Many see pickling or making pickles as something only older people do. After all, making pickles requires time and patience. However, it has slowly regained its popularity among younger generations.
There are so many ways to prepare your pickles, so why not try to make them at home instead of buying them from the supermarket? It’s less costly, and it surely won’t take much of your time.
According to Science Direct, pickling is the process of preserving edible products in an acid solution, usually vinegar, or in salt solution (brine). The process of pickling is also known as brining, and the resulting products are called pickles.
How to Make Pickles at Home
You may follow these simple steps on how to make dill pickles and discover how pickles are made.
Slicing the Cucumbers
First off, slice the cucumbers as desired. The size will depend on your preference or the size of your jar. Take note that they will be pickled sooner than if you cut them thick when you slice them thinner.
You may want to use Kirby cucumbers as they are firmer, flavorful, and contain lesser seeds than your usual cucumbers.
Preparing Your Jars
Now that your cucumbers are ready, the next step is how to can pickles.
You can make use of a canning pot if it’s available as it’s more convenient than other jars. Otherwise, you can use a stockpot and a cooling rack.
Your stockpot should be taller than your jars, with enough space to fill it with water (at least an inch higher). Once ready, start arranging your jars (without lids) on your colling rack.
Add just enough water to cover the jars at least an inch higher. In high heat, bring the water to a boil, and then turn off the heat.
Leave the jars still submerged until it’s time for you to use them to keep them sanitized.
Making the Brine
So, how to make brine for pickles?
In a saucepan, start by mixing 2 cups of water, 2 cups of white vinegar, and two tablespoons of salt. You may use pickling salt or kosher salt for best results.
If using kosher salt, use one and a half teaspoons in every one teaspoon of pickling salt as a substitute.
Add one tablespoon of sugar to balance the pungent taste of salt and vinegar.
Heat the brine solution on a stove until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Then, pour the brine into your jars of pickles and let it cool for a few minutes.
Removing the Jars From the Pot
You can use a jar lifter to make this more convenient; otherwise, you can use tongs as an alternative. Be careful not to shatter your jars in the process.
You can submerge your tongs in hot water before using them to pick up your jars.
Filling the Jars
Divide your sliced cucumbers among your jars depending on their size. Add the six to eight pieces of fresh dill sprigs or one teaspoon of dill seeds. Next, add one peeled garlic clove, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Repeat this process for every jar.
Feel free to add any combination of spices. Other optional herbs that you might want to explore are whole coriander, caraway, and cumin. If you prefer it a little spicy, you may add some fresh jalapeño.
Once you are done with all your ingredients, it’s time to seal those jars. Label your pickles with the date you made them to will serve as your guide on how long you can store your pickles in the pantry or the refrigerator.
Even though they are made to last, they can still go bad.
Chilling Your Jar Of Pickles
After they have cooled down, you can now put them inside the fridge. The waiting time is the longest in this entire process. For best results, wait around five days to give time for the brine to be flavorful.
The longer you wait, the better the flavor will develop over time and let the pickles mellow.
How Do You Store Pickles and What is The Shelf Life of Pickles
Do pickles go bad? Now that you have them ready for munching, you might wonder how long do pickles last.
Generally, pickles are made to last a long time. Since the process involves vinegar, it creates an environment wherein bacteria cannot foster. The length of time they stay fresh depends on how they were made and how you store them. That’s why it’s a must that you observe proper hygiene while preparing.
For commercial pickles, always check the expiration date printed on the label. You can always extend its life by storing it in a cool and dry place. You can keep them in an additional three to six months provided that it is unopened.
Once pickles are opened, they should be stored inside a refrigerator so you can store them for up to three months.
While homemade pickles don’t have an expiration date, you can keep an unopened homemade pickle for up to a year. Once opened, it can only last for up to three months while you keep it inside a refrigerator.
Homemade pickles should have the date when they were made. How long do pickles last once opened? As a rule of thumb, they can only last for up to three months.
How To Tell If Pickles Are Bad?
Even though pickles have a long shelf life, make it a point to look for signs to identify if your pickles have gone bad. Here are a few things to observe:
1. Unpleasant Smell
As for all food, foul odor means that it has gone bad. It means that your pickles have already undergone the fermentation process, and it is best to throw them right away. Accidentally consuming these might pose risks to your health.
2. Bulging Lids
If the lids for your pickles have already bulged or bubbles have appeared inside your jar, this is already a red flag that your pickles are already bad. Why? When it is spoiled, it produces gases inside the jar, and as an effect, it forces the lid to bulge upward.
3. Change of Color
A good pickle is bright in color. An apparent shift to a dull color means that fungus has already grown. If you can’t tell, you may check if the pickles have turned soft.
How to Fry Pickles
Know, are you wondering what to do with all those pickles you made? You can make it a pleasing dish by frying them. Its flavors and texture are perfectly suitable for frying.
Follow these easy steps on how to make fried pickles and add a personal twist if you like.
In a mixing bowl, start by combining the dry ingredients first. Mix the flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour in some water in your mixture until it achieves that creamy consistency. For added heat, you may add in some hot sauce.
Cut your pickles into thin slices and use a paper towel to pat them dry. This is the most crucial step. A damp pickle will splatter your oil, and your batter will not stick to your sliced pickles.
In a pan, add some oil and start to preheat.
While waiting, coat your pickles with the batter that you made. Once your oil is ready, start deep-frying for two to three minutes until it turns golden brown. Don’t overcrowd your pan to prevent the temperature from dropping. Once done, put them in a cooling rack or strainer to eliminate excess oil.