F. Definitions of Terms
For an interpretation of this standard, some definitions of terms are given here.
Analytical definitions refer to analytical laboratory requirements.
1. Acid means total acidity calculated as acetic acid in accordance with the Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC).
2. Brix value (Brix) means the percent sugar, by weight, corrected to 20°C (68°F), as determined with a sugar scale Brix hydrometer or other instrument that gives equivalent results.
3. Degrees Baume means the density of the packing medium determined with a Baume hydrometer (modulus 145) corrected to 20 °C (68 °F).
4. Equalization means the natural (osmotic) or simulated blending between the soluble solids of the pickle ingredient and the packing medium.
Natural equalization means equalization brought about after a period of time has elapsed after processing as follows. Sweetened pickles are considered to be equalized 15 days or more after processing. If the pickles have been sweetened in a tank prior to packing, the pickles will be considered equalized 15 days after the sweetening process began. Sour and dill pickles are considered to be equalized 10 days or more after processing.
Simulated equalization means a method of simulating equalization by comminuting the finished product in a mechanical blender, filtering the suspended material from the comminuted mixture, and making the required tests on the filtrate.
5. Total chlorides or salt means the salt content expressed as grams NaCl (sodium chloride) per 100 milliliters packing medium; except that total chlorides in mustard pickles and chow is determined and expressed in grams NaCl per 100 grams of product.
Blemished means any unit that is affected by discoloration, pathological injury, insect injury, or similar causes to the extent that the appearance or edibility of the product is adversely affected.
1. Slightly - those blemishes which detract only slightly from the appearance of the unit;
2. Seriously - those blemishes which strongly detract from the appearance or edibility of the unit.
1. Good color in the cured type means that the typical skin color of the pickles ranges from a translucent light green to dark green and is practically free from bleached areas. Not more than 10 percent, by weight, of the pickles may vary markedly from such typical color. In mixed pickles, chow chow pickles, and pickle relish, all of the ingredients possess a practically uniform color typical for the respective ingredient. The pickles and other vegetable ingredients shall be free of off-colors.
2. Good color in fresh-pack and refrigerated types means the typical skin color of the pickles ranges from an opaque yellow-green to green. Not more than 15 percent, by weight, of the pickles may vary markedly from such typical color. In pickle relish, all of the ingredients possess a good uniform color typical for the respective ingredient. The pickles and other vegetable ingredients shall be free of off-colors.
3. Reasonably good color in the cured type means that the typical skin color of the pickles ranges from light green to dark green and is reasonably free from bleached areas. Not more than 25 percent, by weight, of the pickles may vary markedly from such typical color. In mixed pickles chow chow pickles, and pickle relish, all of the ingredients possess a reasonably uniform color typical for the respective ingredient. The pickles and other vegetable ingredients shall be free of off-colors.
4. Reasonably good color in fresh-pack and refrigerated types means that the typical skin color of the pickles ranges from light yellow-green to green. Not more than 30 percent, by weight, of the pickles may vary markedly from such typical color. In pickle relish, all of the ingredients possess a good, fairly uniform color typical for the respective ingredient. The pickles and other vegetable ingredients shall be free of off-colors.
5. Poor color in all types of pickles means the pickles fail to meet the requirements for good or reasonably good color for the respective type.
Also see the definition of misshapen.
Crooked pickles mean whole pickles that are curved at an angle greater than 60 degrees as illustrated by Fig. 1.
Curved pickles mean whole pickles that are curved at an angle of 35 to 60 degrees when measured as illustrated by Fig. 2.
Diameter in whole style means the shortest diameter measured transversely to the longitudinal axis at the greatest circumference of the pickle. Diameter in crosscut style is the shortest diameter of the largest cut surface.
Defect means an imperfection such as curved, misshapen, mechanically damaged, discolored, or other imperfection that affects the appearance or edibility of the product.
Figure 1 Crooked pickles (also see the definition of misshapen).
End cut means a pickle unit intended for crosscut (sliced crosswise) style that has only one cut surface.
Extraneous vegetable material (EVM) means any harmless vegetable material, other than stems, that is not normally part of the pickle ingredient EVM such as leaves or other vegetable material not associated with proper pickle preparation or packaging is considered a defect if it affects the appearance or edibility of the product, either
Slightly-Practically free of EVM and does not more than slightly affect the appearance or edibility
Materially—Reasonably free of EVM and does not more than materially affect the appearance or edibility.
1. Good flavor and odor mean characteristic flavor and odor (e.g., characteristic dill flavor or the like) typical of properly processed pickles, for the type, that are free from objectionable flavor and odor of any kind.
2. Reasonably good flavor and odor mean flavor and odor that may be lacking in characteristic flavor for the type but are free from objectionable flavor and odor.
3. Poor flavor and odor mean flavor and odor that fail to meet the requirements for good or reasonably good flavor and odor.
Length in sliced lengthwise style means the longest straight measurement at the approximate longitudinal axis.
Mechanical damage refers to crushed or broken units that affect the appearance of the units. In relish, mechanical damage refers to units which are poorly cut and have a ragged or torn appearance.
Misshapen pickles mean whole pickles that are crooked or otherwise deformed (such as nubbins). Also see the definition for crooked pickles.
A nubbin is a misshapen pickle that is not cylindrical in form, is short and stubby, or is not well developed.
Texture means the firmness, crispness, and condition of the pickles and any other vegetable ingredient(s) and freedom from large seeds, detached seeds, and tough skins that may be present. The following terms also relate to texture:
1. Hollow centers in whole style, mean that the pickles, when cut transversely to the longitudinal axis, are missing 1/3 or more of the seed cavity.
2. Soft shriveled, and slippery units refer to pickles that are wrinkled, not crisp, slick, flabby, or lack firmness.
3. Good texture means that the pickle units have been properly processed and possess a texture that is firm and crisp.
4. Reasonably good texture means that the pickle units have been properly processed but lack some of the firmness and crispness that is characteristic for the style and type of pack.
5. Poor texture means that the pickle units do not meet the requirements for good or reasonably good texture.
Uniformity of size (relish style only).
1. Practically uniform in size means that the size of the units may vary moderately in size but not to the extent that the appearance or the eating quality is seriously affected.
2. Poor uniformity of size means that the units fail the requirements for practically uniform.
Unit means one whole, half, slice, or piece of pickle as applicable for the style.
Units missing 1/3 or more of the seed cavity in crosscut style mean pickles that have lost a substantial portion of the seed cavity such as a crosscut unit missing 1/3 or more of the seed cavity portion.
The recommended fill of container is not a factor of quality for the purposes of these grades. Each container of pickles should be filled with pickle ingredient, as full as practicable, without impairment of quality. The product and packing medium should occupy not less than 90 percent of the total capacity of the container.
The recommended minimum quantity of pickle ingredient is designated as the percentage of the declared volume of product in the container for all items except pickle relish. Minimum quantity of pickle relish is designated as a relationship of the drained weight of the
Table 3 Recommended Pickle Ingredients (All Styles Except Relish)
Type of pack Minimum fill (volume) (%)
pickle ingredient to the declared volume of the container. The minimum quantities recommended in Tables 3 and 4 are not factors of quality for the purposes of these grades.
The percent volume of pickle ingredient is determined for all styles, except relish, by one of the following methods in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the USDA:
1. Direct displacement (overflow-can method)
2. Displacement in a graduated cylinder
3. Measurement of pickle liquid
4. Any other method that gives equivalent results and is approved by the USDA
Drained weight/volume. The percent weight/volume (w/v) of relish, shown in Table 4, is determined as follows:
The drained weight of pickle relish of all types is determined by emptying the contents of the container upon a U.S. Standard No. 8 circular sieve of proper diameter containing 8 meshes to the inch (0.0937 inch ± 3 percent, square openings) so as to distribute the product evenly, inclining the sieve slightly to facilitate drainage, and allowing to drain for 2 minutes. The drained weight is the weight of the sieve and the pickles, less the weight of the dry sieve. A sieve 8 inches in diameter is used for 1 quart and smaller size containers, and a sieve 12 inches in diameter is used for containers larger than 1 quart in size.
For all styles of pickles and types of pack, the sample unit used in analyzing the quality factors is the entire contents of the container unless otherwise specified by USDA regulations.
1. U.S. Grade A is the quality of pickles that meets the applicable requirements of Tables 5-11 and scores not less than 90 points.
Table 4 Recommended Drained Weight to Container Volume, Relish
Type of pack
Minimum fill (weight/volume) (%)
Other than sweet Fresh-pack Sweet
Other than sweet
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