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How Does a Cucumber turn into a Pickle?

How Does a Cucumber Become a Pickle? What are some interesting Facts About Cucumber Pickles?

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Pickling is a very old process that has been in existence since around 2000 BC to make different types of food last longer. This allows fermentation of food with good bacteria for flavor and preservation of food in an acidic brine solution. With proper handling, pickled foods generally have a shelf life of up to a year. Pickled foods are typically used as condiments. In the US the word “pickle” is often associated with cucumber pickles, although it can refer to any type of pickled food.

Pickling is a tricky and requires some level of experience or else the pickled food can become contaminated. For cucumbers to become pickles, there are specific requirements that need to be met. A lot of people especially cooks prefer to use ready-made pickles in their dishes rather than pickling their own. Signs of contaminated pickled foods include a convex lid or the presence of molds, most probably caused by mishandling or improper sealing.

Foods to be pickled like fruits or vegetables need to be very fresh and pickling conditions immaculately clean. They have to be washed carefully and in the case of cucumbers, trimmed properly. There are two different methods of pickling cucumbers. There is a specific variety of cucumber used for pickling and can be identified by their consistent size and crooked texture.

The first method for pickling cucumbers is anaerobic fermentation, also known as the classic pickling method. A brine solution made with pickling salt is used and may include spices such as cumin, dill or mustard seeds. The cucumbers will be submerged in this solution and they will be weighted to ensure they stay submerged throughout the pickling process. After fermentation, the pickles will be rinsed several times in clean water to remove excess salt. Slicing the pickles can now be done and not prior to pickling.

Pickling vinegar is used for storing pickles. This type of vinegar has 5% acid content and is perfect for preventing bacteria formation. If you prefer, you have the option to pickle the cucumbers straight in pickling vinegar. Jars for storing pickles require pasteurization using the hot water canning process. After sealing, these pickles can be stored for about a year in a cool dry place and should be refrigerated once opened.

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