Pickling is a preservation method that comes from fermentation (either open air or canned, which require different methods) or the addition of a vinegar brine (which is essentially what you get from fermentation as bacteria produce vinegar).
Fermentation as a process is risky since deadly pathogens can develop, primarily the toxin botulism, if the wrong conditions are present. The reason you might want to skip the fermentation step of traditional pickling and go with the quick pickling is 1) time 2) predictable results – because unless you have your fermentation technique down pat, you might get all sorts of unwanted bacterial and fungal growth. Fermented food is pickled by the natural production of acids by bacteria, but not all pickled food is necessarily fermented.
For this post we’ll deal with the basic refridgerate vinegar brine. Basically the brine provides anti-bacterial/fungal protection and adds a bunch of flavour.
Depending on whether you want your pickles soft or crisp, you’ll either cook them or insert them directly into the brine.
All you need for equipment is clean, food jars.
Simplest Any-Veggie Vinegary Pickles
- Enough veggies to fill your jar(s)
- 1 cup any kind of vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 tablespoon kosher or any non-iodized salt
- Optional ¼ teaspoon total of dried spices per cup (peppercorns, coriander, caraway, mustard seeds, cumin, hot pepper)
- Clean and cut veggies to your liking
- Add veggies to jar
- Fill half-way with vinegar
- Add salt
- Fill the rest with water
- Put in fridge and wait a week to several months as the vinegar soaks into the veggies
Pickle: a food preserved in acid.
Fermentation: the process of converting sugars into alcohol then acid. Not all fermented products are pickles. Beer is fermented, for instance.
Fermented pickles: a pickled food that got its acid from fermentation
What are called pickles in Canada are really pickled cucumbers that adopted the name pickles because they became the most popular kind of pickled food.