I was with friends recently when everyone started sharing their favorite late-night snack. Scoops of gelato, black olives, cheese squares. Then someone mentioned cornichons. “Ever since I got the ones with the pickle elevator, I can’t stop eating them,” she said.
Until then, I had never heard of a pickle elevator. Something that, indeed, is pretty self-explanatory based on its name. Still, I said, “Pickle elevator? What’s that?”
What is a pickle elevator?
In case you, like me, have never heard of this wonder, a pickle elevator is a simple plastic thing inside a jar of cornichons, which lifts the pickles up so that you—or your fork—don’t need to swish around in the pickle juice to catch one. As any cornichon eater knows, it’s all fun and games at the start of a jar, when the things are packed in there like, well, pickles, and are easy to grab. But once you’re down to the wire, when there’s more pickle juice than there are pickles, catching one can be a bit like playing those hand-held water games at the dentist’s office as a kid. Which is to say, difficult.
Some internet sleuthing told me that, although pickle elevators are apparently common in Europe—and in particular France—I was going to have the best luck finding this in the U.S. if I got Mailee brand cornichons, which come standard with a pickle elevator inside the jar. After some strikeouts (Whole Foods and Target didn’t have them), I went to the normal old grocery store (which, here, is Shaws) and voila! There they were.
Intent on trying out the elevator first thing, I had to remove some cornichons from the top of the jar, because it’s really not necessary at that stage of the jar. As soon as I had enough wiggle room, I lifted the tab. The part of the tab you put your finger in is a bit like a small version of the thing in bubbles, except that you don’t have to fish around for it because it is, blessedly, situated above the line of pickle juice even when it’s as low down as it can go in the jar. You don’t have to pull up much and suddenly, pickles are rising to the top of the jar, ready for you to grab without fishing around in pickle juice.
The existence of the pickle elevator opened my eyes to other products aimed at keeping us from swimming in pickle juice:
Home pickle elevator
This Tupperware “Pick-A-Deli” container is quite similar to what Mailee achieves with its in-jar pickle elevator. You put pickles (and their juice) into this container and then use the handle to lift them out of their juice when you want one. Similar products are available around the web, including Amazon, where one purchaser of a similar product said she bought it for “nostalgia reasons” but now that she has one, she’s getting “more use” out of her pickles.
“I always would kind of avoid them because I never liked having to stick my hand in the jar or fish around with a fork trying to stab one but this makes it so much easier because you just lift them out and it comes with tongs so you don’t even have to touch them if you don’t want to lol,” she wrote.
Tip over jar
Now this is really something. This jar, which is shaped kind of like an hourglass, apparently holds your pickles and their juice together, and then when you want a pickle, you simply tip it over and the juice drains out—like sand through the hourglass. This TikTok video shows how this works:
Pickle elevators are inspiring
If you are feeling inspired by all of these pickles, you’re not alone.
South Carolina artist Kristy Edwards has a painting of a jar of cornichons with the pickle elevator—which appear to be Maille brand. The painting is called, aptly, “Cornichons in Jar with Pickle Elevator,” and is oil on board. It’s for sale on Edwards’ website for $250.
Meanwhile, on Vol Up 2, music curator Sophia Lam created a playlist with the name Pickle Elevator, which also features original art by illustrator Stephanie Victorine.
Go ahead. Get yourself a jar of cornichons with the pickle elevator, blast the Pickle Elevator playlist, and live your best life. You deserve it!