I’d have to cut it into thirds in order to come close to the supposed serving size. So I ended up cutting most of the pickle pieces -- depending on the size, some into thirds and some into halves. The pickles taste fine, but, at this point, I'm not sure if it's worth ordering these particular pickles again.
The website information on the “Kool Gherks” is a bit misleading. It shows 70 mg sodium for 1 oz of pickles with about 12 servings in the jar. However, the jar label states that the 1 oz serving is actually 1/3 pickle. The pickles are whole, so I’d have to cut them up. However, it’s relatively easy to cut a whole pickle into fourths. I’d get some fairly uniform spears that are even lower in sodium that the nutritional label boasts. Unfortunately, neither my husband nor I liked these particular pickles. They tasted strongly of the whole allspice used in the pickling spice mixture.
Last time I was at Whole Foods, I noticed it carried Rick’s Picks “The People's Pickle" slices. I might give those a try. The label has the same setup: 70 mg sodium for a 1 oz serving with approximately 12 servings per jar. There is no indication how many slices equal one ounce. So I know I'd have to weigh the pickle slices before serving them to my CHF husband. Also, I'm a bit leery of getting strange sizes of pickle slices again -- some super thick and others quite thin. It would be OK for use as a side condiment but not acceptable for sandwiches.
The bottom line: I’m stilling looking.