Canning & Preserving For Dummies
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Pickling preserves food in a brine solution. The perfect balance of salt, vinegar, water, and herbs and spices can safely preserve your pickled food. You can achieve this balance by precisely measuring your pickling ingredients:

  • Salt: Used as a preservative. It adds flavor and crispness to your food, especially pickles. Use a pure, additive-free, granulated salt. Acceptable salts (shown in this figure) are pickling and canning salt (a fine-grained salt containing no additives), most kosher salt, and sea salt (produced from evaporated seawater).

    Salts not suitable for brining and pickling solutions are table salt and iodized salt, rock salt, and salt substitutes.

  • Vinegar: A tart liquid that prevents the growth of bacteria. Always use a vinegar with an acidity level of 5 percent. The preferred vinegar for pickling is distilled white vinegar, which has a sharp, tart flavor. Use apple cider vinegar for a milder flavor.

  • Water: Soft water is the best water for your brine solution. Distilled water, water with all minerals and other impurities removed, is also a good choice.

    If you use tap water, make sure it’s of drinking quality; if it doesn’t taste good to you, it won’t taste better in your food. Also, avoid using sparkling water.

  • Herbs and spices: Use the exact amount of herbs or spices called for in your recipe.

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