Friday, January 20, 2017

McClure's Garlic & Dill Relish

McClure's Garlic & Dill Relish

Although I started out with high hopes, I now have mixed feelings about this relish. I’d read about McClure’s pickle products on some other low sodium online sources ‒ blogs, social media, websites, etc. Unfortunately, the products weren't sold at any of my local grocers, and they weren’t available at Healthy Heart Market either. Amazon carried them, but the pickles were about $10 per jar. A little too much to pay for something I wasn’t sure about. Plus, my husband was quite happy with the Healthy Heart Market NSA dills.

I was really interested when I saw an ad in my local grocery store’s flyer about McClure’s dill relish. So, a couple of days ago, I picked up a jar. Only 70 mg sodium per ounce ‒ much lower than other dill relish products. One thing I immediately noticed was the price – a whopping $5.99 for a 9 oz jar! But I thought I’d give it a try. It just might turn out to be one of those low sodium products that I’d love and buy no matter what the price. (That’s how I feel about Healthy Heart Market pickles and Chinatown soy sauce.)

Here’s how McClure’s compares to other dill relishes: (prices are from my local grocery store)
  • McClure’s = 70 mg sodium/oz @$5.29/9 oz jar
  • Vlasic 1 T = 240 mg sodium/T @ $2.99/10 oz jar
  • Heinz = 230 mg sodium/T @ $2.49/12.7 oz squeeze bottle
  • Del Monte = 240 mg sodium/oz @ $3.49/12 oz jar
  • Store Brand = 230 mg sodium/T @ $2.39/10 oz jar

Today I opened the jar to spoon some onto a roast pork sandwich for my husband. The first thing I noticed was the liquid. It was sloshy! Very sloshy! The pickle solids were swimming in lots and lots of brine. I had to drain the relish before putting it on the sandwich.

Lots of liquid brine

The second thing I noticed was that the pickles weren’t chopped like a traditional relish. They were cut into very thin julienned strips along with some chopped garlic.

The third thing I noticed was the saltiness. The relish is supposed to be much lower in sodium than other brands, but I think the pickle strips swimming in so much brine, makes the overall taste seem way more salty. Since the salt is in the brine, you really need to drain the relish in order to avoid using too much or else you could end up consuming more sodium than expected.

Finally, serving size. The McClure’s pickle products are measured in ounces. A serving size for a pickle spear is 1 oz. I have no idea how much of a pickle spear that would be ‒ an entire spear, half a spear, or just a couple of chunks. You’d have to weigh it before consuming. The serving size for the relish is also an ounce. That, too, needs to be weighed. So I measured out a drained tablespoon and weighed it. The tablespoon ended up being a little bit less than an ounce.

A heaping tablespoon weighed in at 1 ounce

In order to avoid making a soggy mess of the sandwich or making it too salty, after draining the tablespoon of relish I was using, I also blotted it with a paper towel.

What are my thoughts? Well, the drained pickle strips tasted good, just like regular fully salted dill pickles. But it’s an expensive condiment. Figuring in that you’re paying for a lot of brine rather than pickle solids, makes it even costlier. The abundance of brine also means draining and/or blotting the relish in order to use it without overdoing the salt.

My final verdict?  For me, I honestly don’t think this product is worth the money or the trouble. If I want something crunchy resembling relish in tuna salad, tartar sauce, or potato salad, I can easily chop up the Healthy Heart Market NSA dills or bread & butter pickles. And since they’re both totally salt free, I don’t have to worry about weighing to make sure I don’t exceed a serving size. If I don’t want to pay for the Healthy Heart Market pickles, I can make quick/refrigerator pickles following the latest guidelines and recipes from reputable sources (Ball’s, the National Center for Home Food Preservation [NCHFP], or Linda Ziedrich).

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