*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
                         PICKLING & RELISH POINTERS
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   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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           ---           --------PICKLES AND
   Pickles, relishes, and chutneys are vegetables
   prepared with brine (salt and water) or vinegar and
   some sugar and spices. The vinegar acts as a
   preservative, keeping any spoilage organisms from
   growing. Sealing pickled foods in jars and processing
   in a boiling water bath helps keep them fresh, crisp,
   and free from mold.
   Whole, sliced, or chunked vegetables cooked in vinegar
   or a vinegar sugar syrup, can become pickles. Chopped
   or ground combinations cooked with vinegar, sugar, and
   spices become relishes. Chutneys are highly spiced
   fruit and/or vegetable combinations.
   The old fashioned dill pickles and sauerkraut are
   actually fermented in brine, rather than cooked in
   vinegar. The brine, plus the sugar from the cucumber
   or cabbage, promote a special kind of bacterial action
   that, over several days or weeks, changes cucumbers to
   pickles and transforms cabbage to kraut.
   PICKLING POINTERS Because certain ingredients are very
   important for proper pickling, you'll need to be aware
   of some of the following pointers.
   1. Use produce that is as fresh as possible. Take it
   from the garden to your kitchen and into jars just as
   rapidly as possible. If you can't process the produce
   immediately, be sure to keep it refrigerated.
   Vegetables should be just barely ripe; they'll keep
   their shape better than if they were fully ripe.
   Always select cucumber varieties that have been
   created for pickling. The large salad cucumbers were
   developed for salads, not for pickles. Use smaller,
   less pretty cukes, with pale skins, plenty o bumps,
   and black spines. Never use waxed cucumbers. Select
   evenly shaped and sized vegetables for even cooking
   and better looking pickles.
   2. Water is an important pickle ingredient, especially
   for long brined pickles. Soft water is best. Hard
   water can cloud the brine or discolor the pickles. If
   you don't have soft water, boil hard water for 15
   minutes, then let it stand overnight. Skim off the
   scum, then carefully dip out what you need so you
   won't get any sediment from the bottom. Then add 1
   tablespoon of salt for each gallon; or you cn use
   distilled water if your water is hard.
   3. Salt, too, makes a difference. Table salt contains
   special additives to prevent it from caking in your
   shaker, and these materials can cloud brine. Iodized
   salt can darken brine. use only pure, granulated salt,
   also known as kosher salt, pickling salt, or dairy
   salt. Most supermarkets stock it with canning supplies.
   4. Vinegar is a crucial ingredient for many pickle
   recipes. check the label when you shop, and be sure to
   get a good quality vinegar of from 4 to 6 percent
   acidity. (Sometimes listed as 40 to 60 grain.) Weaker
   vinegar will not pickles foods. use distilled white
   vinegar for light colored pickles, cider vinegar for
   darker foods or more interesting flavor.
   5. Sugar can be brown or white granulated, depending
   on the lightness or darkness of food to be pickled.
   Or, if you wish, use half corn syrup or honey and half
   sugar. Don't use sugar substitutes unless you follow
   their manufacturers' directions.
   6. spices must be fresh. Old spices will make your
   pickles taste musty. Most recipes call for whole
   spices, which give stronger flavor and don't color the
   pickles as much. It is suggested you tie the spices in
   a cheesecloth bag and add them to the kettle during
   cooking, then remove the bag before packing the
   pickles into jars. Some cooks like to leave whole
   spices in the jars for stronger flavor and just for
   appearance’s sake, but loose spices may darken the
   pickles somewhat.
   7. Alum, lime, and other ingredients added to crisp or
   color pickles are not necessary, and their use is not
   recommended. These ingredients are often found in old
   fashioned recipes. Most of the newer recipes won't
   need any of these additives.
   Source: Vegetable Gardening Encyclopedia Typos by
   Dorothy Flatman 1995
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