What Is Brining?
The brining process is part of the pickling process. The brining solution extracts juice and sugar from your food, forming lactic acid, which is the preservative in your pickled food. Your brine solution should completely cover the food you’re pickling, whether it’s for a few hours or longer.
The brining process safely converts your low-acid foods (those with a pH level over 4.6) to high-acid foods (with a pH level of 4.6 or less). This conversion is accomplished with an acid, usually vinegar. Preparation methods for your pickled food include the following:
Long brine: Primarily used for making pickles from cucumbers. The food is submerged in the brine solution, where it ferments (stays in the solution) for anywhere from five days to six weeks. (Your recipe gives you the details.)
After fermenting, make a fresh brine solution for filling your jars.
Short brine: The soaking period for this method is 24 hours or less. Prepare a fresh solution for filling your jars.
Complete precooking: In this method, you cook your food completely before filling your jars.
A fresh (or raw) pack: In this method, fresh raw vegetables are placed in prepared jars and then covered with hot, flavored liquid (usually a spicy vinegar) and processed in your water-bath canner.