THE pickles I’ve tried so far have been disappointing. Cypressa Gherkins were tasteless and Baktat Pickled Gherkins were too salty. Probably because salt was one of the main ingredients. So, to get that tasty, tangy, crunchy pickle, I’ve looked out one that doesn’t have salt as one of the chief ingredients. For this little experiment, I’ve picked out what must be the UK market leader: Mrs Elswood Pickled Whole Sweet Cucumbers.
I love the “Mrs Elswood” name and logo. She is the archetypal Jewish mother. And for a jar of pickles, that’s perfect and ironic at the same time. A bit like having Welsh Coal Miner brand Welsh Cakes. For the culturally oversensitive, don’t worry, I have ancestry in both of the groups I’ve just offended.
Back to the jar of pickles, and the barcode side of the label reveals some interesting information.
Unlike the last two jars I tried, this one is British. It comes from Empire Food Brokers Ltd from Northolt. Wherever that is. They have a web address which is www.empirefoodbrokers.com. They have an annoying, Flash heavy website. So to save you time, the Mrs Elswood homepage is at http://www.empirefoodbrokers.com/main/mrselswood.htm
The other details are the weight. Net weight is 670g. Drained weight is 360g.
The other side is packed with information.
Because these are from here in the UK, you get a big table full of nutritional information. Where you’ll be pleased to see that there is very little fat. Albeit compensated with lots of carbohydrates and sugar.
Over on the ingredients list, the list is cucumbers, acetic acid, sugar, salt, onions, mustard seeds, flavouring, firming agent (calcium chloride) and colour E101. Not many of which I know anything about. There’s a fine selection of other gubbins in there besides the cucumbers. You can see that in the photo. There’s more sugar than salt which will hopefully make them taste better. These aren’t dill cucumbers either.
What are they like? Will thy be tastier, tangier and crunchier than the competition? Should you buy a jar? Time to find out…
The first thing you notice is just how big they are compared to the petite dill cucumbers in most other jars. Therein lies the trade-off. Each one makes a little snack in its own right. But you get fewer per jar.
The first thing you notice, the thing that catches you totally off-guard is how sweet they are. Even though I knew that sugar was high up on the ingredients list, I just didn’t expect it to taste sugary. If you’re not used to it you will be surprised because you simply don’t expect to taste sugar on a cucumber out of a water filled jar.
Sugar isn’t the only thing in the taste. There hints of the salt, onions and mustard. All of which makes it a bit more interesting. But mostly it’s about the sugar.
So the tastiness is accounted for. What about tanginess? It has some of that. But the sugary-ness makes tanginess almost irrelevant.
How about crunchiness then? It has some of that too. The cucumbers make a satisfying crunch. But they’re a bit softer than I’d like. Overall, perfectly adequately crunchy is what they are.
What do I like about Mrs Elswood Pickled Whole Sweet Cucumbers? Quite a few things. The unexpected sugariness makes these quirky and edible. Very edible. They would be fantastic in sandwiches and things. In fact, anywhere you want the benefits of pickled cucumber without salt and vinegar. I like how big these cucumbers are. Big enough for your fork or to put on a plate with your lunch. Not so big that you need help to hoist it out of the jar.
Are there any downsides to Mrs Elswood Pickled Whole Sweet Cucumbers? For some reason, they kept reminding me of the pickles you get in subs and burgers. That meant I had a constant urge to eat a Hearty Italian bread roll. Evidently, they use sweet pickles in subs and burgers. Mind you, that’s no bad thing. Some people won’t like it though. Also, there’s that trade-off again. I’ve had two so far and there are only six left.
To conclude, Mrs Elswood Pickled Whole Sweet Cucumbers are the best I’ve tried yet. They have the right size and taste for snacks on their own or as an addition to a sandwich. Which is not something I recommended about the other two. This is well worth buying.
Have you tried Mrs Elswood Pickled Whole Sweet Cucumbers? What did you think? Do please leave your corrections, opinions, requests, recommendations and places to buy here in the comments section.