I was intrigued by this new item from Mastronardi Produce when I first saw it in the Produce Marketing Association Impact Packaging Awards.
This bucket o’ pickles took first prize at Fresh Summit in Orlando, so I knew I had to get my hands on a sample.
I expected mini seedless cucumbers, or Persian cucumbers, because I knew these were from a greenhouse grower. Turns out, there is an
actual pickle cucumber they used, which communications coordinator Daniela Ferro says is a proprietary variety for the Kingsville, Ontario-based company.
The cucumbers are small, spiky and look like a traditional dill pickle, but they taste sweet, like the flavor I’m used to from a greenhouse. My toddler actually couldn’t stop eating the fresh cucumbers. That’s not a bad problem to have, I guess?
When I asked Daniela if you could pickle a Persian cucumber she wasn’t optimistic about results.
“You could try,” she says, “but this specific variety yields the best flavor and consistent crunch in every bite.”
It was easy, fun and educational for kids. My boys already knew cucumbers were pickles, but we talked about the other things you could pickle, too. I showed my 8-year-old’s teacher the kits and she thought they would be fun to do as a project in class.
The kit includes spices, and you add water and vinegar after slicing the cucumbers. You get a half sour, or refrigerator pickle after you leave the bucket in the fridge overnight. Add some onions and you’ve got my grandma’s cucumber salad, actually. The only thing I’d do to tweak
the recipe is maybe add a teaspoon of sugar, but that’s a personal preference.
My toddler was so in love with the bucket of “pickles” he carried it around for a few weeks, requiring frequent refills. I had to use mini seedless cucumbers because I ran out of the spiky pickles he liked so much.
Daniela says the pilot crop sold out, but Sunset Produce plans to have a new crop available for retailers in the spring.