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Koolickles are brightly colored candied dill pickles that have had an additional flavor layer of Kool-Aid.
Perfect recipe for entertaining kids for a few days during summer break!
SOUTHERN KOOL-AID PICKLES
Southern Kool-aid pickles are any dill pickle that has been marinated in a sweetened Kool-Aid mix.
It’s a southern thing, but I had never heard of them in all the years I lived south of the Mason-Dixon line.
I heard of them during my years living across the street from the Tulsa State Fair. Actually, I didn’t even see them with my own eyes, I saw them on the news.
The Tulsa State Fair is a really big deal around here.
For 10 days it dominates the news and traffic dominates a 2 square mile radius. Problematic when you literally live across the street.
I am not going to miss that this year. We moved across town to a more sparsely populated area in Tulsa. We now share our space with goats, sheep, and chickens rather than fair-goers.
KOOL-AID PICKLES TASTE
They taste kind of like candied dill pickle, minus the pickling spices with a hint of lime, cherry, or whatever flavor of Kool-Aid that’s used.
I know, now you might to know what do candied pickles taste like? Well, they taste like bread and butter pickles with a touch of dill pickle tartness.
I don’t make any other flavors and I have to be honest, my favorite is probably the lime.
Lime looks a bit radioactive and would be perfect for Halloween!
The cherry ones would be great for Christmas or adding something bright red to your Fourth of July or Memorial Day picnic line-up.
Heck, you could even choose school colors or professional sports team colors for tailgating and playoffs. These do not taste bad, they just taste different.
Everyone should try these at least once.
These would make for great novelty items on a buffet and can be made in any flavor or color of powdered drink mix you could possibly find.
It is fun to watch folks’ faces as they try these for the first time.
PICKLES FOR KOOL-AID PICKLES
My favorite pickles for this recipe are whole dill pickles that are stored at room temperature. Whole Koshers could be used, but I think the extra garlic flavor is just too much.
Refrigerated dills could be used, they may take a few more days to take up all the flavor and color they can hold. The refrigerated pickles are crunchier which means there was less processing.
Jarred halves, slices, and spears can all be used. I like the whole pickles better because I have more room for stuffing the pickles back into the jar this way and I can make sure that the cut sides are exposed to the liquid rather than stuck together.
When using dill slices be sure to shake the jar a couple of times a day to make sure the Kool-aid marinade gets in between the slices.
NUMBER OF DAYS TO MARINATE KOOL AID PICKLES
The longer they sit and marinade, the deeper the color and flavor, but after about 3 days they have reached their maximum flavor and color potential.
My pickles looked and tasted the same on days 3 and 7.
I would suggest adding more Kool-Aid and sugar after 3 days and see if you can get more flavor in them or using dill spears or slices instead.
I just think that science dictates the amount of sugar uptake. It all has to do with hygroscopic properties.
Who knew there was so much chemistry involved in cooking?
I believe that whole pickles sliced in half have about all the cherry or lime flavor I would like.
PROTECTING CLOTHES FROM KOOL AID COLORING
Be careful when serving these up, they will stain your fingers!
I suspect they will also stain clothes etc, just like spilling a glass of Kool-Aid down the front of your brand new white shirt.
Art smocks would be a really good idea to use in this situation if little ones are involved.
The clothes staining danger is equal to, perhaps even greater than, Easter egg dying projects.
Any color or flavor of drink mix can be used.
Some suggested color combinations;
- Red and Blue for the summer holidays
- Red and Green for Christmas
- Purple, Green, and Orange for Halloween
You can skip the flavoring of the powdered drink mix and just add the sugar and some food coloring.
But now you just have a sweetened dill pickle and not a Southern Kool-Aid Pickle. Instead, add some pickling spices and make yourself candied dills. We have a recipe for that!
Koolickles are safe in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 year. The pickles are loaded with vinegar before using them in the Kool-Aid and they are now being stored in a high sugar mixture. They are definitely preserved at this point!
Kool-Aid Pickles aka Koolickles
- 32- ounce jar whole dill pickles kosher are fine
- Pickle juice from the jar of pickles
- 2 packets of unsweetened powdered drink mix
- 1 cup sugar
- Remove pickles from jar and place on a cutting board. Add sugar and powdered drink mix to juice in the jar. Replace lid on pickle jar and shake until sugar is dissolved. Cut pickles into halves or quarters and place back into the jar. Do this over a sink to prevent staining counter tops, clothes, cabinets, appliances, and anything else in the path. Replace lid and place into refrigerator for at least 1 day. Flavor and color should be fully established in 3 days.