How do you pickle vegetables?
With a bountiful harvest, one can only eat so many vegetables before the lot starts to rot. You try to give some away, and the neighbor already has vegetables from his garden or was given some by his cousins/friends garden.
There is always the option of pickling your vegetables.
Pickling is the process of preserving food by immersion in a saltwater brine or vinegar solution for the purpose of eating at a later time. Many things can be pickled. For instance, meats, fruits, eggs, and your boatload of vegetables.
The pH of the pickling solution must be lower than 4.6 which is necessary to kill the majority of bacteria. Also, natural antimicrobial ingredients can be added like garlic, cloves, or cinnamon. This process allows natural fermentation to occur when stored at room temperature. Lactic acid bacteria preserve the food by producing and maintaining the required acidity level, allowing food to be stored for months. These food-preserving bacteria are beneficial to humans. They help us by producing several B vitamins and the digestion of our food.
It's easy to preserve your surplus cucumbers or any other vegetables with this basic recipe.
You will need the following:
- 21-quart canner with a jar rack
- 6-16 Ounce Canning or Mason Jars
- Jar lifter
- Magnetic lid lifter.
- 6 Cups of Vinegar
- 2 Cups of Water
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- Assorted Pickling Herbs and Spices (peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, dill, etc.), optional.
- Three to four pounds of vegetables such as beets, cucumbers, carrots, asparagus, onions, peppers, green beans, etc.
- Gently wash your glass jars and lids with hot soapy water, rinse and drain. They will not need to be dried.
2. Inspect your jars for any cracks or imperfections that could lead to breakage during the canning process.
3. Place the jars carefully into the canner onto a rack inside that is designed to keep the jars from touching the bottom. A folded dishcloth can be used if you do not have one.
4. Fill the jars 3/4 of the way with water.
5. Then fill the canning pot with water to the same level as what is in the jars.
6. Next, cover the pot and let it simmer for a minimum of 10 minutes. The goal is to achieve at least 180 degrees F to sterilize everything.
7. In a medium saucepan submerge all of your lids in water and simmer as above. You can set aside the screw bands as they do not need to be sterilized.
8. In a separate large pot, add the vinegar and water. Peel the garlic cloves and coarsely chop and crush; add them to the pot to infuse with flavor. Bring to a boil.
It is important to keep your jars and lids hot as you add contents so the jars won't get damaged during the addition of the hot liquids and this will help to keep things sterile. Therefore, vegetables should be precut before step 9.
9. Remove your jars from the canner using a jar lifter and pour the water back into the canner and place the jars on a clean towel to dry.
10. Add various cut up vegetables to the jars and distribute them evenly. Other herbs and spices of your choice can also be added at this time. Lightly pack down the vegetables until they are about 1/2 inch from the rim.
12. Using a jar funnel, pour in the vinegar and water solution completely covering the vegetables.
13. Now add your lids using the magnetic tool making sure to not touch the underside. Gently snug them into place with the screw bands, do not overtighten.
14. Gently, place the jars back into the canner and fill with water to about an inch over the tops of the jars. Boil for ten minutes.
15. Using the jar lifter, remove the jars and place them on a towel next to each other but not touching. Place another towel over the top of the jars for insulation to slow down the cooling process. This helps to keep things stable. Do not move or touch them for 24 hours.
16. After they have rested, you can test the seal by removing the screw band from the jar and holding it by the lid only. The seal should remain intact if everything went right.
Store at room temperature.
Pickling your surplus vegetables can be a great way to extend the harvest you worked so hard for all year long. Later, they can be enjoyed right out of the jar or the contents can be added to your favorite dishes or salads to give them a robust and memorable flavor.
To your health and prosperity!
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