One of my favorite memories from childhood is eating my grandmother’s sour pickles. She would take crisp cucumbers, add a modicum of spices (we never asked which ones), put them in a jar of water and place it on the porch right outside the kitchen. The waiting was hard – sometimes close to a week, but when you took a bite, it was truly worth it.
 
         Pickles have a very long history. While the cucumber is mentioned twice in Tanach, the pickle seems to go back as far as 2030 B.C.E.
 
         In the 17th century Dutch farmers helped make New York home to the largest pickle industry. Pickles are available year-round, are relatively inexpensive and contain many important vitamins – including iron, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
 
         Today we don’t have to make our own pickles or look for a farmer’s market; we just head over to our local grocery or supermarket and buy a jar. But with so many companies to choose from, how do you know which ones to buy? It’s not an easy choice. As a rule, our family usually buys pickles from Israel. You know the ones that come seven to nine in a can and can be bought for .99 cents? Those are great if you are looking for sour pickles with a distinct taste.
 
         However, there are many times a sour pickle is not what you are looking for – for that we have dill pickles. Recently we received a shipment of Claussen Pickles (OU parve), and I took some home for my family to try. Surprisingly enough, (I say surprisingly, because we don’t like dill pickles) we loved these. We tried the Kosher Dill Wholes as well as the Kosher Dill Sandwich Slices. There was no overwhelming dill taste, and the pickles were crisp with a real good crunch. I put them in a salad with lettuce, avocado and corn, and they added a great flavor. So, what’s their secret? Refrigeration. Since 1870, Claussen has carefully chosen the cucumbers and spices they use in the process. The pickles are always refrigerated, which helps keep them nice and crispy. And for those of you watching your weight, pickles have no fat and are low in calories and carbs.
 
         What’s the difference between Dill pickles and Kosher Dill pickles? It’s not the supervision. Kosher Dill refers to the recipe – more garlic is added to the brine at the end of the process – the way they were made in the “old days” in New York.
 

         While family-owned for 100 years,  Claussen today is part of Kraft Family of Foods and can be purchased in your local grocery or supermarket. For more information on their products you can visit them on the web at pickles.com

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