Did you know that the average American household buys pickles every 53 days? That’s how much they love pickles!
Moreover, Americans’ pickle fondness is even depicted in kid’s cartoons. Remember how much the mayor’s character in “Power Puff Girls” was obsessed with his pickle jars?
So, if you are already going to indulge in a tangy delight, why not make a mindful purchase? Your gut will thank you for it.
Therefore, I have come up with three pickle recommendations that might put you on a gut recovery spree.
In a one-liner, it is better to buy fermented pickles if you want to improve your gut health.
But there are other things to consider as well, like the shelf-stability of the product or from where its raw materials are sourced.
So, keep reading to find out how you can make more gut-friendly pickle choices.
How To Choose The Best Pickles For Gut Health:
A fermented pickle is the only pickle type that will possess good microbes.
Still, you also need to check other aspects of the product, like the pickle type, use of pasteurization, storage instructions, marketing language, and any mention of probiotic content.
Hence, I have assembled a brief buying guide to help you with your pickle selection. Happy shopping!
What’s the Pickling Method
When you’re picking out pickles to toss in your cart, it’s important to keep an eye out for ones that don’t contain vinegar.
You should know that pickles are made by two methods, either they are pickled with vinegar, or they are fermented in salt.
The difference between these two pickle types is that soaking pickles in a vinegar-based brine ceases the existence of living microbes, either good or bad.
On the other hand, the probiotic bacteria (but not the pathogenic ones) flourish in the acidic salt-based brine, which offers a plethora of health and gut benefits.
Besides, to verify that the pickles you bought contain live organisms, you can check for telltale bubbles in the liquid after opening the jar.
What’s the Pickle Type
Pickles come in a variety of flavors because of the diverse range of herbs and spices like onion, ginger, dill, radish, or horseradish that are used in the fermentation process.
Apart from that, the fermentation time also affects the taste and texture of pickles.
As a result, you may see different pickle types like dill and kosher dill (they are different because the latter contains garlic), half-sour, bread and butter, French cornichons, etc.
So, you have a wide range of probiotic pickle flavors to choose from.
Interestingly, the Kosher dill pickles hold a special place in American history as they were the first version that the immigrant Jews introduced when they started settling in the country in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
However, as the demand for pickles grew, the pickle makers came up with half-sour pickles, which is why they are more well-known as New York-style or Manhattan-style pickles.
Pay Attention to Marketing Language
An easy way to spot probiotic pickles is to look for words like fermented, unpasteurized, probiotic, raw, no vinegar, perishable, keep refrigerated, organic, high-probiotic content, packed with live bacteria, and naturally fermented.
In contrast, you should instantly step away from products that mention words like shelf-stable, contains vinegar, contains preservatives, pasteurized, etc., because it indicates the use of processing strategies that may have killed off beneficial bacteria.
How Good Is the Probiotic Content
Ideally, it would be best if you looked for pickle brands that explicitly mention the probiotic CFUs and the probiotic species present in their fermented pickles.
But since only a few brands uphold a policy of straightforwardly mentioning their probiotic content so, raw, naturally fermented, and unpasteurized pickles are also good alternatives.
These products may harbor the typical probiotic lactobacillus species because they are widely used as starter cultures for pickle fermentation.
Note that the pasteurized fermented pickles don’t contain any probiotics because the high heat used in the process kills them.
Details Regarding Packaging And Product Placement
Packaging can help you narrow down your options with just a glance because pasteurized pickles are packaged in cans or special pasteurization-resistant bottles like that of Vlasic pickles.
In comparison, you will find fermented pickles packaged in screw gap bottles or a pouch that allow the living bacteria to thrive.
Additionally, the probiotic pickles that you are looking for will mostly be placed in the refrigerated section of the store.
In contrast, other varieties (vinegar-based or pasteurized) are pantry safe, and you may see them lying around the shelves.
3 Best Pickles For Gut Health
As mentioned above, there are too many varieties of pickles available out there.
So, out of the many options, I have picked some products that closely adhere to the traditional methods of pickling.
But wait, since salt is a critical element of fermented pickles so, when you are overviewing these products, pay more attention to their sodium content for comparison.
Also read: Does Salt Kill Probiotics?
1. Olive My Pickle Kosher Dill Fermented Pickles (Best For Those Looking For A Specified Probiotic Content)
CFU: 13 billion CFUs
Dosage: The manufacturers recommend eating it three times a day.
Probiotic Strains: Lactobacillus species (L. Plantarum, L. Pentosus) and Leuconostoc Mesenteroids.
Form/Type: Probiotic food
- It has a lab-verified probiotic profile.
- It is certified Kosher and organic.
- It is a whole 30 approved.
Storage: You should store it in a refrigerator immediately after receiving it.
Cost: You can buy 12 servings in a single pouch for $9.99. Here a single serving is designated by a half pickle (36 grams).
The Olive My Pickle Kosher Dill pickle is produced with the traditional pickling methods, so they are softer as compared to half-sour pickles and have a stronger taste.
Like the old days, it is fermented with the dill herb that has excellent potential to improve digestion and has antiflatulence properties.
In addition to that, it contains fiber and probiotics, which, combined with dill, is all you need to get rid of gastric issues like bloating, constipation, or indigestion in just a few weeks’ time.
Moreover, it has calcium, vitamin A, and iron that strengthen the bones and maintain heart health and nerve functioning.
Lastly, it contains the lowest sodium content as compared to most other pickles, so you don’t have to worry about it aggravating your hypertension or heart concerns.
- It is made with cucumber, high mineral salt, green olives, onion, garlic, dill, spices, and filtered water.
- Contains 220 mg of sodium per serving (36 g).
- Contains lab-verified probiotic CFUs and species.
- Raw, live, and unpasteurized.
- The vegetables are sourced from local farms.
- High in fiber, with 1.5 g per serving and only five calories per serving.
- Stored in insulated pouches and undergoes wild fermentation.
- Cost-effective and gluten-free, GMO-free, and preservative-free.
- Do not contain vinegar or sugar.
- Kosher certified, keto, and paleo diet friendly.
- Certified Vegan and Whole 30 approved.
- Ships within 3 to 5 days.
- Offers 10-15% discounts on different bundles upon subscription.
- Available at the official website, online stores, local stores, or farmer’s markets.
- Shipped cold in thick, compostable, insulated mailer with ice packs.
- Delivery is free on orders worth $115 (6 or more products).
- Has a 30-day refund policy for incorrect delivery.
- Shipping charges vary between $19.92-$9.99 based on the number of products ordered.
- Not certified organic by USDA.
Where to buy:
- You can order it from the official website for $9.99.
- Or you can head to the Amazon store to purchase a pack of three for $39.97.
- For shopping in person, you may visit the Riverside Arts Market or St. Augustine AMP farmer’s market on alternate Saturdays.
- Or you may find it in local stores in the Jacksonville, FL area.
2. Oregon Brineworks Garlic Dill Pickle (Best Home-made And Organic Option)
Dosage: You can eat it as much as you desire.
Probiotics Strains/Strains: Lactobacillus species
Form/Type: Probiotic food
- It is certified organic by Oregon Tilth.
Storage: You should store it in the refrigerator.
Cost: You can only make bulk orders which cost $60 for four jars and $78 for six jars. Moreover, each jar contains 16 servings per container, and a single serving size is equal to 1 oz (28 grams).
The owners of Oregon Brineworks source fresh pickles from their local farm and handcraft each of their batches so that you can literally get a farm-to-table experience with their product.
Additionally, as compared to their competitors, Brian and Connie Shaw use Himalayan salt for making the brine which has a higher percentage of trace minerals than other salts.
Additionally, unlike refined table salt, it is natural and free from anti-caking agents and harmful additives, which are proven by research to alter the gut microbiota.
Moreover, the high salt content of these pickles is in accordance with the artisan pickling methods and gives them their standard salty and sour taste.
In short, these pickles are packed with the dill digestive aid, the antibiotic and prebiotic goodness of garlic, and the probiotic microbes that will help to redeem your perfect gut health.
- Made from cucumber, dill, garlic, Himalayan pink salt, and filtered water.
- Contains 430 mg of sodium per serving (28 g).
- Raw, handcrafted, naturally fermented, and unpasteurized.
- Doesn’t contain vinegar.
- Certified organic.
- Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free.
- Unopened and refrigerated jars may last for up to two years.
- Opened and refrigerated jars may be good for at least three months.
- Should be kept refrigerated.
- Contains only five calories per serving.
- Offers refund in case the jars break during delivery.
- Available on the official website and online stores like Amazon.
- May be sold out in May and June.
- Only sold in bulk (4 or 6 jars).
- The taste may vary slightly among batches.
- Available only in a few local stores.
- There is no concession on shipping costs.
Where to buy:
- You can order it from the official website for $60 (four bottles) or $78 (six bottles).
- Or you can order it from the Amazon marketplace.
- For self-pickup, you may visit stores along the west coast or on the east of the Rocky Mountains.
3. Sonoma Brinery Whole Kosher Pickles (Best For Those Looking For A Crunchy Less-Sour Pickle)
Dosage: You don’t have to measure your intake. Eat until you are satisfied.
Probiotics Strain /Strains: N/A
Form/Type: Probiotic food.
- It is verified as a non-GMO product by the non-GMO project.
Storage: You should store it in the fridge.
Cost: You can get a container of 21 servings at a retail price of $7.49. One serving is equal to 1 oz (28 grams), which is approximately equal to 1/3 pickle.
These Sonoma Brinery Manhattan-style pickles are fermented for a lesser time, so the cucumbers remain bright green and have a fresh, crispy, crunchy, and mildly sour taste compared to full-sour pickles.
Another perk is that they will provide you with all the probiotic goodness without triggering any salicylates or dill allergies (if you have any).
Lastly, these pickles have a moderate salt content, garlic fiber, and good bacteria thriving on cucumber fermentation.
Together, these elements will help to reverse your gut dysbiosis, and they support a diverse gut microbiome.
- Made from cucumber, garlic, sea salt, nine spices, and water.
- Contains 220 mg of sodium per serving (28 grams).
- Does not have dill.
- Contains five calories per serving.
- Raw, All-natural, probiotic, never pasteurized, barrel fermented.
- Perishable, Keep refrigerated.
- Vegan, Kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO, gluten-free.
- Available in online stores and local stores.
- It cannot be bought from the official website.
- Not certified organic.
Where to buy:
- You can get it delivered online from Amazon, Instacart, or Imperfect Foods.
- Or you can purchase it from your nearby retail stores (e.g., whole foods market).
How To Make Probiotic Pickles? (On your own)
If you are someone who prefers self-made food instead of commercially prepared stuff, then here is how you can concoct the probiotic goodness of fermented pickles at your home.
Note: This has to be the easiest recipe I found on the internet, and I’ve sourced it from the New York Times article).
Kosher Dill Pickle Recipe
(Makes around 30 pickle quarters or 15 halves of pickles.)
- 1/3 cup kosher salt.
- Two pounds of Kirby cucumbers washed (scrub if spiny) and halved or quartered lengthwise.
- About five cloves of crushed garlic.
- One large bunch of fresh dill (preferably with flowers) or two tablespoons of dried dill and one teaspoon of dill seeds, or one tablespoon of coriander seeds.
- Start by dissolving the kosher salt into a cup of boiling water in a bowl.
- After you are done, add some ice cubes to the water and toss in the remaining ingredients to the mixture.
- Now add more cold water such that you can immerse the Kirby cucumbers, garlic, fresh dill, or spices in it. To prevent the ingredients from going afloat, place a plate smaller than the bowl over them and put weight on it. Set this assembly aside at room temperature.
- This is the most critical step because now you have to sample the cucumbers after every four hours. However, it may take one, two, or even three days for your cucumbers to become pickled enough to tantalize your taste buds.
- Lastly, wrap up your pickling experience by refrigerating the pickles in their brine and enjoy (but only within a week).
Remember that you can’t stop the fermentation process, but you can slow it down by storing the pickles inside the fridge instead of on shelves or in cabinets.
Does vinegar kill probiotics in pickles?
Yes, distilled white vinegar in high enough concentrations may kill the probiotic lactic acid bacteria in pickles. The reason is that vinegar has a very acidic pH (about 2.4), whereas most lactobacillus species can only proliferate at a pH range of 4.5 to 6.5. No wonder ancient Greeks used to clean wounds with acetic acid (vinegar).
Do store-bought pickles have probiotics?
Yes, raw, unpasteurized, and fermented (no vinegar) pickles have probiotics.
Are Claussen pickles fermented?
No, Claussen pickles are made in vinegar. But they need to be refrigerated because they are not pasteurized.
Which pickles have probiotics?
Pickles that are traditionally fermented in a salt brine and are not exposed to any heat sterilization processes contain probiotics.
What kind of pickles are good for gut health?
Fermented pickles are best for your gut health. However, the vinegar pickles won’t damage your intestines either. They just don’t have as many benefits as their fermented kin.
Are all pickles rich in probiotics?
No, probiotics are only present in fermented pickles made with salt brine. In contrast, pickles made in vinegar brine don’t contain any good microbes.