Tips for Pickling
Experiencing a glut of produce? Of course you can share it with your community on our marketplace but you can also preserve the excess to enjoy later. Pickling extends the life of produce and adds a new flavour.
Pickling – preserving foods in vinegar, brine or a similar solution – is one of the oldest methods of extending the life of food. The exact origins are unknown but many believe food was pickled as far back as 2400 B.C by the ancient Mesopotamians. Fast forward to today, pickling is still a great way of keeping our food longer. Pickling is not a complex process, but still a process that needs to be followed.
Follow the Instructions
If you are a beginner, it’s best to follow the instructions exactly. Pickling is a little like a chemistry experiment, mix up the process and you will change the outcome. So don’t skips any steps or you could have a your pickles exploding, going fizzy, going moldy and tasting terrible. The instructions insure that you end up with tasty pickles that are edible and healthy.
Sterilse the Jars
One of the most important steps that many underestimate is sterilisation. If your glass jars and lids are not in good condition and not cleaned properly your pickling experiment will go wrong. Sterilisation removes any bacteria so it does not spoil your pickles and your efforts will pay off.
- Give your jars a wash in hot soapy water, clean every part and don’t forget the lids.
- Put them into the oven at 110° C or 230° F.
- Leave for 10-15mins or until they are completely dry.
- Remove them safely and allow them to cool.
Alternatively you can boil the lids for 5 minutes, allow them to cool and wipe them dry with a clean cloth. That’s it, both jars and lids are ready to go.
Prepare for Pickling
Use fresh produce and avoid produce from the supermarket that has been waxed. Select the most uniform and unspoiled produce. Prepare it well by scrubbing it clean, removing all dirt and if using cucumbers remove the spent flower blossom. Use pickling salt not idolised salt as this will make the pickles cloudy. For best results use white distilled or cider vinegar with 5% acidity.
Choose your flavour. The classic spices are mustard seed, peppercorns, bay leaves, dill, mint, basil or any other herb you have abundance in the garden. (PS, if you have an abundance of herbs, list them on our marketplace and share them with your community.)
For crispier pickles, sweat the produce first by covering the raw produce in a bowl with pickling salt. Cover it and let it sit in a cool place until liquid has emerged from the produce. Then rinse and dry the produce before pickling.
Some harder vegetables like carrots and okra will need to be partly boiled before pickling them.
Use Correct Amounts
Don’t overcrowd your jars with produce, it will need space to be suspended and surrounded by the pickling liquid. Each ingredient has a specific amount to ensure you not only get tasty pickles but safe pickles. Remember pickling is an experiment which can go wrong if the incorrect amounts of each ingredient is used. When it comes to the liquid ensure you have enough to completely cover the produce but enough space so the lid does not explode with pressure.
Label and date your jars and store them in a clean, cool, dark, dry place. Don’t store them in a warm spot. Allow the pickles to mellow with age by waiting at least three weeks before eating them. If they are stored for too long they will get soft and floppy.
Your Best Pickle Recipe
There are many different pickle recipes. A simple google search returned 31,300,000 results. If you have a tired and true pickle recipe, please share it in the comments. We don’t have waste any produce, pickling is a great way to keep it edible for longer. Now if you have spare pickles, please share them on our marketplace and experience the joy of sharing.