For those who love pickles, here’s a fun fact about how they’re made. It’s actually quite straightforward and consists of preserving vegetables in an acidic solution to prevent spoilage. A brine made of either pure salt and water or a combination of vinegar and salt is key to the process.
As the veggies are sealed up and left in brine, they start to ferment with microbes. These microorganisms feed off of natural sugars creating lactic acid. Fermentation is a process by which spoilage bacteria cannot thrive and, over time, the food begins to ferment. The longer it’s left in this environment with a highly acidic environment, the sourer it will be.
Pickling at home is easy with just a few ingredients. That said, you should always keep in mind that the kitchen isn’t a completely sterile environment so bacteria could be introduced during the pickle-making process too. The difference between the pickles you find at your local grocery store and your own pickling project is they have been pasteurized to kill off any harmful bacteria that may have snuck into processing. Still, home pickling is a fun and easy way to preserve veggies. There’s no risk in giving it a shot. Here are some easy-to-make types of pickles:
1. SWEET PICKLES
Sweet pickles are made with brine that contains both vinegar and sugar. Sweet pickles use more sugar than bread and butter, but they still aren’t cloyingly sweet. Sweet pickles are the best choice if you want a subtle sweetness in your mouth, without making puckering so much of an issue.
2. REFRIGERATOR PICKLES
With just a mason jar and some vinegar, you can preserve any veggies in your home. This technique is really fast and easy. You can use it with any type of veggies that you wanted to turn into briney condiments. You can make your own brine by filling a jar with vinegar and spices of choice, then adding veggies. It’s as simple as that. As previously mentioned, this isn’t a professional canning method so the finished product is not shelf-stable like store-bought pickles. That’s where the refrigerator enters the picture: Refrigerator pickles must be kept in a tightly sealed jar and used within weeks.
3. DILL PICKLES
Dill pickles are the best-loved of all pickle varietals and they owe their name to this signature dill flavor. Dill pickles are a favorite among people who enjoy the taste of dill. A generous amount of the herb is always included in the brine—be it dried, fresh, or as seeds. The result? A pickle that tastes like dill. If this sounds up your alley then look no further because you can find them at most grocery stores for purchase whole or pre-sliced so they’re easy enough to prepare whenever ya want one.
4. GHERKIN PICKLES
Gherkins are pickles made from a small and bumpy cucumber variety. Smaller than a typical cucumber, gherkins are always pickled whole. You can find them at your local grocery store or plant and pickle your own.
5. KOSHER PICKLES
Kosher pickles can be either prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary laws or not. Kosher pickles may be called what they are because of the fact that kosher salt is used in their process, with garlic and dill for extra flavor. These pickles have a lot in common with standard dill, but they’re different because of the garlic.
6. BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES
The recipes for bread and butter pickles are basic but some include a variety of seasonings to make them more interesting. Bread and butter pickles have a more mellow flavor than traditional sour ones because they include sugar in their brine to balance out the acidity.
7. KOOL-AID PICKLES
If you’re looking for another fun home pickling project, try turning a jar of regular store-bought pickles into colorful and sour Koolickles. Simply fill the jar with Kool-Aid along with one cup of white granulated sugar and shake well. The next step is to add your gallon jar of store-bought pickles and let them sit in the Kool-Aid and sugar brine. Store your pickles in the fridge and munch on this brightly-colored snack as an afternoon snack.
8. SOUR PICKLES
Sour pickles are not like the rest of them, and they’re so sour because these guys get brined in water with spices for fermentation. The resulting product has a seriously tart kick. There is no acidic bite or sweetness in these guys, they are just plain sour.
If you know someone who might like this, please click “Share”!