Pickling is a handy skill to have, especially when SHTF – and you don't need expensive equipment or a large work area to start pickling. Pickling can easily extend the shelf life of many perishable food items like fruits or vegetables. (h/t to ApartmentPrepper.com.)
Pickling, one of the oldest methods of food preservation, involves submerging your food of choice in either a salt or vinegar brine to keep it from spoiling.
Here are some of the many benefits of pickling your own food:
Consuming pickled foods regularly is good for your overall well-being.
It's a cost-effective way of preserving food.
Pickling food helps prevent bad bacteria from growing.
You can pickle the same food in different ways.
Brine and vinegar pickling
Controlled fermentation is encouraged in brine pickling, like when you make kimchi or sauerkraut. This allows beneficial bacteria to grow in the mixture and crowd out any bad bacteria that can make the food spoil. With brine pickling, you may notice that the flavor, look, and texture of the food changes. (Related: How to quickly pickle a variety of veggies.)
When you use vinegar to make pickles, its high acidity prevents most bacteria from growing in the food. Food pickled in vinegar remains preserved as long as it is submerged in the solution.
Kosher pickles are cucumbers preserved in a vinegar solution. Meanwhile, most dill pickles are preserved in brine. Dill pickles may include vinegar, but it is preserved in a mixture that includes dill and other pickling spices and salt.
Seven unusual foods to pickle
Did you know that you can also pickle fruit? Fresh fruits ripen quickly and pickling is a good way to preserve excess fruit. Additionally, natural sugars in fruits perfectly complement the salty and sour components that are introduced by the pickling process. Pickled fruits can also be added to salads and cheese plates.
Here are seven unique foods that you can pickle, with a recipe included below for quick-pickled apples.
Pickled fruits pair well with rich foods. When making this recipe for quick-pickled apples, you can use maple syrup instead of sugar to enhance the flavor of the final product. Take note that the apple slices will fade with time, but you can experiment with a redder-skinned apple.
The recipe below produces a pint of quick-pickled apples.
Combine the maple syrup, vinegar, water, kosher salt, and pickling spice in a small or medium saucepan. Bring the brine to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the saucepan then let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Spoon out a small amount of the brine, then let it cool a bit before tasting. To make a sweeter pickle, add more maple syrup, one tablespoon at a time.
After you reduce the heat on the brine, wash and core the apples. You can use unpeeled apples, but you can also peel them if you want to. Cut the apples in half, pole to pole, then cut each half into 1/8th-inch slices.
Put the apple slices in a quart glass measure or similar-sized bowl. Add the star anise pods to the bowl.
Place a strainer over the bowl, then add the brine to the apple slices. Cover the bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
To keep the apples from floating, use the strainer to keep them submerged in the brine. Do this by covering the strainer and glass measure tightly with plastic wrap.
When the apples are room temperature, store them in a pint glass jar. Layer the apple slices evenly around the perimeter. Add the star anise pods to the space left in the middle of the apples.
Fill the jar with brine, then discard the leftover mixture. Cover and refrigerate the apples. The quick-pickled apples will last for about one week in the fridge.
Serve quick-pickled apples with a serving of pork or a pulled pork sandwich. The apples can also be eaten on their own as a snack.
Learn how to pickle other foods and discover more food preparation methods at FoodSupply.news.