When your meal is accompanied by a pickle, it certainly offers a memorable flavor. Its lip-smacking taste truly pampers your taste buds. Pickling various kinds of food has been practiced since a long time. It was one of the primary forms of food preservation.
During ancient times, it was discovered that food kept in containers of salt or vinegar could be preserved for a longer time. Vinegar and salt prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that are responsible for food spoilage. Nowadays, pickling is extremely popular throughout the world.
Types of Pickles
Pickles can be prepared using a variety of methods. Fresh pack pickles are kept in a vinegar solution for several hours; or they are immediately mixed with spices, vinegar, and seasonings. Some of the common examples of fresh pack pickles are bread and butter pickles, dills, and pickled beets. Other types of pickles are fermented pickles, refrigerated dills, fruit pickles, and relishes.
Fermented pickles are made from the vegetables, soaked in a brine solution for about 4-6 weeks. Refrigerated dills are made from cucumbers marinated for 1 day-1week in salt and spice brine in the refrigerator. Then, they are stored in the fridge for up to 2 months. Fruits pickles can be prepared from whole or sliced fruits, which are simmered in spicy, sweet-sour syrup.
Pickles: How to Make
A large variety of pickles are available in the market. However, you can easily prepare delicious pickles at your home, maintaining hygienic conditions.
They can be prepared by using a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and other foods such as carrot, cucumber, tomato, eggplant, beetroot, cabbage, melon, bell pepper, cauliflower, mushroom, lemon, raw mango, chili, garlic, ginger, onion, green beans, radish, olive, peach and also beef, meat, ham, pork and fish.
For making the pickle, always select fresh vegetables or fruits. They should be free from any bruises or molds. You will need a sterile jar with a tight-fitting lid to store the pickle. You will also require salt, vinegar, and some spices such as cumin seeds, mustard seeds, garlic, cloves, etc. You can make a spicy pickle or a sweet pickle. Sweet pickles contain almost same ingredients just like spicy pickles; the only difference is that the quantity of sugar used is much higher in sweet pickles.
First, select fresh and firm cucumbers. Wash them thoroughly and cut them into small pieces as you wish. Sterilize the jar, by putting it in boiling water.
Boil water, vinegar and salt together. Add cucumber pieces and some spices such as garlic, hot pepper and other herbs to the jar. Then, pour the boiled vinegar, salt and water mix into the jar. Seal the jar with a sterilized lid.
Sweet Cucumber Pickle
Wash the cucumber and cut into 3-4 inch pieces. Sprinkle some salt on the cucumber pieces and cover it with ice. Keep it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
Drain and then pack into the sterilized jar. Meanwhile, prepare a pickling syrup, using 3½ cups vinegar, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons, mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon whole allspice and 1 teaspoon celery seeds. Pour this boiling syrup over cucumbers in the jar. You can pasteurize the pickle by canning it, in order to keep it firmer.