Pickle and Pickled Pepper Fact Sheet
- American households purchase pickles every 53 days.
- More than 67 percent of all households eat pickles.
- Americans consume more than 9 pounds of pickles per person annually.
There are hundreds of kinds of pickles to try. Among them are:
- Dill - genuine, kosher, Polish, German style, overnight varieties, and more
- Sweet - includes bread & butter, no-salt and sweet/hot varieties
- Sour and Half-Sour
- Pickled Peppers - jalapenos, pepperoncini, sweet and hot cherry peppers, banana peppers, etc.
- Specialty Products - includes other types of pickled vegetables such as asparagus, beets, cauliflower, cocktail onions, green tomatoes, okra and sauerkraut to name a few
- Pickles are usually available whole (including gherkins and midgets), or cut into halves, slices, spears, strips, chips, chunks, salad cubes, relish or sliced lengthwise for sandwiches.
- Dill pickles are the most popular type of pickle, followed by sweet.
- The interest in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine has made pickled peppers the "hot" news in the pickled vegetable category.
- Approximately 100,000 to 125,000 acres are devoted to growing pickling cucumbers in the United States. They are grown in more than 30 states, with the biggest producers being California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, North and South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.
- More than 15,000 acres are used to grow pickling peppers. While this may seem small in comparison, the acreage increases each year.
- For pickling cucumbers, there is usually a spring and fall harvest depending on the geographic location. Peppers yield one crop per year.
Most cucumber pickles are made by one of three methods: refrigerated, processed or fresh pack:
- Refrigerated - Fresh, clean cucumbers are put into jars, covered with a seasoned pickling liquid and immediately refrigerated. The entire fermentation process takes place under refrigeration. Once the cucumbers have absorbed the seasonings, the pickles are then shipped. These extra-crispy pickles are available in the refrigerated section of the supermarket and are marked with an expiration date, since their shelf life is shorter than processed or fresh pack pickles. They also must be refrigerated at home.
- Fresh Pack - Fresh, clean cucumbers are placed directly into jars and covered with a pickling solution of vinegar and seasonings, depending on the variety of pickles being produced. The containers are vacuum-sealed, quickly heated to pasteurize and then cooled. Fresh-pack pickles are generally crispier and less acidic than processed pickles. They also retain some of the flavor and color of fresh cucumbers. Jars of fresh pack pickles will say "fresh pack" on the label.
- Processed - Clean cucumbers are placed in a salt brine solution in large tanks where they undergo full fermentation over the course of one to three months. The salt is added gradually throughout the process so it permeates the cucumbers evenly. Pickles are then removed from the tanks, rinsed of excess salt and put into jars with different additional seasonings. Processed pickles have a sharper flavor and are usually dark green and somewhat translucent.
- Pickles are used most often as a sandwich accompaniment.
- They also are popular eaten as a snack right from the jar.
- Pickles and pickled peppers also are a convenient and versatile recipe ingredient. They add fast flavor to salsas and sauces, sandwiches, soups, appetizers, main dishes and more.
- Pickles are fat free and low in calories. An average-size dill contains only 15 calories and an ounce of pickled peppers provides only 7 calories.