Pickling: Wikis


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Cucumbers (specifically, Gherkins) gathered for pickling.
Middle East style pickles from Syria.

Pickling, also known as brining or corning is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine (a solution of salt in water) to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar (acetic acid). The resulting food is called a pickle This procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste. In South Asia edible oils are used as the pickling medium instead of vinegar.

Another distinguishing characteristic is a pH less than 4.6,[1] which is sufficient to kill most bacteria. Pickling can preserve perishable foods for months. Antimicrobial herbs and spices, such as mustard seed, garlic, cinnamon or cloves, are often added.[2] If the food contains sufficient moisture, a pickling brine may be produced simply by adding dry salt. For example, sauerkraut and Korean kimchi are produced by salting the vegetables to draw out excess water. Natural fermentation at room temperature, by lactic acid bacteria, produces the required acidity. Other pickles are made by placing vegetables in vinegar. Unlike the canning process, pickling (which includes fermentation) does not require that the food be completely sterile before it is sealed. The acidity or salinity of the solution, the temperature of fermentation, and the exclusion of oxygen determine which microorganisms dominate, and determine the flavor of the end product.[3]

When both salt concentration and temperature are low, Leuconostoc mesenteroides dominates, producing a mix of acids, alcohol, and aroma compounds. At higher temperatures Lactobacillus plantarum dominates, which produces primarily lactic acid. Many pickles start with Leuconostoc, and change to Lactobacillus with higher acidity.[3]

The term pickle is derived from the Dutch word pekel, meaning brine.

Pickling began as a way to preserve food for out-of-season use and for long journeys, especially by sea. Salt pork and salt beef were common staples for sailors before the days of steam engines. Although the process was invented to preserve foods, pickles are also made and eaten because people enjoy the resulting flavors. Pickling may also improve the nutritious value of food by introducing B vitamins produced by bacteria.[citation needed]


Popularity of pickles around the world



Main article: Chinese pickles, Mixed pickle, Indian pickles

India has a large variety of pickles (known as Achar in Hindi, Oorukai in Tamil, Pachadi in Telugu ) which is mainly made from Mango, Lime, Indian Goose Berry (Anwla), Chilli, vegetables,Ginger, Garlic and Citron. These fruits/vegitables are generally mixed with some other ingredients i.e salt, spices, vegetable oils and is set to mature.

Indonesian pickles, acar, are typically made out of cucumber, carrot, bird's eye chilies, and shallots, these items being seasoned with vinegar, sugar and salt. Fruits, such as papaya and pineapple are also sometimes pickled. In the Philippines, achara is primarily made out of green papaya, carrots, and shallots, with cloves of garlic and vinegar. In Vietnam, vegetable pickles are called cải chua ("sour vegetables"). In Sri Lanka, achcharu is traditionally prepared out of carrots, onions, and ground dates. Mixed with mustard powder, ground pepper, crushed ginger, garlic and vinegar, these items are seasoned in a clay pot

Korean kimchi.

China is home to a huge variety of pickled vegetables, including radish, baicai (Chinese cabbage, notably suan cai, la bai cai, pao cai, and Tianjin preserved vegetable), zha cai, chili pepper and cucumber, among many others.

Japanese tsukemono (pickled foods) include takuan (daikon), umeboshi (ume plum), gari & beni shoga (ginger), turnip, cucumber, and Chinese cabbage.

Korean kimchi is usually made from pickled Chinese cabbage and radish, but is also made from green onions, garlic stems, chives and a host of other vegetables.


In Turkey, pickles, called turşu, are made out of vegetables, roots, and fruits such as peppers, cucumber, Armenian cucumber, cabbage, tomato, eggplant (aubergine), carrot, turnip, beetroot, green almond, and green plum. A mixture of spices flavor the pickles.

In Greece, pickles, called τουρσι, are made out of carrots, celery, eggplants stuffed with diced carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, and peppers.

In Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia, mixed pickles, known as turshi, form popular appetizers, which are typically eaten with raki. Pickled green tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, peppers, eggplants, and sauerkraut are also popular.

In Romania, pickles are made out of beetroot, cucumbers, green tomatoes (gogonele), carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, melons, mushrooms, carrot, pork fat and cauliflower.

In Russia, pickled items include beets, mushrooms, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, ramsons, garlic, eggplant (which is typically stuffed with julienned carrots), custard squash, and watermelon.

Pickled herring, rollmops, and salmon are popular in Scandinavia.

In Britain, pickled onions and pickled eggs are often sold in pubs and fish and chip shops. Pickled beetroot, walnuts, and gherkins, and condiments such as Branston Pickle and piccalilli are typically eaten as an accompaniment to pork pies and cold meats, sandwiches or a ploughman's lunch.

In Ukraine, garden produce is commonly pickled using salt, dill, currant leaves and garlic and is stored in a cool, dark place.

In Italy, pickled vegetables, giardiniera, include onions, carrots, celery and cauliflower.

Middle East

In Iran and all Arab countries, pickles (called torshi in Persian, mekhallel in Arabic, and hamutzim in Hebrew) are commonly made from turnips, peppers, carrots, green olives, cucumbers, beetroot, cabbage, lemons, and cauliflower.

North America

In the United States and Canada, pickled cucumbers, olives, and sauerkraut are most popular, although pickles popular in other nations (such as the pickled tomatoes commonly offered in New York City delicatessens) are also available. Giardiniera, a mixture of pickled peppers, celery and olives, is a popular condiment in Chicago and other cities with large Italian-American populations, and is often consumed with Italian beef sandwiches. Pickled eggs are common in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In the southern part of the United States, pickled okra and watermelon rind are popular. In Mexico, chile peppers, particularly of the Jalapeño and serrano varieties, pickled with onions, carrots and herbs form common condiments.

The pickling process

The jar and lid are boiled to sterilize them. Then the raw vegetable and vinegar or brine is placed in the jar and the lid is screwed on. This is then placed in a cauldron of boiling water for a few minutes. It is then left to stand by for two weeks.[citation needed]

See also

Other home food preservation methods


  1. ^ Minnesota Department of Agriculture "Pickle Bill" Fact Sheet
  2. ^ Antimicrobial Effects of Mustard Flour and Acetic Acid
  3. ^ a b McGee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York: Scribner, pp. 291–296. ISBN 0-684-80001-2.

External links


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