Pickled vs Fermented. What are the best pickles for gut health?}

Pickled vs Fermented. What are the best pickles for gut health?

We're here to set the record straight on The Great Pickle Debate.

What's the difference between Pickled and Fermented?

It can get confusing, after all the outcome is called PICKLES, so here's what you need to know.

If you think all pickles are created equal, think again! There are actually four distinct types of pickles, each with their own unique flavor and texture and more importantly different health benefits. It's important to read labels and avoid the toxic pickles plus know which ones really do boost your gut health.

We know this because each and every Saturday at the farmer's market, people ask us:

“How do I know whether the pickles in my fridge are those healthy ones I keep hearing about?”

Below are the 4 types of pickles out there and what you need to know.

pickled vs fermented


Not all pickles are created equal.

Pickle Type #1: The Neon Yellow Toxic Avenger

Beware of these pickles
mt olive pickles with yellow dye 5

Pickles that contain Yellow Dye 5 (tartrazine) are NOT healthy.

They are dead cucumbers, floating in cheap, high acid vinegar and contain tartrazine, a food dye that has been researched to cause hyperactivity in kids.

Chemically enhanced, mass produced pickles are an industrialized food-like relic of a former era and have no place in any 21st century fridge.



If your pickles are Toxic Avenger pickles, they need to go into the garbage right now.

Pickle Type #2: Sugar Laden Pickles

Slightly Less Bad For You PicklesSugar laden pickles

If the pickles in your fridge contain vinegar but no Yellow Dye 5, they are likely a heat-canned and pasteurized, shelf stable store brand.

You may see turmeric on the label which is a healthier replacement for Yellow Dye 5, but these pickles still fall in the 'not good for you' category.

They may or may not contain high fructose corn syrup—either way they're full of sugar and not serving your health.

pickled or fermented

If you just can't let go of these sweet gherkins, bread and butter pickles and sweet pickle relish—opt for healthier versions (see type #3) that don't have high fructose corn syrup and eat them sparingly.

Pickle Type #3: Vinegar Pickles

The Just Fine for You Pickle

are pickles fermentedMany of us grew up on vinegar pickles and appreciate their sour taste.

There are vinegar pickles on the shelves and in the refrigerated section at your store that are just fine to eat. Most smaller, craft pickle brands fall into this category.

These are some of the most fun, flavorful pickles out there and the world is a better place because these pickles exist. 

Just Fine Vinegar Pickles have a net-neutral effect on your health and won't damage your health the way pickles #1 and #2 will.

pickles fermented

Treat these heat-canned and pasteurized pickles like the condiments they are and enjoy all the flavor and fun they have to give.

clausen vinegar pickles

Just don’t mistake vinegar pickles for #4 pickles.


Pickle Type #4: Salt Brined, Fermented Pickles

Great for You and Your Gut Health - Fermented + Probiotic Pickles 

 fermented pickles in olive my pickle barrel

Fermented dill pickles are made with salt and not vinegar, so by comparison they are milder than vinegar pickles which contain acetic acid.

These are the gut healthy, microbiome-boosting superfood pickles that you should be consuming everyday, three times a day.

Lacto fermented pickles contain lactic acid so they still pack plenty of pickle punch. The fermentation process creates a distinct, and complex umami flavor that fermented foods are known and loved for.

The best fermented pickles are the probiotic packed pickles you should be eating and brine you should be drinking, both for its electrolytes and its probiotic load (more on that in our Ultimate Guide to Healthy Pickle Juice).

These raw, live and probiotic pickles actively serve your health.

Fermented foods are more popular than ever, but people are still confused about how to spot real ones.


Fermented Pickles

So where can I find these wonderful fermented pickles, you ask?

Real fermented pickles are hard to find - that's where we come in. Here at Olive My Pickle, we ferment over 40 varieties of pickles, olives, kraut, kimchi, veggies, and LiveBrine and ship them right to your door. 📦🥒

Start optimizing your family's gut microbiome today.

Grab a bundle below or build your own box of delicious ferments here.