Monday, April 13, 2009

10 Pickle Varieties

Pickling Basics

Pickling was invented thousands of years back to preserve food. Almost anything can be pickled but the western world has stopped with cucumbers / gherkins. In Asia, almost everything is indeed pickled. Some pickles can stay fresh for years, getting better with age, whereas others need to be consumed fast. If you have a fridge and consume your pickles in less than a week, you can forget all pickling safety rules. Irrespective of what you do, the refrigeration would prevent food spoilage.

To understand how pickles can stay fresh for years without refrigeration, we need to understand what causes food to spoil.

Causes of food spoilage: Externally, food is attacked by a variety of microorganisms. Internally, it is attacked by its own enzymes. The goal of all pickling is to inhibit these two actions.

Minimizing spoilage:
Internal spoilage is controlled by salting, sun drying or cooking. These minimize enzyme action. The microbial action is minimized by immersing foodstuffs in an acidic solution or a liquid like honey / sugar syrup / oil which seals food completely. Fermentation is another technique used where ‘good’ micro organisms are allowed to act on the food. This is similar to cheese / wine making. Various combinations of these techniques are used to create an amazing array of pickles.

Blanching veggies
Bring two cups (400 ml) of water to a boil. Add four pinches of salt and a handful of chopped vegetables. Let cook for 3 minutes. Drain water and wash vegetables under cold water to stop cooking.

This cookbook lists 10 different types of pickles listed below :

1.:  Salted Pickles  

2.:  Vinegar Pickles 

3.:  Honeyed Pickles

4.:  Soy Sauce Pickles

5.:  Lemon Juice Pickles 

6.:  Instant Indian Pickles   

7.:  Sweet Pickles   

8.:. Sun Cooked Pickles  

9.:   Pressed Pickles

10.: Fermented Pickles

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