Getting tired of artificially flavored popsicles and ice cream sandwiches? How about a nice, cool, refreshing, artificially flavored pickle instead?
I first saw the so-called Koolickle on an episode of Feasting on Asphalt 2: The River Run, one of the four hundred and twelve shows that Alton Brown does for the Food Network. Don’t get me wrong, Alton is the coolest guy on television.
So, what’s the story with the pickle… thing? Apparently, someone down south discovered that if you soak a pickle in cherry Kool-Aid, you get a delicious treat. Sound weird? It is.
I was reminded of the Koolickle after a new episode of Good Eats (Episode EA1110) that laid out exactly how to create them. In the episode, Alton began with a large jar of pickles, separated out the brine, and used the brine in place of water to mix up the Kool-Aid. He then replaced the pickles in the cherry Kool-Aid-flavored brine and let them get a good soak for a few days.
The result is a bright red pickle that looks about as natural as bright blue hair. Naturally, I had to try it. The problem was, in between the time that I saw the Good Eats episode and the time I tried to make it myself, I’d forgotten exactly how Alton made them. Did he replace the water with brine or simply soak the pickles in regularly-mixed Kool-Aid?
The Koolickle Experiment
I decided to do the easy thing and soak the pickles in regularly-mixed Kool-Aid. I figured that soaking a pair of pickles in a small container of Kool-Aid (while I drank the rest) would be a reasonable test, since I wouldn’t be ruining an entire jar of pickles if it turns out I didn’t like them.
I started with a jar of Claussen Dill Pickles, sliced in half. Mixed up my cherry Kool-Aid, and filled a small plastic container with some of it. I added two of the pickle halves and sealed with lid. I threw the container into the refrigerator and waited – but not for very long. I decided to test along the way, cutting off about a third of the first pickle later on Day One. I finished the first pickle and cut a small amount off of the second on Day Two, and finished the second pickle on Day Three.
I observed a few things about my little Koolickle experiment.
- After three days, the pickles had not soaked all the way through. This, I attribute to the simple soak I did as opposed to replacing the water with brine in the Kool-Aid mixture, as Alton Brown did.
- The mixture seemed to soften up the pickles more than soaking in normal brine does. I say “seemed” because it wasn’t to a large degree and I could be over-analyzing.
- The exposed flesh absorbed the Kool-Aid mixture far faster than the skin. If you’re not going to put the Koolickle on a stick for eating, slicing the pickles into half-moons before soaking will increase the flesh-to-skin ratio and increase absorption.
- The flesh seemed to stop absorbing after two days. That is, the piece I cut off on Day Two seemed to have the same amount of absorption as the pieces I ate on Day Three.
- The sourness of the pickle was almost completely replaced by the sweetness of the Kool-Aid.
My two-year-old daughter helped me test along the way and my wife tried a bit of it on the third day. My daughter had no complaints, said it was pretty good. My wife didn’t like it at all, but couldn’t really put her finger on why. I liked them quite a bit, really.
Don’t be scared of the pickle!
Give them a shot, these “Koolickles”. You might find you like them. Let me know if you do. My next project will be to try the method that Alton Brown used on Good Eats, and after that, I’ll be trying different flavors of Kool-Aid. I’ll post a follow-up when I do!