National Pickle Day, celebrated each year on Nov. 14 by pickle lovers throughout the country, recognizes the tart, sometimes sweet and even spicy pickle. On this day pickle lovers pop open pecks of their preferred preserved pickle. It may be a Dill, Gherkin, Cornichon, Brined, Kosher Dill, Polish, Hungarian, Lime, Bread and Butter, Swedish and Danish or even Kool-Aid Pickle. Celebrities like Matthew McConaughey are huge fans of pickles, and SuckerPunch Gourmet can possibly claim having the first pickle on the Mt. Everest Basecamp.
Popular franchises such as Chick-fil-A and Subway recognize the important contribution that pickles make for sandwiches and subs. In fact, Americans consume a phenomenal 5,200,000 pounds of pickles each year. While pickles can be high in sodium, they are a good source of vitamin K. In moderation, they make a great snack. A rising trend is deep-fried pickles. The pickle is wrapped in dough or dipped in breading and deep-fried.
Pickles aren’t the only thing to celebrate, because pickle juice/brine has a lot of uses, from Esquites Mac and Cheese with Pickle Brine to BBQ Sauce and even Pickle Soup. Also, pickle juice is known to have incredible health benefits, packed with antioxidants, probiotics and electrolytes making for a unique snack.
Alok Advani, CEO of SuckerPunch Gourmet, has spent his entire career in food. “I love having an impact on how and what we eat, especially spotting food trends,” he says. “When I was approached to lead SuckerPunch, I was reluctant at first. To me, pickles have been around for centuries, and not much has changed. After some digging, I realized that there was so much more to pickles than I thought. And to consumers, pickles are fun, whimsical and can transform a meal. I suddenly became excited and saw a real opportunity to do pickles differently.”
Pickle production is an intricate process. Advani explains, “We start with the best cucumbers sourced from local farms. Slightly smaller cucumbers give us a better crunch. Once pulled from the ground, we must pickle them very quickly. We sort, wash and send them through a shuffling table with a grate that allows the smallest pieces to pass through to be diced and turned into relish. Cucumbers are then shot through a slicer that cuts them into chips or spears. The jars are rinsed, hand-spiced with our 11-spice blend and any peppers or onions that we might add. Then the chips are tumble-filled and the spears are hand-stuffed. They are conveyed through a waterfall briner to submerge the cucumbers, are capped and pasteurized. The jars are heated for five minutes and quickly enter a cooling tunnel to rapidly cool, helping them maintain their crunch. They are then labeled, date-coded, shipped out and hopefully enjoyed.”
Seven out of ten people prefer a classic kosher dill pickle. Advani adds, “A dill pickle is palate-cleansing and rejuvenating. It’s a great sidekick to a sandwich, and can knockout salt cravings as a snack. You can pickle pretty much any vegetable. We were recently at the plant, tasting innovation, and the one that surprised me most was horseradish pickles. It was a very strong flavor that I didn’t expect to be so good. It was eye-opening, both literally and figuratively.”
SuckerPunch Gourmet, makers of 11 spice savored pickles, offers the following delectable pickle-based products and recipes.
– Pickle Beer – Created in partnership with DESTIHL Brewing, The SuckerPunch Dill Pickle Sour Beer is packed with the citrusy flavors of a DESTIHL gose ale combined with the unmistakable zesty, garlicky flavor of a Suckerpunch dill pickle to create a uniquely delicious, knockout flavor experience. The SuckerPunch Spicy Pickle Sour Beer takes the original fan favorite and adds a kick with spicy garlic pickle brine to create a flavor experience that hits your taste buds with a wallop.
– Pickle Juice Shots – The Invigorating Dill Hydration shot features calcium, magnesium, and potassium for the electrolytes your body craves with the added benefit of cramp relief. The Rejuvenating Ginger Digestion shot features 500mm CFUs of probiotics to get you regular. Think of it as a gutshot that you actually want. At just 2oz in size, they are the perfect travel companion and TSA-friendly.
– Pickle Snack Packs – The snack packs are the new on-the-go snack; shelf-stable and perfect for snacking anytime, anywhere. All three flavors come in resealable pouches. Why get caught in a snack-related pickle when you can just bring the pickle with you?
– Pickle Mocktails and Cocktails – The Dive in Cave City, KY, is serving up a Pickle Whiskey Sour with a housemade pickle simple syrup while celebrated mixologist Sam Rivers has created Pickle-Rita and Honey Punch cocktails and mocktails. Rivers is no stranger to drinks done differently, having created cocktail menus for 2018-2022 The MET Galas and events for top fashion brands. The full recipes are available via the hyperlinks and can be viewed with him in action on his Instagram.