Glowing Pickle

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In this activity, high voltage is applied across a pickle to emit a yellow glow. This activity should only be conducted by skilled adults and is best suited as a demonstration. Optional extensions to this activity include soaking the pickle for week in brine to emit a pink glow and using several pickles at once.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • GFI protected 110 volt AC power source
  • two metal shish-kabob skewers
  • pickle
  • power cord
  • plastic box
  • PVC frame
  • two alligator clips
  • spectroscope
  • brine made with Salt Substitute (optional)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electric Circuits
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Electronics
  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Doherty, Paul


  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 2001