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In a PicklePickling is a great option in canning.

By definition, pickling preserves food using a salt and vinegar solution called brine. The beauty of pickling is that this blend kills many bacteria and allows foods to stay safe for months. This is why pickling was a very popular way to store food in earlier eras, in nearly every region of the world From China to Europe.

Food that would normally be out of season could be packed up for things like trade routes and sea voyage.

The first time we see the word pickle (pikel) is in Middle Dutch around the 1400. This term applied to a preservative savory solution (spiced brine). Long before this language connection, however, things like cucumbers got pickled over 4000 years ago and they were popular among many nobles including Caesar.

I must confess my motivation for pickling wasn’t quite so noble as pleasing a King’s pallet. My children love pickles, which means they disappear nearly as fast as I buy them. Wanting a few bites to myself, I started pickling.

This also gave me a way to preserve our home grown vegetables that we couldn’t normally eat up fresh. Additionally, pickles are a healthy snack choice if you’re avoiding fat. By the way, it certainly doesn’t hurt to pick up a book or two on pickling if you intend to do it regularly. They’ll give you great pointers and likely generate dozens of ideas.

Ok pickled items come both fermented and unfermented. An example of a fermented item is sauerkraut, which cures for about three weeks. Some pickles also ferment, but not those that are fresh packed. Nonetheless, don’t sweat this detail. You can learn about fermenting if you wish as you practice more with pickling.

Similarly to salsa it’s important to pick base items that are very fresh and firm. There really isn’t a vegetable that you can’t pickle. Additionally keep these hints in mind:

– if a recipe calls for sugar honey and corn syrup work quite well
– if a recipe calls for vinegar, white vinegar seems to be the most popular in that it doesn’t discolor vegetables and has a measurable acidity.

Finally, if a recipe calls for salt, follow that guideline; salt is an important factor in preserving (if you’re on a salt free diet, try finding alternative recipes that adjust for that consideration)


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