It’s also great to stock your fridge and pantry with delicious, nutritious foods all year long without breaking the bank.
But preserving those fresh and wholesome fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other crops so you can eat them later – or share them with friends – is also an important part of the process.
Fortunately, preserving food is easy and relatively cheap compared to buying produce from the case from the grocery store. When done right, home preservation methods not only extend the life of your harvest for months but also lock in nutrition and flavor so that you can enjoy your favorite foods any time you want.
Benefits of Food Preservation
If you are looking for reasons to start preserving your own food, you will quickly find many benefits to doing so. Some of the most common benefits include:
- Support Local Farmers – when you pickle your own produce, you support the local farmers by purchasing their ripe and fresh produce. This can also extend to buying from local beekeepers/ honey farmers/ or livestock farmers!
- Save money – if you buy your produce from the grocery store, you will find it extremely expensive. Produce picked and sold at the farmers’ market or, even better, grown on your own field is often much cheaper than produce bought at the grocery store.
- Eat Healthy and Nutritious Food – By preserving your own produce, you can be sure that you are buying fresh produce that will last a long time. Many fresh foods found in grocery stores have been sitting around for days or even weeks; you can reduce your risk of food-borne illnesses by buying produce that has been preserved.
What Does It Mean To Pickle Food?
The term ‘pickle’ is primarily used to refer to a food that has been preserved in a salty or acidic liquid, like a pickled cucumber or green bell pepper.
The liquid is called a “pickling brine” and is often vinegar-based. The pickling process involves soaking vegetables in salty or acidic water. The vinegar prevents the vegetables from spoiling and going bad, while the salt adds flavor.
Many different pickling types include fermentation, brine, quick, and fresh pickling. The most common types of pickling are brine pickling and quick pickling.
Brine pickling uses vinegar and salt solution to keep your food from going bad. While quick pickling is a non-fermented pickle that is ready to eat after a short period in the fridge.
Pick Your Food To Pickle
When you are ready to pickle your foods, the first thing that you will want to do is to clean them. If you are pickling fruits or vegetables, you will want to make sure that they are free of any dirt or debris.
Vegetables: vegetables are a great food to pickle because they are easy to find, and there are a lot of different kinds to choose from. Some examples of good vegetables for pickling include:
- green beans
Fruits: there are a lot of different fruits that you can pickle, and many of them have different flavors and consistency, so it’s a great way to mix things up.
Examples of fruits that make good pickles are:
Meat: there are many types of meat that make great pickles, but they must be canned with a pressure canner.
Pickling Food Preservation Examples: Brine Pickling, Quick Pickling
As mentioned above, there are two main ways to pickle your own food. Brine pickling and quick pickling. However, if you have a lot of food to pickle, consider using a fermentation method to get everything done simultaneously.
Brine pickling: this is the most common type of pickling. It’s also an easy and fast method of food preservation.
The liquid used to preserve fruits and veggies is pickle brine. It’s produced using a combination of water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. There might be some extra flavorings and functional elements, but these four are the main components of a basic recipe.
To make it:
- Bring together two cups of water, two cups of vinegar, one tablespoon of sugar, and three tablespoons of salt. Add any spices if you like.
- Heat it to boiling point over medium-high heat and make sure all the sugar and salt has dissolved.
- Put the vegetables into a jar and add a few cloves of garlic and fresh dill if desired.
- Pour the warm brine over the top, leaving about half an inch of space at the top.
- Seal up the jars and keep them in the refrigerator. Your pickles will be ready to enjoy in no time (24 – 48 hours, to be exact)!
Quick pickling: this method is ideal for those who want to eat their pickles right away. It takes less time than brine pickling; however, the process is almost the same.
Quick pickles are also frequently referred to as fridge pickles.
These are just vegetables that are submerged in a combination of vinegar, water, and salt (sometimes sugar) and placed in the refrigerator. Quick pickles don’t acquire the intense flavor that pickles produced through fermentation do, but they only take several hours in the brine before they are ready to be consumed.
When refrigerated, there is no need to can the quick pickles.
Pickled Apples – What to Do After Picking Them?
As mentioned before, some pickling food preservation examples, including apples, are a great way to save money and support local farmers at the same time. It’s also a fantastic way to stock your pantry with healthy and affordable produce all year long.
But perhaps the best reason to pickle your own apples is that you can preserve A LOT of food! For many families and friends, vacationing and picnicking in the local orchard is always a fun day spent together.
Apple picking is an activity that many people enjoy as it allows them to stock up on apples all at once and have them last for months afterward.
The problem is that apples don’t keep well in storage; they rot quickly if they aren’t stored correctly.
So, why don’t you pickle your apples for preservation?
- Put water, the vinegar of your selection (in this case, apple cider vinegar), salt, and sugar into a pan and bring to a boil.
- Pour the hot liquid into the pickling jar and make sure the apples are submerged, then close the lid firmly and let it cool down until it is at room temperature.
- Store the jar in the refrigerator to quickly pickle the apples.
- If you want to serve it fast, let the apples stay in the brine for a minimum of two hours.
- For better results, letting them soak in the mixture for 24-48 hours is recommended. The refrigerated pickled apples can last up to one month so long as they remain in the vinegar water.
Many people who grow their own food (or buy from a farm stand) find that they don’t have enough time or storage space to preserve the excess.
Thus, they end up throwing away a lot of that delicious fruit and veggies. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this massive waste of food and money without freezing, canning, fermenting, or storing everything in the fridge.
That’s where pickling comes in handy. Picking your own food is a great way to reduce your grocery bill, support local farms, and get the freshest produce possible.