Making pickles: vinegar and such


David Soderblom
 

Just to fill in…  When traditional cucumber pickles are made, you dump them into a vat in brine.  The brine suppresses bad bacteria and having them in a liquid suppressed aerobes, and then there’s a malo-lactic fermentation, with the source being airborne natural critters, and that is bacterial (as opposed to wine fermentation which uses yeast, but wines also go through malo-lactic fermentations later, sometimes, and that is complex).  As part of that, lactic acid is created (plus CO_2, and that makes a foam on top).  Thus pickles and acid.  When they are packed/canned/put in bottles, then vinegar is added, partly to preserve.  But if you saw a (really) old-fashioned pickle barrel, it didn’t have vinegar added.

And don’t forget the dill, unless, like me, you really like sour spears, and I can’t find them any more.  Our taste in the US has distinctly moved to sweeter pickles in my lifetime.

David Soderblom
Baltimore MD USA






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