Trader Joe’s Organic Sweet Bread and Butter Pickles

Tj_bread and butter

Description:

These classic, sweet bread & butter pickle “chips” accompany everything from burgers and dogs to your favorite deli sandwiches. Present them with your other pickle favorites as part of a pickle platter at your next gathering – it’s a great twist on a traditional antipasto tray or, in a pinch, toss some in a blender or food processor and make homemade pickle relish in less than a minute. Oh, the possibilities

Serving Size: ~4 Pickles

Tasting:

Picking up your first pickle, you can immediately tell the crunch is going to be fantastic and actually biting into it – this pickle doesn’t disappoint. The name of the game with these pickles is balance; they are sweet, but not too sweet; they are crunchy, but not hard; they are tangy, but not overwhelming. It is safe to say that you really just can’t have one of these. In fact, often I open a jar and consistently don’t resurface until a quarter of a jar is gone. As far as store-bought pickles go, these are top notch. They are crisp and have a unique sweetness that isn’t over the top. These pickles don’t stay in the house long! The flavor is absolutely there with these sweet pickles and they are the perfect compliment to really whatever you are eating – like the description said oh, the possibilities!

Rating: 5 Crowns –  Fit for a Princess

b4b4b4b4b4

Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled jalapenos were my gateway pickles and for that I will always be grateful! I bought jalapenos at Trader Joe’s one day for a recipe and for those of you who have never bought jalapenos at TJ’s, jalapenos come in packs of 10+ and of course the recipe that I was making only called for one. I was left with tons of extra jalapenos just sitting in my fridge and I absolutely hate wasting food, so my dad suggested that I should pickle them. Turns out, it was incredibly easy and showed me how DIY pickling makes such a difference in taste and quality!

Pickled Jalapenos:

Ingredients:

8 oz Jalapenos (~10-12 peppers)

1 cup white distilled vinegar

1 cup water

1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt

1 tablespoons of sugar

1+ cloves of garlic – adjust based on garlic preference

Simple Directions:

  1. Slice jalapenos
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and boil brine
  3. Let jalapenos sit in hot brine for 15 minutes
  4. Put into sterilized jars and let cool
  5. Refrigerate and let sit for 24+ hours

Detailed Directions:

  1. Slice the Jalapenos – I usually make them rings, but you could easily do long slices too. Try to make them thick enough to sustain a crunch, but not too thick; for those of you like me and need precise numbers, I cut them about a 1/4 inch wide (once you see one, it’ll be easy to eyeball from there). Jalapenos can vary in size, so when I’m slicing them I throw them into the jar (before I boil it) to make sure that I’m cutting the right amount because there is nothing worse than having a few pieces that you just can’t seem to squeeze into the jar.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and boil brine – Mix together the rest of the ingredients and boil over high until salt/sugar is dissolved. I usually throw in filtered water from my fridge; some other recipes say distilled, but that is a whole hassle and this should be easy! So, if you don’t have filtered, just go for tap. Adjust the sugar based on how spicy you want your pickles: more sugar = milder and less sugar = spicier. Garlic amount is also customizable, so really tailor this to your preferences.
  3. Let jalapenos sit in hot brine for 15 minutes – Either put the jalapenos directly into the pot or pour the brine into a bowl that they are sitting in. I am a fan of putting them in the pot, so that way if I think the brine is cooling too much I can pop the burner back on to low and keep it warm. While sitting in the hot brine, the jalapenos should turn from the original bright green color to a more muted green. Every now and then ill give them a stir to ensure that they are being “cooked” evenly. 

  4. Put into sterilized jars and let cool – See link here for how to accomplish this step. Discard the garlic if you want and carefully spoon in the jalapenos and then then top of with the liquid brine. I fill it about a 1/4 from the top, trying to cover all of the peppers. I immediately tighten the lid until it is just closed and then right before I put them in the fridge when they are completely cool, I tighten it all the way.
  5. Refrigerate and let sit for 24+ hours – This is the easiest/hardest step of all. All you have to do is put them in the fridge, yet it can be so tempting to take a quick taste! I let them sit for about 24 hours before tasting, but it won’t kill you or the flavor to try them before then.

Tips and Side Notes:

  • Remember even though you can definitely handle the spice of jalapenos, your eyes will burn if you touch them. Make sure to remember you’ve been handling spicy peps and wash your hands after!! Your eyes and potentially other areas will thank you 🙂
  • To try and wrangle in more of the spice without adding a crazy amount of sugar, try removing and rinsing out some of the seeds while you are in the slicing phase.
  • As an engineer, I have always relied heavily on recipes, using measurements to the exact drop, but pickling really is all about experimenting and trying something different to find what you really like. I am working on this as I am blogging, but I want to encourage you to also go off menu and mix it up.

Complete Side Note: I’m not one of those people that is crazy about all natural/organic/no preservatives, but I must say that it is incredibly cool to know exactly what is going into what I make and it really has started to affect some of my other eating habits.

Trader Joe’s Popcorn In A Pickle

Description:

Boldly flavored popcorn with the bite and tang of a dill pickle.

$1.99 per each 5 oz bag

Serving Size: 2 cups

Tasting:

Opening up the bag, I was greeted with a very large whiff of sour that can be almost intimidating. I had to get past that initial shock and dump out some of the popcorn – I noticed that the popcorn itself is very light/airy and pretty much perfectly popped. After popping a few in my mouth, the flavor compared to the smell is very subtle when you first try them and its not until a few bites later that you get the sour dill pickle flavor. The dill pickle flavor is very distinct and actually does a very good job of remaining dill flavored and not only embracing sour, which I feel a lot of pickle flavored snacks do. It definitely reminded me of eating a dill pickle! When I had the bag open in front of me, I kept going back for more (and I bet you would too), but when the bag was out of sight, it was definitely out of mind.

Verdict:

Overall, the popcorn has great texture with a funky flavor that surprisingly does live up to the description of dill pickle flavored. That being said, this popcorn lasted multiple days in the pantry, which in my house means its not a favorite. I probably won’t buy this again unless I have a friend who is dying to try pickle popcorn or I have a very strange craving.

Rating:

b4 b4 b4

How to Sterilize Jars

One of the reasons that I was hesitant to start pickling was because I was VERY intimidated to sterilize the jars. My first pickle experience (Jalapenos) was with my Dad and I was able to watch it done and he proved to me (like Dads do) that its not so scary after all! In fact, this crucial step in pickling is actually very easy.

How To Sterilize Jars:

  1. Fill up a large pot of water. Make sure that there is enough water to completely cover all of the jars you are sterilizing.
  2. Bring the pot of water to a boil- really get that boil rolling! If you have a hood/vent, it might be nice to pop on for this because there will be lots of steam.
  3. CAREFULLY lower the jars into the boiling water and let sink to the bottom.
  4. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
  5. CAREFULLY extract the jars from the water and let dry/cool on a clean kitchen towel.

If I need to boil lots of jars, I do them in rounds of 2 because that’s what my largest pot fits. Step 5- The Extraction- is the hardest part.  If I’m making multiple rounds, I usually use regular kitchen tongs to pull the jars out of the water, so that I can keep the water hot and boiling to move the process along faster. Beware this method sometimes causes lots of back-splash, which can be very unpleasant (think boiling rain). If I’m only doing one round, I will just drain out the water in my sink, like I would for pasta. I think that rounded jar tongs would be the best ones. Once the jars are cool to the touch, they are ready for use!

I’m not squeamish about bacteria and germs and at first I was skeptical that this was a needed step, but I once just put cucumbers back into leftover brine that was from a jar and it made the pickles fizzy, which really freaked me out. Since then, I decided that it’s always good to sterilize your jars, just to make sure they are completely clean, sans bacteria in order to keep you safe and your pickles fresh!

Welcome Pickle Princesses!

If I was Peter Piper and I picked a peck of pickled peppers, I would be particularly pleased!

Thank you for stopping by Pickle Princess, which will bring you everything and anything pickle related. If you like pickles and bad puns this is the right place for you! I have been a pickle princess pretty much my whole life and I’m 99% sure I’ve never met a pickle that I wouldn’t eat. I dabble with all kinds of pickles including: pickles on sandwiches; pickles straight from the jar; sweet pickles; spicy pickles; pickled veggies; kosher dills; half sours and the list goes on and on! I recently started home-pickling (no, I don’t live in Brooklyn…Or Portland) and wanted an outlet to share my love of pickles with other pickle mavens.

The blog will house recipes and reviews of all kinds! The review scale will be in crowns where One Crown = I’d rather kiss a frog and Five Crowns = Fit for a princess. So don’t DILLy-Dally (had to!) and get to pickling!