Learning how to make pickles is a great way to use fresh harvested vegetables from the garden.
Pickling preserves vegetable and fruits and makes great condiments to spice up your meals.
Fruits as well as vegetables can be pickled creating fruit pickles, relish, chutneys and sauces but the cucumber is still the most pickled vegetable in the garden.
Pickles can be made by brining or fresh packing.
Brined pickles are fermented in a salt water brine solution for up to 6 weeks.
Then they are soaked in water to remove the salt before processing with spices and herbs to create different kinds of pickles.
Fresh packed pickles are packed fresh in bottles with the brine solution and spices added to the container at the time of processing.
Fresh packed pickles develop flavor over 4 to 6 weeks before being eaten.
1. Salt - preserves and adds flavor. Use pure salt, canning or pickling salt. Table salt has additives and can cause the brine to become cloudy.
2. Vinegar – makes pickles tart and helps preserve changing the sugars in the vegetables and fruits to lactic acid. Use a high grade vinegars usually apple cider or white vinegar with at least 5 percent acidity.
3. Water – Use soft water or distilled water for making pickles. The minerals in hard water can have a negative effect on your pickles.
4. Spices and herbs – flavor pickles making them tasty. Use only fresh herbs for the best quality pickle.
5. Sugar – adds sweetness to pickles and relishes. Use granulated sugar, honey or maple syrup according to the recipe being used. Do not use sugar substitutes in place of the sugar unless the recipe is developed for sugar substitutes.
Fresh packed pickling is the easiest method for learning how to make pickles. It is easy to do at home and the pickles ferment in the jars they are packed in.
The hardest part is waiting the few weeks it takes to let the flavors blend and ferment before eating.