Pickling: The Science of Preservation

Pickling: The Science of Preservation
Container and Packaging
by Container and Packaging
September 8, 2020, Updated October 25, 2021

Have you ever wondered if you could make your own crisp and crunchy pickles? Pickling is a method of preservation found worldwide. Kimchee in Korea. Pickled eggs in China. Olives in the Mediterranean. Herring in Scandinavia. Pickling is, in a nutshell, soaking foods in a solution to prevent spoilage.

There are many recipes and methods available for pickling. Here are the three types of pickles that you can try:

pickles process

Brined Pickles

Brined pickles include traditional dill pickles and sauerkraut. These pickles are fermented for about six weeks. The brine solution is full of salt, which encourages good bacteria growth.

Refrigerated Pickles

These pickles are soaked in vinegar and salt for a week, and can then be stored in the refrigerator for two months.

Fresh-Pack Pickles

These pickles include pickled beets and bread-and-butter pickles. Make these by cooking the pickles in vinegar and spices, and then immediately processing the pickles.

Pickling Recipe Tips

When you are pickling, use only pickling salt. Regular table salt may have anti-caking additives, which will make the brine cloudy. Iodized salt could make your pickles dark. And Kosher or flaked salts measure differently, which may disrupt the delicate pickling brine balance. Be sure to use vinegar with at least 5% acidity to prevent bad bacteria growth.

Choosing the Right Pickling Container

It is crucial that you choose the correct container for pickling foods. Do not use aluminum, copper, brass, galvanized, or iron utensils or containers. These will react with the salt and acids during pickling. This can cause undesirable changes to the pickles. If you choose to use plastic containers, make sure that the containers are food grade and have not been used for non-food items. The safest option for pickles is glass jars. At Container & Packaging Supply, we have many glass jars that will work perfectly for all of your pickling endeavors.

The mason jar is the perfect pickling container

Now that you know a few things about pickling, it is time to get out of that pickle and start preserving!