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Is There Actually A Law In Connecticut To Classify Pickles?

Pickles superimposed over Connecticut map
Pickles superimposed over Connecticut map - Static Media / Shutterstock

One of the more unusual "laws" often associated with Connecticut is that a pickle must bounce to be considered a pickle. It's cited as fact in many websites, listicles, and books (typically covering some of the more unusual or arcane laws that are still valid in different states or cities, such as not eating while swimming in Maryland or how it's unlawful to eat fried chicken with cutlery in Gainesville, Georgia). The question of whether such a law really exists has been directed so frequently to the reference librarians at the Connecticut State Library that they've issued a statement, complete with resources, addressing the confusion (after spending numerous hours looking over laws, ordinances, and regulations to confirm).

And the answer is definitive: there is no actual law stating that a pickle must bounce to be a pickle in Connecticut. There was, however, "the case of the pickles that wouldn't bounce," as reported in the Hartford Courant, the most likely origin of the pickle bounce law myth.

Read more: 16 Worst Canned Foods You Can Buy

Origin Of An Enduring Myth

Different varieties of pickles
Different varieties of pickles - Bloomberg/Getty Images

In 1948, two pickle packers were arrested for "conspiring to sell pickles unfit for human consumption" and charged under a Connecticut statute "concerning adulteration and misrepresentation of food products" (under section 21a-93 of the current Uniform Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as noted by CT Insider). Some of the pickle samples that had been sent to a laboratory were found to be "putrid, decomposed and containing ... maggots" (via the Hartford Courant). The men were subsequently found guilty, fined, and the pickles destroyed. In discussing the case and the shocking lab results, the State Food and Drugs Commissioner also shared another test for determining whether a pickle was good, namely to drop it from one foot and see if it bounced, noting that these rotten pickles didn't bounce but splattered instead.

It was this pickle bounce test suggestion that caused so many people to believe that the test was an actual law, when it's not (a fact that the current Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner confirmed to NBC Connecticut, who performed their own unscientific pickle bounce to see if it worked, and it did, as the different variety of (presumably good) pickles that they dropped all bounced). If you try your own pickle bounce test, be aware that the federal USDA pickle standards allow a small percentage of even Grade A pickles to be "soft, shriveled, & slippery units," which means that they may not actually bounce if dropped.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.