Pickling at Home Everything you need to know to get started pickling at home

Types of Pickling

Pickles are great, nutritious snacks that can be eaten directly or added as a side dish to a meal. To appreciate pickles more, it is good to know how they are made with the different types of pickling processes.

Pickled carrots

Lactic Fermentation Pickles

Fermentation is designed to preserve food longer as it uses a natural process called lactic fermentation. In this process, the good kind of bacteria that assists in the digestion of foods (lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria) converts the food's sugary and starchy components to lactic acid. Lactic acid is recognized as a natural preservative produced by fermentation in pickling.

Lactic fermentation has been a long preferred type of pickling because of its numerous benefits. Not only does it prolong the shelf life of food, it boosts the food's nutritional value while producing safe, edible nourishment for people on the go.

Lactic fermentation safely prevents microorganisms from causing food spoilage. The same fermentation process that conserves and provides foods their characteristically pleasant sour taste also has many health benefits. It aids in digestion, eliminates excess fats found in the bloodstream, and lowers high cholesterol levels.

Lactic fermented foods include the traditional dill pickle, German-derived Sauerkraut, a pickled cabbage, and Korean kimchi, a fermented spicy cabbage mixed with other vegetable ingredients.

Fresh Pack or Quick Process Pickles

Fresh pack or quick process is another type of pickling that involves an acetic acid solution consisting of salt, vinegar, herbs and spices that is brought to a boil. The solution is poured over the selected vegetables for pickling.

The soaked vegetables are usually placed in tightly lidded canned jars. The jars are normally refrigerated for about a week or more, allowing the pickled vegetables to have a better flavor. Fresh pack or quick process pickling is best for people who wish to swiftly make pickles but have the patience to wait for several weeks.

Vinegar pickles use about equal parts of vinegar and water as its pickling solution. This process tends to make the vegetables increasingly sour but taste crisp and delicious. Common vinegars used in the process come in the form of red wine, white wine, or apple cider.

Vinegar reduces high blood pressure, treats urinary infections, balances your pH levels, and fights infection. Vinegar is also claimed to help with weight loss. Vinegar pickles are ideally eaten when they have been stored in a fridge for at least a day.

Quick Pickles

Comprising of a vinegar-based brine, quick pickling is a process that initially requires boiling. The juice is composed of vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices and is boiled before pouring it over vegetables. Most quick pickle makers also gently cook their vegetables in the simmering vinegar solution along with other ingredients. Quick pickling also allows the use of any type of vinegar, store-bought or homemade, without stressing about the acidity. It's also a good excuse to eat your vegetables right away.

The advantage of quick pickling is it can be eaten the day you make it and doesn't need to be refrigerated or jarred. Quick pickles can be eaten more quickly because the hot vinegar flavors them more quickly.

The pickled vegetables can be made in small batches providing room for experimentation. Although the taste may quite differ from the traditionally fermented pickles, the traditional flavors are still achievable and many interesting flavors can be created as well.

Photo Credit: jules:stonesoup

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