Thursday, May 02, 2013

What Flavour Pickles?

The concept of fruit-drink-flavoured pickles is probably not news to those of you on the other side of the Big Water, in America, but it certainly intrigued me, here in Aussie-land. I cannot imagine what these taste or look like, but now feel obliged to put them on my bucket-list.

Here is a New York Times article on Kool-Aid Pickles:

"A gallon jar of pickles sits near the register at Lee's Washerette and Food Market, a mustard-colored cinder-block bunker on the western fringe of this Mississippi Delta town. Those pickles were once mere dills. They were once green. Their exteriors remain pebbly, a reminder that long ago they began their lives on a farm, on the ground, as cucumbers. But they now have an arresting color that combines green and garnet, and a bracing sour-sweet taste that they owe to a long marinade in cherry or tropical fruit or strawberry Kool-Aid. Kool-Aid pickles violate tradition, maybe even propriety. Depending on your palate and perspective, they are either the worst thing to happen to pickles since plastic brining barrels or a brave new taste sensation to be celebrated. The pickles have been spotted as far afield as Dallas and St. Louis, but their cult is thickest in the Delta region, among the black majority population. In the Delta, where they fetch between 50 cents and a dollar, Kool-Aid pickles have earned valued space next to such beloved snacks as pickled eggs and pigs' feet at community fairs, convenience stores and filling stations. And as their appeal has widened, some people have seen a good business opportunity. Even the lawyers have gotten involved. Children are the primary consumers, but a recent trip through the region revealed that the market for Kool-Aid pickles is maturing...Billie Williams, 56, a special-education teacher at Carver Elementary, never saw one when she was a child. But she did eat dill pickles impaled on peppermint sticks, and she remembers how friends sucked the juice from cut lemons through peppermint sticks repurposed as straws. ''That's the same kind of taste,'' she said. ''Same as how they used to dip pickle spears in dry Kool-Aid mix for that pucker.'' The school sells Kool-Aid pickles from the popular red flavor family at its fund-raisers. ''They're easy to make a gallon,'' Ms. Williams said. ''You pull the pickles from the jar, cut them in halves, make double-strength Kool-Aid, add a pound of sugar, shake and let it sit --best in the refrigerator -- for about a week. The taste takes to anything. A while back I made a mistake and bought a jar of pickle chips instead of halves or wholes. Came out fine. This whole Kool-Aid pickle thing is going so good, you wonder why somebody hasn't put a patent on them.'' No patent application has been filed, but the name Kool-Aid is a trademark owned by Kraft Foods. Upon learning of the pickles, Bridget MacConnell, a senior manager of corporate affairs at Kraft, recovered, and then pronounced, ''We endorse our consumers' finding innovative ways to use our products.''...At the Stephensville Mini-Mart, set amid the cotton fields and catfish ponds between Shaw and Indianola, the owner, Hugh Davis, began stocking Kool-Aid pickles earlier this year at the behest of local children. ''They're not for me,'' said Mr. Davis, 66. ''It's the kids who've done it. They'll create a line of food for you; they'll dab a little something here and there and make it their own. They're good at inventing.'' Recently, some Delta grocers began selling jars of ready-made pickles. And entrepreneurs are emerging. At Lambard's Wholesale Meats in Cleveland, Allen Williams sells plastic gallon jugs of Best Maid dills, plastered with the Kool-Aid packs that denote the flavor within. (Mr. Williams declined to reveal who actually makes his Kool-Aid pickles.)"
A Sweet So Sour: Kool-Aid Dills, John T. Edge, The New York Times, May 9, 2007

Here is an Aussie recipe for Dill Pickles, which is exactly the same as an American recipe, which is, I think, somewhat reassuring.

Dill Pickles.
The true dill pickle is never made with vinegar, but derives its acid from the fermentation which takes place two or three weeks after the pickle is packed into jars or casks. Select medium-sized cucumbers from 5 to 6 inches long; leave on a bit of the stem. Wash in plenty of cold water, then wipe dry with a cloth, and make a brine. Allow one cupful of salt to nine cupfuls of water. Arrange alternate layers of grape leaves and dill until the required quantity has been prepared; put the cucumbers with this. Make the brine with hot water, and after it has cooled pour it over the leaves and the cucumbers. After three days pour off, reheat, cool, and pour over againA plate should be laid over the top of the pickels to keep them down. After they ferment the vessel should be covered as tightly as possible. To keep the brine well, a cloth should be laid over the top and washed frequently.
The Leader (Melbourne) September 26, 1914.


caro-chan said...

I'm from the US and I've never even heard of Kool Aid pickles! It must be a southern thing and honestly it sounds absolutely gross, especially with the peppermint sticks.

Anonymous said...

Have a look:

The Old Foodie said...

Frankly, I think they sound disgusting too! There is, as they say, no accounting for taste!