Pickling is the process of preparing a food by soaking and storing it in a brine (salt) or vinegar solution, a process which can preserve otherwise perishable foods for months. The resulting food is called a pickle.

Missing image
A pickle

Pickles are made in one of three ways. Here we use the example of cucumber pickles:

  • Processed pickles are made the old-fashioned way, by a process of fermentation. The bacteria in the cucumber are allowed to reduce the sugars present. This usually takes about five weeks, and the resulting pickles have a shelf life of many months.
  • Fresh-packed pickles are made by pasteurizing cucumbers to kill bacteria or make bacterial spores dormant. Fresh-packed pickles have a shelf life of many months. Many commercially-produced pickles are fresh-packed.
  • Refrigerated pickles (sometimes called overnight pickles) are made by placing cucumbers in a vinegar solution and refrigerating them. Compared to processed or fresh-pack pickles, refrigerated pickles have a relatively short shelf life, and even unopened jars should be kept refrigerated.

If the food contains sufficient moisture a pickling brine may be produced simply by adding dry salt. Some pickling forms, most notably Korean kimchi, salt the vegetables to draw out excess water, then allow natural fermentation of the vegetable to create a vinegar-like solution. Unlike the canning process, pickling does not require the food to be made completely sterile before it is sealed. The acidity or salinity of the solution makes it an environment in which bacteria or fungi do not easily grow.

Pickling began as a way to preserve food for out-of-season use and for long journeys, especially by sea. Salt pork and salt beef were common staples for sailors before the days of steam engines. Although the process was originally used to preserve foods, pickling is frequently done because people enjoy the resulting flavor.

Fruits are sometimes pickled in high-sugar or solutions with flavorings such as cinnamon, mustard, or dill seed.

It is believed that cucumbers were first pickled 4500 years ago in Mesopotamia. Cleopatra thought pickled cucumbers made her beautiful. The armies of Julius Caesar and Napoleon were fed pickles. During World War II, forty percent of the gherkins produced in the US went to the armed forces.


1 Types of pickles
2 External link
3 Other uses of the word "pickle"

Pickles popular in different places

Dill pickle spears
Dill pickle spears

The USA pickle market is dominated by cucumber pickles such as gherkins. In the US and Canada, the word "pickle" by itself usually refers to a pickled cucumber. Cucumbers may be cooked in spiced sugar syrup (sweet pickles), pickled in brine with dill (dill pickles), or with dill and garlic (kosher dills). Pickle relish, a traditional condiment for hot dogs, is made from sweet pickles.

In the UK, the most common type of pickle in British cuisine is the pickled onion. They are often sold in Fish 'n' Chip shops, as are pickled eggs. Pickled beetroot and condiments such as "Branston pickle" are typically eaten as an accompaniment to pork pies and cold meats or a ploughman's lunch.

China is home to a huge variety of pickled vegetables, including radish, cabbage (notably sun cai and la bai cai), chili pepper and cucumber, among many others.

In Taiwan, popular pickled food includes: plum, cucumber, cabbage, radish and eggs.

Japanese tsukemono include daikon, plums, turnips, and lettuce, among other vegetables, as well as rice bran.

Korean kimchi is usually made from pickled cabbage.

Indian mixed pickles consist of various pickled fruits and vegetables (invariably including chile peppers) suspended in vegetable oil.

Pickled herring and rollmops are pickled fish dishes popular typically in Scandinavia. Lox may be brine-pickled.

Capers and olives are almost invariably served pickled, rather than fresh.

Other foods that are commonly pickled include:

Types of pickles

  • Dill pickles, gherkin, bread and butter, kosher dill, sour dills (in original brine), polski ogorki, baby dills, deli pickles, sandwich pickles, relish, pickle cocktail, garlic pickles, polish pickles...and many more.

External link

Other uses of the word "pickle"

The phrase in a pickle can refer to any troublesome situation.

Pickle may also refer to the pickling solution, or similar solutions used for different purposes, such as removing scale from metal or preserving wood.

Final treatment of iron and steel products before onward sale into manufacturing includes pickling in strong mineral acid to remove rust and prepare the surface for tin or chromium plating or for other surface treatments such as galvanization or painting. The two acids commonly used are hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid. Wastewaters from pickling include acidic rinse waters together with waste acid. Some plants operate acid recovery plants, (particularly those using hydrochloric acid), where the mineral acid is boiled away from the iron salts, but there still remains a large volume of highly acid ferrous sulphate or ferrous chloride to be disposed of. However since the 1960s total hydrochloric acid regeneration processes based on pyrohydrolyses such as the spray roaster or the fluidised bed regeneration process have reached widespread acceptance. More than 300 installations are in operation. A recovery rate of more than 99% is achieved. Ferric Oxide is generated as a highly valuable by product of this kind of hydrochloric acid regeneration process.

Pickling may also refer to a metallurgical process in which stainless steel is chemically treated (usually with a solution of nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid) to remove any scale and contaminants from processing, with the goal of improving corrosion resistance.

In Java and Python programming, "Pickling" is the process of creating a serialized representation of objects. A detailed explanation of pickling can be found at http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/riggs96pickling.htmlhe:החמצה (מזון) ja:ピクルス nl:Pekelen


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