Pickle & Preserve

Could Walmart's New Fruit Punch Pickles Possibly Be Good?

July 18, 2017

In what might be the most polarizing culinary innovation since candy corn, black licorice, and cilantro combined, this week Walmart unveiled a new product under its own Great Value label—fruit punch pickles.

Walmart’s Tropickles, as they’re called, are just what they sound like—cucumber spears in a fruit punch brine that gives them a downright startling reddish hue. And though Walmart appears to be the first commercial operation to recognize them, fruit punch pickles have had a loyal fanbase for generations, particularly in the South. A quick Google search reveals pages of hits for Kool-Aid pickles or “koolickles,” which make use of concentrated Kool-Aid and plenty of sugar. There’s even something called “Jolly Rancher pickles,” which, to be honest, sound like an complete abomination—but to each their own. Sweet pickles of any kind already tend to be the subject of contention, so I’ll assume there’s something I’m missing, like a certain culturally-specific pickle tastebud.

Walmart admittedly picked up on the fruit punch pickle from the Internet, attributing its inception to social media. "The modern-day couple, the pickle and fruit punch met on social media (they bonded over recipes on Pinterest, to be exact); now, we are celebrating their union on Walmart store shelves," the store said in a statement. Whether or not that origin story is accurate is up for debate. Online records for fruit punch pickles date back to at least 2007, including a profile in The New York Times by Southern foodways writer John T. Edge, and Pinterest wasn’t launched until early 2010.

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But I digress. Walmart has only made Tropickles available at a select 1,400 stores, mostly in the Southern US, most likely because those jars would be collecting dust for decades anywhere else. No matter where you are in the world, if fruit punch pickles don’t tickle your fancy—and they really don’t tickle mine—let this serve as a reminder of all the other pickle recipes in existence, like the unusual and bright lime pickle, the classic crisp kosher pickle, and the just-sweet-enough bread and butter pickle.

Also, don’t forget that cucumbers aren’t the only thing you can pickle—far from it! Go nuts with pickled beets, carrots, onions, and so much more.

Have you ever had fruit punch pickles? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Caroline May
    Caroline May
  • Matt
  • trvlnsandy
  • mary moon
    mary moon
Karen Lo

Written by: Karen Lo

lunch lady


Caroline M. July 19, 2017
Can I ask why Food52 is advertising Walmart? This is the world's largest multinational corporation, causing unbelievable amounts of chaos and poverty throughout America and the rest of the world, by crushing small businesses and farms. Even back in 1997, a study found that some small towns lost almost half of their retail trade within ten years of a Walmart store opening. We HAVE to think about where our food is coming from, and even more importantly, where our money is going.
Matt July 18, 2017
"But I digress."

Don't digress. White Americans have been commercialising and profiting off of Black American culture for far too long. This is no exception and deserves to be called out.
mary M. July 19, 2017
What part made you think this was only consumed by black people? Or even invented by black people? (I am not saying that it wasn't, I am merely saying that the writer did not imply anything regarding race in this article. You're the one that jumped to conclusions.) Its a Southern thing. I've both eaten, enjoyed them and made them at home. I am not black. But yes as the writer explained, I'm a Southerner. As to whether or not your statement is correct, (that this is an issue that needs exploring) this may or may not be true, but a food related article on F52, is probably not the ideal battleground.
trvlnsandy July 18, 2017
Would you answer the question, please? The title leads one to believe you might have actually tasted them, and while you do say that type of pickle doesn't tickle your fancy, are the Walmart pickles any good?