Pickling

Pickling is one of the age old processess used to save bounty from one season into another. Where cannning uses a sterile environment to prevent contamination and to prevent the contents from going bad, pickling is a process where fermentation or brining is used.

From left to right, back to front: pickled okra and onions, habeneros, cucumbers, peppers, cucumbers, ramps, beans and sauerkraut.

From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickling) regarding the history of pickles: "Pickling began 4000 years ago using cucumbers native to India.[citation needed] It is called "achar" in southern India. This was used as a way to preserve food for out-of-season use and for long journeys, especially by sea. Salt pork and salt beef were common staples for sailors before the days of steam engines. Although the process was invented to preserve foods, pickles are also made and eaten because people enjoy the resulting flavors. Pickling may also improve the nutritional value of food by introducing B vitamins produced by bacteria. The term pickle is derived from the Dutch word pekel, meaning brine. In the U.S. and Canada, and sometimes Australia and New Zealand, the word pickle alone almost always refers to a pickled cucumber,[citation needed] except when it is used figuratively."

We freeze some of our summer vegetables to use in the winter. Primarily tomatoes and eggplant, but pickle or brine many others - beans, cucumbers, okra and peppers. The counter tops are covered with all of these great fresh foods and we are eating all we can, but the months will come soon enough when there is little coming out of the garden and fresh vegetables are harder to come by. Opening a jar of "summer" or diving into the freezer for homegrown tomatoes for a stew brings back great memories and gets my mind back in gear about prepping the garden for spring and summer.

We also preserve through fermentation, or pickling, other season produce and this year tried our own sauerkraut using cabbage we grew ourselves. It's just become ready and is delicious - perfect for mid-summer cookouts with dogs or brats.

One of the great things with pickling are the varieties of flavors you can coax out of the vegetables and mostly from other items grown in the garden. Garlic, onions, coriander, hot peppers in non-pepper pickles, thyme or sage - the variety and mixes you can use are really fun to experiment with.

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