Add some zip to your meals with pickled foods! Pickling combines spices, sugar and vinegar with fruits and vegetables to create a unique sweet-sour flavor yet retain a crisp, firm texture. The primary ingredients in making pickled foods include the produce, salt, vinegar, sugar, and spices. Firming agents are optional.
There are a variety of methods to prepare pickled foods. They include:
Brined or Fermented Pickles - This curing process involves soaking the food in a brine for several weeks. Curing changes the color, flavor, and texture of the food. Fermentation produces lactic acid to help preserve the food. Some foods are brined, but not cured. These will have vinegar added to them for preservation.
Fresh Pack or Quick Process Pickles - This method involves a boiling hot pickling mixture of vinegar, spices, and seasonings. The food may be brined prior to adding the pickling liquid. The end result is an easy to prepare pickle with a tart flavor. Allow them to stand several weeks after heat processing to improve the flavor.
Fruit Pickles - Whole or sliced fruits are simmered in a spicy, sweet-sour syrup made with vinegar or lemon juice prior to canning.
Relishes - Chopped fruits and vegetables are cooked in a spicy vinegar solution to the desired consistency prior to canning.