Does a Pickle Count as a Vegetable?
Pickles are an incredibly popular snack and garnish, but are they vegetables? The answer is complicated.
Pickles are undeniably a source of nutrition, beyond the salt they contain. Vitamin K and manganese are present in cucumbers, which form the main ingredient in many pickles. Pickles can also contain other vitamins, including Vitamin A and C, depending upon the ingredients added to the cucumber brine pickling solution.
In dietary terms, vegetables are divided into two categories, starchy vegetables and non-starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables include potatoes, peas, and corn, while non-starchy vegetables include carrots, cucumbers and greens. While pickles are typically made with cucumbers, they are usually considered a condiment or garnish, not a vegetable.
Many food regulatory agencies, including the United States Department of Agriculture, categorize pickles as a condiment, not a vegetable. This means that when a pickle is used as an accompaniment to a food, it does not count as a vegetable, and when a pickle is served by itself, such as when it’s presented as an appetizer, it still does not count as a vegetable.
Ultimately, it depends on how pickles are used to determine whether they should be classified as a vegetable or a condiment. In terms of its nutritional content, pickles are certainly vegetables. However, when served as part of a dish, pickles are usually treated as condiments, not vegetables.