Electric Pickle

The amazing electric pickle!

**As Seen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show**

You’ve probably seen the “Electric Pickle” trick in a science class… but did you ever stop to think about how cool it is?!?  That’s right, without the conductivity of one little pickle the light bulb won’t light up.  Just connect the sensors with your favorite salty pickle and you’ll see an awesome current of electricity.  Plus, you’ll cook the pickle at the same time… hey, sometimes science and cooking just go together.

Experiment Materials

  • Pickles, the variety that are soaked in salt water
  • Light bulb
  • Electric circuit
  • Power strip

Experiment

The “T-Stand” used in this experiment is circa 1920s, so a similar device could be difficult to find.  However, many science teachers have these electric circuits for demonstration purposes.

  • Once you have your electric circuit set up, you will find that the light bulb will not light until the pickle completes the circuit.  In other words, just plugging in the cord won’t do the trick. You have to use the pickle to close the circuit.
  • When the pickle is in place the light bulb will light up. Remove the current running to the light bulb and the pickle will light up!  Take the pickle off the sensors and you will find a cooked pickle.

MAKE SURE THAT THE POWER STRIP WITH THE LIGHT BULB PLUGGED INTO IT IS ALWAYS TURNED OFF WHEN YOU PLACE AND REMOVE THE PICKLE FROM THE CIRCUIT.

How Does It Work?

The pickle is a great conductor of electricity in this experiment because it was soaking in salt water.  Pickles are packed in salt water as part of the pickling process, and, conveniently for the kitchen scientist, salt conducts electricity.  The light bulb will not power until the pickle is in place because the electrical circuit is not complete.  The pickle will light up on its own, without the light bulb, because the salt is such a great conductor!