Dill, Sweet, and Crunchy: The Gherkin differences you need to know (and why they’re all great for your health)


Here at Miami Canners, we consider ourselves experts at the art of the pickle. From crunchy to sweet, we’ve managed to create a delectable range of pickles South Africa knows they can trust. Have you ever wondered what goes into creating the humble pickle, however? Today we take the lid off the pickle jar and show you some gherkin secrets that will make you look differently at your Miami favourite!

What’s the difference between a Dill and a Sweet Gherkin?

If you’re thinking of gherkins, what you’re picturing is probably a Dill. It’s named for the primary spice used in the pickling process. You may also be familiar with the herb Dill Weed (not actually a weed, of course) from fish and egg dishes, where it’s a knockout favourite.

To muddy the waters a bit, however, there’s 2 types of Dill pickles you will find on SA’s shelves: Dill pickles, and Kosher Dill pickles. If you’re practising Jewish dietary restrictions, let’s quickly add- Kosher Dill pickles aren’t always kosher compliant, so it’s important not to take that for granted. The ‘kosher’ in the title comes from the fact the recipe was created in hall-in-the-wall New York Delis. While these are typically overseen by a Rabbi and keep kosher, always look for the local mark if this matters strongly to you.

What’s the difference between a standard Dill and a Kosher, or ‘New’ Dill? It’s small tweaks in the recipe, mostly the presence of garlic in the standard Dill recipe. The Deli-style Dill pickle often skips the garlic, but adds other spices in secret blends to provide that unique NYC gherkin taste.

Sweet pickles are pickled differently from these fermented Dill pickles, using a blend of vinegar and sugar with delicious spices. Because this type of fermentation needs a little sugar to kickstart the preservation process, unlike the salt fermentation of Dill gherkins, there’s a completely different flavour profile- but they’re both delicious!

Gherkins Dill 380g Straight copy
Gherkins Sweet & Tangy 380g Straight2 copy
Gherkins Sweet & Sour 380g Straight copy

Gherkins: the health-boosting snack you didn’t know you needed in your life

No matter whether you like your Sweet or your Dill gherkins best, chances are you never thought of them as a health food! Fermented foods, whether made with salt or vinegar fermentation, are amazing for your health. In fact, we’d say it should be any health- or diet-focused individuals go-to snack! Here’s why:

1)   Salt-fermented pickles keep your stomach healthy

Lacto-fermented gherkins, where salt is used in the fermentation process to produce lactic acid, are incredible for our overall health. They’re packed with the probiotics you need to balance your stomach health, especially if you have been sick, don’t eat a healthy diet, or have gastric concerns. That’s why a Dill pickle can be great for when you feel queasy, too. Packing more lacto-fermented foods into your daily life is a recipe for balanced gut health- and our general wellbeing starts in the stomach! Gherkins will keep you bloat-free, regular, and healthy.

2)   Boost your vitamin and antioxidant intake

Alongside those important probiotics, gherkins are packed with vitamins A, C, and E. These aren’t just vitamins, though. They’re also powerful antioxidants that will help prevent dangerous free radicals from pollution damaging your cells. That means a healthier, happier body- and less aging, too! They’re also key components of the immune system.

3)   Stay hydrated, banish cramps, and have a better workout

What goes well with a healthy diet? Exercise! Whether you’re just trying to get a little healthier, or are already an avid gym bunny, gherkins should be on your radar. Serious athletes have long known that vinegar-based pickle juice is great to relieve workout cramps and even restore fluid balance if you’re dehydrated. It works even better than water!

That’s because vinegar can soothe the aggravated nerves causing the cramp. As for dehydration, it’s not just about lost water. Heavy and prolonged exercise robs us of important minerals too- especially sodium and potassium. Both of these are found in pickle juice.

Of course, unlike many ‘energy’ or ‘restorative’ drinks, gherkins and gherkin juice are completely fat-free too!

4)   Regulate blood sugar (and lose some weight too)

Keeping blood sugar well balanced is a critical part of good health. Poorly regulated blood sugar contributes to Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes, and is the number 1 factor for stalled weight loss too. It will also leave you feeling tired, listless, and without energy. A small serving of vinegar before your meal, however, helps the body regulate blood sugar better. With steady blood sugar, your metabolism can work better- and you may find a few inches sneaking off your waistline, too.

Who doesn’t love a crunchy, tasty gherkin? Now you know how good they are for you too, there’s no reason not to stock your pantry full of your favourite Miami gherkins!

Gherkins Cocktail 265g Staight copy
Gherkins Sweet & Tangy Hamburger Sliced 380g Straight copy
Gherkins Sweet & Tangy Sandwich Sliced 380g Straight2 copy