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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Pickling > Pickling: Not Just for Cucumbers

Pickling

Pickling: Not Just for Cucumbers

Deb Botzek-Linn, Extension Educator — Food Safety

Reviewed 2010 by Suzanne Driessen, Extension Educator — Food Safety.

Vegetables from asparagus to zucchini can be home preserved by pickling. The key is to select a recipe from an approved source that is specifically designed for the vegetable you are pickling. Follow the directions carefully for a safe, high quality product.

Vinegar

Cider vinegar has a good flavor and aroma, but may darken white or light-colored vegetables. White distilled vinegar is used for onions and cauliflower where clearness of color is desired. The ratio of vinegar to water varies by the vegetable; again select a recipe for the vegetable you are pickling. Some vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, and artichokes are pickled in straight vinegar with no additional water.

Use fresh whole spices for the
best quality and flavor in pickles.

Salt and spices

Pickling or canning salt should be used, because other salts contain anti-caking materials that may make the brine cloudy. Use white sugar unless the recipe calls for brown sugar. If you plan to use a sugar substitute, follow recipes developed for these products. Use fresh whole spices for the best quality and flavor in pickles. Powdered spices may cause the product to darken and become cloudy.

Processing

Pickled vegetable recipes are developed for pint or ½ pint canning jars. The water bath processing time is determined by the acid level of the vegetable and the pickling solution and the size of jar. Water bath processing times range from 5 minutes to 30 minutes to insure a safe home canned product. Many fresh pack pickles can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks without heat processing. However, discard if you see any signs of spoilage.

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