Pickles are cucumbers that have been pickled in vinegar or brine. The act of pickling cucumbers has been performed since antiquity. A specific type of cucumber that is short and light is planted for pickling.
Ancient civilizations saw nutritional value in pickles. They were also known to be a favorite snack of Queen Elizabeth I. Pickles are low in calories and are a source of vitamin K. Due to the pickling process, they can be high in sodium.
Several types of cucumbers are used to make pickles. The standard variety used is the Burr Gherkin. The French pickle, Cornichon, is made from tart, small gherkins pickled in a mixture of vinegar and tarragon. A "kosher" dill pickle refers to a pickle that is traditionally made by Jewish pickle makers in New York City using salt brine, dill and garlic.