Saturday, January 9, 2021

Agricultural products preservation: Pickling

Scientifically, a pickle is any perishable ingredient that has been preserved in brine. Pickles are usually made from a mixture of vegetables and fruit. They are eaten as a savory, spicy accompaniment to a meal. Pickles are preserved by a combination of increased acidity (reduced pH), added salt, reduced moisture and added spices.

Pickling is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. The Chinese were fermenting vegetables as early as the third century BCE. By the first century CE, the Romans were pickling.

Harsh winters, humid tropical climates, short growing seasons, poor soil, fast-spoiling staples (such as fish), even summer abundance and gardening pride - all have spawned the arts of pickling and food preservation.

Many vegetables can be pickled, Cucumber and cabbage are the main vegetables that are pickled. There are two basic categories of pickles.
*pickles preserved in vinegar, a strong acid in which few bacteria can survive
*pickles soaked in a salt brine to encourages fermentation—the growth of "good" bacteria that make a food less vulnerable to "bad" spoilage-causing bacteria.

Vegetables such as cucumber, cabbage, olive and onion are fermented by lactic acid bacteria which can grow in low concentrations of salt.

The bacteria ferment sugars in the food to form lactic acid, which then prevents the growth of food poisoning bacteria and moulds. The amount of salt added controls the type and rate of the fermentation. Fermented pickled, including sauerkraut are made from cucumbers or cabbage that are fermented for several weeks. Bacterial that are naturally present on these vegetables produce acid under the proper conditions.

Sometimes sugar is added to increase the rate of fermentation or to make the product sweeter.
Agricultural products preservation: Pickling

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