What is a Pickle Picker?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A pickle picker is a kitchen utensil which is designed to assist people with the task of removing pickles from jars. This particular kitchen utensil is a classic example of the so-called “unitasker,” a tool which is designed to perform only one function. The merits of unitaskers are a topic of hot debate, with some people believing that they create needless clutter, while others defend the unique purposes that such tools are designed for.

Pickles.
Pickles.

There are a couple of ways to use a pickle picker. In the most common design, a pickle picker is designed to grasp pickles in the jar, with the user manipulating a lever or plunger to open and close a set of grasping tines. More simply, a pickle picker may simply look like a two-tined fork which is stabbed into the desired pickle. However, grasping pickle pickers are generally preferable, as the pickle will not slide off. Some people just use kitchen tongs to grab pickles, although you can also find specially designed pickle tongs.

Pickling cucumbers.
Pickling cucumbers.

There are a couple of reasons why a pickle picker can be a useful tool. In the first place, it keeps hands out of the pickle jar, reducing the risk of transferring bacteria which could breed and compromise the pickles in the jar. Using a pickle picker also means that all the forks in the house stay clean, and since the pickle is typically grasped rather than stabbed, the pickle picker maintains the integrity of the pickles it grabs, ensuring that they look pretty on the plate.

If you still aren't convinced that you need a pickle picker, supporters of this somewhat obscure kitchen tool want you to know that it can be used on a variety of things, not just pickled cucumbers. Pickled eggs, for example, can also be grabbed with a pickle picker, and you can also use this tool to grasp preserved cherries and other fruits.

Some kitchen supply stores sell pickle pickers, and they can also be purchased through Internet retailers. As a general rule, this tool tends to be very inexpensive, although it can help to pay a little more for a sturdier design. When seeking a pickle picker, look for one which will be easy to wash, and try to avoid reactive metals or finishes, as the pickle brine can eat into the pickle picker over time.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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