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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Trader Joe's Organic Kosher Dill Pickle Spears

You'll never see me purchase a jar of pickles, even with the recent debut of Trader Joe's Organic Kosher Dill Pickle Spears. It's not me - it's the family. Sandy refuses to touch, let alone attempt to consume, anything like a pickle, or even anything that's even touched a pickle - this had led to some interesting dinner time dill-emmas and dissections when out at a restaurant. Best case scenario: I get an extra pickle! Worst case: Waitstaff eye rolls abound. As for our toddler, Lil Ms. M.? Well, in her words: "I wicked a pick-kull once but I didn't wike it." That's a true story, I wish I would have captured that grimace for all of time. Baby B, who's started eating some table food, has tried a pickle and seemed to like it; then again, she somehow got a hold of a lemon slice and loved it, so I think she's still honing her palate. I mean, she also likes rocks, for goodness sake.

So, I'm grateful for my brother and sister-in-law, and their kiddos, all of them pickle aficionados, for dropping the $2.39 at TJ's for a jarful right before we came over for a Labor Day grill out. That way I got to try them without plopping down the cash, knowing it'd probably ultimately go to waste since I'm the only one in the household who would touch them.

Alright, so anyways....yeah, a jar of pickles isn't as flashy or eye-catching as, say, bags of pickley popcorn that all of you seem to love. I mean, there's not all that much one can do to a pickle to make it stand out all that much, is there? That's probably right, but...these do seem a little different than most I'm used to. There's a little added sweetness that must be from the cucumbers themselves - it's not overpowering, or even completely obvious, but to me, it's there. Most cucumber bases for pickles either taste like a pretty straightforward cuke - kinda bland in a wholesome way - or get over-saltied or vinegaried. Not these. The dill and garlic are also there as a good accompaniment but aren't all that dominant, either. Instead, these pickles just taste good and fresh, with a crunchy, firm bite. Eat right from the jar or snuggle up in a bun with a  hot dog, these guys are good to go.

That being said....There's a particularly perplexing pickley problem here, especially if you're a serving size stickler. Look at it: A serving is 3/4th's of a spear. What!?!?!?! The only reasonable explanation is the sodium - if my math isn't too fuzzy, if 3/4ths a spear is 12% of suggested sodium intake, a full spear is 16%, and just maybe that number would scare off too many potential suitors. I call shenanigans on that. Look: No one's going to lop off a little middling pickle stub. You're going to eat one, if not more. And pickle people know what they're into when it comes to pickles and sodium - there's a lot of it. We deal with it. Don't jerry-rig the serving size to make them appear to be not as salty as they are. It strikes me as dishonest.

Aside from that, no real complaints here. It's as good a jarred pickle as any out there, unless you're one of those silly ones who prefer bread-and-butter pickles (ick) or whatnot. The consensus of the pickle choir around the picnic table, young and old, was that these were a worthwhile pick-up, maybe not quite as good as fresh made deli pickles, but for a shelf-stable-til-opened jar, pretty good. I'll take some liberties in score guesstimating, but I'm probably not too far off base.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Kosher Dill Pickle Spears: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Podcast Episode 7: Shopping Strategies and Our TJ's Staples

In this episode we share how we shop at Trader Joe’s and what products we regularly buy. Listen to us on Stitcher.


Download: MP3 (23.1 MB)

Opening Music:

Show notes:

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