There are two types of pickle families, those made by using the quick process method and those made during the brine curing method. Most people now use the quick process method to save on time. Using the quick process method, you cook the fruit or vegetable in vinegar and spices to preserve it.
When using the brine curing type method, you keep and hold the fruit or vegetables in a brine for about a month. The next step is to soak them in cold water to remove any excess salt. After the excess salt is removed, you add vinegar, sugar and spices to make pickles. This can be a lengthy process, but people who use this method swear by it. It usually makes crisper pickles than the quick processing method, although many quick processed pickles are delicious.
No matter which type of pickles you decide to make, there are a few rules you should follow for success. You should keep them in mind when making homemade pickles.
1. Use fresh fruits and vegetables as soon as possible after picking them. Store them in the refrigerator if you can’t make pickles with an hour or two after picking them. Don’t wash them before placing in the refrigerator.
2. Use fruits and vegetables that are free of any bruises or blemishes. If the have to cut out blemishes, cut deeply to make certain all damaged flesh is removed.
3. Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables to remove any dirt which may cause spoilage. If you are using cucumbers to make your pickles, be sure to remove the blossom end as well. It has an enzyme in it which may also cause your pickles to spoil.
4. Use a vinegar of at least 5% acidity. Check the label for acid content. You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Homemade vinegar isn’t recommended as one can’t be sure of acidity level. White vinegar makes for clearer pickles, but apple cider vinegar will lend more flavor to your pickles.
5. Use canning or pickling salt when making pickles. This is mandatory when using the brine curing method. You can use table salt in quick process pickles, but don’t use table salt with iodine added. It may darken the pickles.
6. Use the freshest spices available for the best flavored pickles. Whole spices work well. Tie them in a cloth bag so they can be removed from the brine easily. If left in the brine when poured into jars, the spices will darken the pickles as they age.
7. Use white granulated sugar. Only use brown sugar if the recipe you are using calls for it.
8. Use fresh water. If you are using city water, or water that has been chemically treated, boil the water and let it cool completely before using it for pickle making.
There are all sorts of pickle recipes. You can find recipes for sweet pickles, dill pickles and even hot pickles. There may be recipes in your cookbook, but if not, the internet is a great resource for finding pickle recipes.
You can pickle many types of fruits and vegetables. Pickled cucumbers and cauliflower are some of the more common ones. Find a pickle recipe that you would like to try, and keeping these steps in mind, you will soon have your own delicious homemade pickles to enjoy.
K. Hupp enjoys cooking and gardening.
Photo. Photo Mix