Preparing Pickled & Fermented Foods
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Preparing Pickled & Fermented Foods
Last updated 6/12/2012 1:19:05 AM. Recipe ID 50250. Report a problem with this recipe.
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      Title: Preparing pickled & fermented foods
 Categories: Canning, Information
      Yield: 1 Guide
  The many varieties of pickled and fermented foods are classified by
  ingredients and method of preparation.
  Regular dill pickles and sauerkraut are fermented and cured for about
  3 weeks. Refrigerator dills are fermented for about 1 week. During
  curing, colors and flavors change and acidity increases. Fresh-pack or
  quick-process pickles are not fermented; some are brined several
  hours or overnight, then drained and covered with vinegar and
  seasonings. Fruit pickles usually are prepared by heating fruit in a
  seasoned syrup acidified with either lemon juice or vinegar. Relishes
  are made from chopped fruits and vegetables that are cooked with
  seasonings and vinegar.
  Be sure to remove and discard a 1/16-inch slice from the blossom end
  of fresh cucumbers. Blossoms may contain an enzyme which causes
  excessive softening of pickles.
  Caution: The level of acidity in a pickled product is as important to
  its safety as it is to taste and texture.
  * Do not alter vinegar, food, or water proportions in a recipe or use
  a vinegar with unknown acidity.
  * Use only recipes with tested proportions of ingredients.
  * There must be a minimum, uniform level of acid throughout the mixed
  product to prevent the growth of botulinum bacteria.
  Select fresh, firm fruits or vegetables free of spoilage. Measure or
  weigh amounts carefully, because the proportion of fresh food to other
  ingredients will affect flavor and, in many instances, safety.
  Use canning or pickling salt. Noncaking material added to other salts
  may make the brine cloudy. Since flake salt varies in density, it is
  not recommended for making pickled and fermented foods. White
  granulated and brown sugars are most often used. Corn syrup and
  honey, unless called for in reliable recipes, may produce undesirable
  flavors. White distilled and cider vinegars of 5 percent acidity (50
  grain) are recommended. White vinegar is usually preferred when light
  color is desirable, as is the case with fruits and cauliflower.
  In the making of fresh-pack pickles, cucumbers are acidified quickly
  with vinegar. Use only tested recipes formulated to produce the
  proper acidity. While these pickles may be prepared safely with
  reduced or no salt, their quality may be noticeably lower. Both
  texture and flavor may be slightly, but noticeably, different than
  expected. You may wish to make small quantities first to determine if
  you like them. However, the salt used in making fermented sauerkraut
  and brined pickles not only provides characteristic flavor but also
  is vital to safety and texture. In fermented foods, salt favors the
  growth of desirable bacteria while inhibiting the growth of others.
  Caution: Do not attempt to make sauerkraut or fermented pickles by
  cutting back on the salt required.
  Alum may be safely used to firm fermented pickles. However, it is
  unnecessary and is not included in the recipes in this publication.
  Alum does not improve the firmness of quick-process pickles. The
  calcium in lime definitely improves pickle firmness. Food-grade lime
  may be used as a lime-water solution for soaking fresh cucumbers 12
  to 24 hours before pickling them. Excess lime absorbed by the
  cucumbers must be removed to make safe pickles. To remove excess
  lime, drain the lime-water solution, rinse, and then resoak the
  cucumbers in fresh water for 1 hour. Repeat the rinsing and soaking
  steps two more times. To further improve pickle firmness, you may
  process cucumber pickles for 30 minutes in water at 180 degrees F.
  This process also prevents spoilage, but the water temperature should
  not fall below 180 degrees F. Use a candy or jelly thermometer to
  check the water temperature.
  Pickle products are subject to spoilage from microorganisms,
  particularly yeasts and molds, as well as enzymes that may affect
  flavor, color and texture. Processing the pickles in a boiling-water
  canner will prevent both of these problems. Standard canning jars and
  self-sealing lids are recommended. Processing times and procedures
  will vary according to food acidity and the size of food pieces.
  ======================================================= === * USDA
  Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539 (rev. 1994) * Meal-Master
  format courtesy of Karen Mintzias

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Recipe ID 50250 (Apr 03, 2005)

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