Are Bubbies Products Raw?

By , June 22, 2010

For a while now, I’ve wondered if Bubbies products are raw (ie., not heated or pasteurized). If you’re not familiar with Bubbies, they produce — among other things — excellent, old-fashioned, lacto-fermented pickles. In fact the only pickles Hubby will eat are Bubbies (or my own homemade Bubbies knock-offs).

So I sent an email to them, and if you’re a Bubbies fan too, you might be interested in reading their answer:

“Bubbies Bread & Butter Chips are vinegar brined and are a pasteurized food product, so there are no live cultures in that particular item.  Our Pure Kosher Dills, Dill Relish, Pickled Green Tomatoes and Sauerkraut are all naturally fermented and cured in salt water brine using a lacto-fermentation process. These products contain live cultures and the enzymes that form from a natural fermentation.

The Pure Kosher Dills, Dill Relish and Pickled Green Tomatoes are 100% raw; the Sauerkraut in the jars has been flash heated but not pasteurized.  This means that the Kraut is neither pasteurized nor raw.  Bubbies Bread & Butter Chips are vinegar brined and pasteurized and are shelf stable.

We were forced to begin heating our jarred Sauerkraut to calm the cultures inside because they were causing the kraut to continue to ferment too much in turn causing a buildup of gas that then results in brine leaking all over our distributor’s and retailer’s equipment and shelving.

When we heat our jarred Sauerkraut, it is quickly raised to about 135-140 degrees and then sealed in the jars.  The goal here is not to eliminate all the beneficial cultures, but rather to stifle them so they won’t cause the jars to leak.  When our Bread and Butter Chips are pasteurized the pickle chips and brine are heated to a boil and then allowed to simmer, to 212 degrees.  This process is designed at eliminating any potential cultures and is the style of preparation for that variety of pickle. While the heating we do for our Sauerkraut is only intended to calm the gas producing nature of the product with the specific goal in mind not to eliminate the beneficial cultures.  We do not claim that this product is raw for these reasons, but it still does have live bacteria.  From our testing, it is above 140 degrees that you really begin to eliminate the cultures present in our products on a massive scale.

It is important to note that our Sauerkraut is very crisp.  It is crunchier and able to maintain its crunch for far longer than other brands.  This is because there are still vegetable fibers left intact in the cabbage which are the complex carbohydrates that break down into the simpler food that the lacto bacillus cultures feed on during the fermentation process.

Hopefully this information will help in your continued enjoyment of our products and make it easier for you to remain a loyal customer.

Wishing you the very best in Food and Health!”

26 Responses to “Are Bubbies Products Raw?”

  1. Emily says:

    I have wanted to try their kosher pickles for awhile but was always stopped by the price tag. But I’ve heard so many people who love them, I’ll have to get some soon!

  2. Lindsey says:

    Yeah, why are pickles always so expensive? Bubbies are very pricey!
    Try ’em sometime; if you like garlic, you’ll probably like Bubbies.

  3. Emily says:

    I still haven’t purchased any, but I did get to try some (the kosher dill variety) on a grass-fed burger at my mom’s yesterday. Yum!

  4. Matthew says:

    Expensive is subjective. These are superior pickles and should cost more.

  5. […] fare at the farmer's market is quite pricey. I have only so far found sauerkraut and pickles (Bubbies brand) as live culture fermented veg at the mainstream grocer. Anyone else do fermented foods as a […]

  6. Steve says:

    Bubbies should say Bubbies of Canada….oh wait they do….right on the backside of the label. They are not “made” in San Francisco, the “office” is located in Stockton; 115 miles east of SF.
    They are self professed ‘branders’ (former bankers) who bought a little honest handmade local pickle company, built a phony imagined recipe of their grandmother around her picture & insulting slogan, who have ordinary fermented pickles made thousands of miles away in Canada by what is known as a copacker, in the food industry.
    They use a recipe common the world over (water, salt, garlic & spices allowed to ferment @ 70-75F) from Norway to South Africa. That’s why people write to them “… did you steal my grandmas recipe?” as if it’s a secret.
    You can find it in the Ball Bluebook on Home Canning or in the USDA Guide to Home Canning & Food Preserving.
    Bubbies are a 7 on the taste scale 1-10, a 9 on firmness, they are a good pickle, of course compared to ‘quick pickles'(anything with vinegar) is comparing apples to celery. Different processes.
    Bubbies deserves credit for not only surviving but succeeding in the retail grocery world where Brand is first and Quality second. See the slick website w 6 videos. Oy vey!
    Truth in advertising, always read the small print. It’s because of the US government riding herd on food processors via the USDA that we are able to see where products are made.
    To make them yourself:
    Univ of GA National center for food preservation; Master Food Preservers in El Dorado County branch of University of CA Cooperative Extension.
    You can make them in the garage in a 5gal hdpe Home Depot Orange plastic bucket (or in a White foodgrade hdpe trash can as used in restaurants or by winemakers.-high density polyethylene).
    I teach home food preserving & make Heirloom Ketchup,Heirloom Mustard, Heirloom Pickles & preserves, in the interest of disclosure.

    In NYC- Guss Pickles (.com)-the real deal made on site,, Rics Picks(com) unique quick pickles,local nyc farmers markets.

  7. Lindsey says:

    Thanks very much for this comment & your input. I agree about the Bubbies site — making it seem like a “secret” recipe that nobody can duplicate, to make customers think they must buy the product in order to have that type of pickle.
    In fact I have a Bubbies pickle recipe that I reverse engineered that I like even better than Bubbies:


  8. […] Lindsey’s Bubbies Pickle Recipe: […]

  9. […] ♦  Serve with lettuce, onion, tomato, mustard/ketchup/mayonnaise, sliced Bubbies pickles. […]

  10. […] ♦  Serve with lettuce, onion, tomato, mustard/ketchup/mayonnaise, sliced Bubbies pickles. […]

  11. shelly says:

    OMG…LOVE,LOVE,LOVE Bubbies Pickles I have been buying them since the 90’s and I am attempting to make my own this week…I hope mine tastes half as good as Bubbies…about the price…I am on a fixed income and I still gotta have em…warning:they are very addictive…lol

  12. Richard says:

    I followed Lindsey “how to make Bubbies pickles” for my VERY FIRST fermenting project and they turned out PURRRRRFECTO. EVERY BIT as good as Bubbies at 1/6 of the cost if not less. Really folks, its “easy peasy” to do. no magic, nothing complicated. Just follow the instructions here and enjoy the pickles in about 10-14 days !!!!! Chomp chomp !


  13. DIANE PHILLIPS says:

    I am a Bubbies “addict”! In the past I have spent a fortune on those pickles. But in the last three years I have had a perfect batch each year. I used to do 20 pounds of cukes…but everyone wants them for xmas, so now I make 30 pounds. I use medium cucs and have found using a crock works better for me than individual jars. I keep them for 1 year and they just keep getting better! I am savoring my last jar while the new crock is in process. If you love bubbies…you have to try these. Simple as can be!

  14. Pam Markworth says:

    Please tell me which stores carry Bubbies products. Thank you.

  15. Lindsey says:

    Pam, you’ll have to try their actual website to see who stocks their products! Thx.

  16. […] relish, and green tomatoes, and these are considered 100% raw. Here is an explanation provided by The Herbangardener. The author of this site consulted directly with […]

  17. john says:

    I want to make a double batch, do I just double the everything?

  18. Lindsey says:

    John, Yep!

  19. Alan says:

    This article was very informative and useful. Thank you.

  20. Tim says:

    Enjoyed your post. However, to put things in perspective, YES you can make your own sauerkraut. It is common knowledge not some form of hidden tactic. Bubbies does have a “secret” recipe that is entailed in the brine. Surely if someone does not have a job/family/etc they could spend hours modifying the process and get the recipe down to a T. Anyone can master fermenting cabbage. The convenience is in the option to purchase the sauerkraut pre/probiotic in the store and save valuable time.
    Secondly, yes it is manufactured in Canada. It is also not a hidden secret as you noted the print on the label. The company started in San Francisco and as it scaled a larger processing and packing distributed was needed. It is basic manufacturing. Otherwise, you would not see the Bubbies brand in Von’s, Wholefoods, Pavillions, Ralphs, Publix etc. There is nothing wrong with a company growing and manufacturing in areas that are able to handle the increased manufacturing. I believe the convenience and healthy benefits of the product far out weight the processing location.

  21. Linda says:

    Check out Hatcreek here in Texas! Sauerkraut, pickles, okra and fermented carrots!

  22. Lindsey says:

    Yep there seems to be an explosion of artisan fermented products hitting the shelves. This is great, although the prices are so high that it’s really worth it to make your own if you have the time and inclination. What I hope folks understand is that there isn’t some huge secret about fermentation. You don’t have to buy fermented products! You can make an even better product right in your own kitchen. One of my favorite fermentation recipe books is “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz.

  23. Toni says:

    Fermenting your own sauerkraut is a simple process. Cut up cabbage, salt the cabbage, pound the cabbage (or just let it sit for an hour) to release the juice from the cabbage, Put the cabbage in a jar with sliced garlic, caraway seeds.. and I like to add dill seeds. Cap the top with an airlock and wait 4 to 5 days… Sauerkraut!! ( I also add a right side up shot glass to the jar to push the cabbage down and keep the liquid out of the airlock)

  24. Lindsey says:

    What a great tip with using a shotglass! I’ve never used the airlock; just stuffed a fresh cabbage leaf on top of the chopped stuff to keep stuff under the brine, then capped the canning jar and left it at that. Will have to try the shot glass! Great tip, thank you.

  25. Clifford says:

    When the Bubbies are gone I fill the jar with carrot slices and in a couple weeks they are good. Maybe not as beneficial as higher temp prep but def offsets the cost of the pickles. Gotta try making my own.

Leave a Reply

The Herbangardener is powered by WordPress