Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
Pickles are one of those ingredients that divide the crowd. Some people would eat a burger bun stuffed with nothing but sliced, vinegary gherkins, but others make a point of removing theirs the moment they spot them in the bun.
But now pickle advocates can let out a smug sigh of relief, as it has been scientifically proven that their fave ingredient makes a burger better.
In collaboration with 20th Century Studios’, who are releasing The Bob’s Burgers Movie, research by an Oxford University scientist found that a pickle-filled burger officially provides optimum taste as supposed to a burger without them in.
The report, conducted by food scientist, Professor Charles Spence, aimed to investigate the optimum way for burgers to be enjoyed, and went on to highlight several reasons why adding pickles may be the optimum method to maximise “the oral-somatosensory experience of eating a burger”.
He notes that pickles’ acidity helps to cut through the rich umami burger notes, for one, resulting in the two tastes balancing each other out.
Then, there’s the contrast of the pickles’ texture against the rest of the burger, giving a “more appealing bite”.
Naturally, the pickle’s bright green hue helps make a burger look appetising, too – not to mention that satisfying crunch.
Truly, every sense is satisfied.
Whilst science may be backing the humble pickle, Professor Spence found that overall, diners would rather remove pickles from their burgers (just edging it, 51 percent chose to get rid).
Main reasons included the taste (23 percent), the texture (16 percent), and the fact they’ve never tried them but don’t like the idea of them (4 percent). We mean, pfft, come on!
The research showed that those aged 35-54 were the most in favour of pickles in burgers (38 percent), whilst those aged 18-24 were the least likely to want them included.
Professor Charles Spence, Experimental Psychologist at the University of Oxford, said: “Pickles are undoubtedly one of the most contentious additions to a burger, with the population seemingly split right down in the middle into lovers and haters.
“There is no ‘right or wrong’ way to eat a burger, however keeping pickles inside your burger is the best way to get the full potential out of every bite.
“Their sensory properties compliment the other burger ingredients perfectly.”