It’s that time of the year when pickling cucumbers are abundant. Maybe your garden is providing you with a bumper crop, a friend has shared a bunch with you, or you purchased some from your local farmer.
However, how many can you eat fresh before they start to spoil?
Okay, so you have decided you want to make pickles. Is there more than one way to make pickles? Yes!
3 Ways to preserve pickles
- Quick Pickles – Vinegar Pickles
What is Canning?
Canning pickles is a method that requires using a water bath. You pack your canning jars with pickles, seasonings, vinegar, and water. Using sterile jars, lids, and equipment to minimize the risk of harmful bacteria. Once your jars are sealed, they are placed in the hot water bath and cooked for a set period. Filled jars are then removed, cooled, labeled and stored at room temperature.
The benefit of canning is that your unopened jars are stored at room temperature for up to one year.
The downside of canning is through the process of cooking you are destroying many nutritional benefits of your vegetables. So this is an effective means of preservation, but there is a loss of nutritional value.
Interested In Quick Pickles?
Quick pickles, or refrigerator pickles as they are often referred to, are easy and quick to make. Like canning, use mason jars with rings and lids. Clean your pickling cucumbers and gather your spices, salt, vinegar, and water. It truly is a matter of packing your jars, pour your brine on top, cover, wait 24 hours, move to the fridge, then crunch away!
The beauty of making vinegar pickles is that only a short amount of time is needed to make up a batch. There is no cooking involved.
Many recipes call for using white vinegar, however, there are several other vinegar choices. In the recipe posted I use organic apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized) with the ‘mother’ in it. Apple cider vinegar has more health benefits than white vinegar. In my home, I leave the white vinegar for cleaning only.
The drawback of quick pickles is that you need to store them in the refrigerator. So if you have a bumper crop, you need space to store them. However, if you have too many jars of pickles, they make a great gift. Take some to work, share with a friend, or bring to a picnic.
How About Fermented Pickles?
Well if you know me, I’m all about fermenting hehe (but, I do enjoy the quick pickles too). Like vinegar pickles, fermented pickles are simple to put together. The major difference is the amount of time the pickles sit on your counter to ferment. If you use whole pickles, the length of time will be longer than if you ferment slices. (I wanted them as soon as possible, so this time they got sliced) You can even make them a variety of ways: whole, spears and sliced, each style will need a different amount of time.
The reason so many people make fermented pickles is not only the taste but by far they have the most nutritional value. Eating some pickles with your meals will help you digest your food, make vitamins and nutrients more bio-available, bring the good bacteria into your gut. Healthy gut, healthy body!!!!
It is important to add a certain type of leaves that contain tannins to keep the pickles crispy. Options for tannin are listed in the recipe. Most ferments I store in a cool place, with the exception of pickles. Those I put in the refrigerator to slow the fermentation process down once I like the flavor.
The above photos show both vinegar and fermented pickles. Notice how bright green the pickles start out on the left picture. Within 24 hours the apple cider vinegar pickles turned more of an olive green. The fermented pickles took about 3 days.
*This is normal and to be expected* If you used white vinegar in the quick pickles the color will not change as much.
Let me know which you enjoy eating most: canned, vinegar or fermented pickles!