When it comes to kosher dill pickles, there are many different kosher pickle brands out there to choose from and everyone has an opinion about which is the best. However, there are few things that should and should not be in a kosher pickle. Here are some things to look for.
(Must Have) Garlic
Garlic is what makes a dill pickle kosher. Kosher pickles actually get their name from the early Jewish New York deli owners who would make sour pickles with dill and garlic for their shops. Because these delis only sold "Kosher" products, the pickles became known as kosher dills as well. If a pickle brand claims to be kosher, there should be garlic listed in the ingredients. If not, the pickles are not truly kosher.
(Must Have) Dill
Like garlic, dill is a must for any true kosher pickle. Because kosher is a variation of dill pickle, there should be dill in the list of ingredients. If there is no dill, the pickle will not have that classic kosher dill flavor.
(Not Necessary) Artificial Preservatives
A lot of national brands of pickles include artificial preservatives, such as polysorbate 80 and sodium benzonate, in their ingredient list in order to improve the shelf-life of their pickles. While these preservatives do extend the length of time that a jar of pickles can sit on the shelf in your local grocery store, a good pickle does not necessarily need these additives, because salt and vinegar are both natural preservatives that are normally found in pickles. If they are processed correctly, these natural ingredients eliminate the need for extra chemicals.
(Not Necessary) Undisclosed Ingredients
In an effort to hide proprietary formulas and protect their "secret recipes," some companies list certain ingredients as "natural flavors" or "spices". Admittedly, some added spices can give a particular brand a unique flavor profile, but when these two terms take the place of important basic ingredients like dill or garlic, it may be time to look elsewhere for your pickle fix.
(Definitely Not Necessary) Artificial Colors
Some brands choose to make their pickles stand out from the crowd by dyeing them strange shades of yellowish-green. But who really wants to eat "alien pickles"? Food dyes can be fun in certain applications, such as cupcake frosting, but they only add a strange glow and bitter after-taste to pickles.
When it comes to choosing the best kosher dill pickle brands to serve your family, look for natural ingredients and classic spices like dill and garlic, and avoid artificial colors and preservatives. This way, you will get a pickle that is not only natural, but delicious as well.