Using a method known as brining, almost anyone can pickle a fresh vegetable such as a cucumber. Brining is the process of enhancing certain flavors by marinating edibles in a mixture of salt and water for up to six weeks. Chemical reactions and changes occur during brining that result in the flavor change, and seasonings can further change the flavor of the final product. The level of acetic acid contained in a pickled product also is important and affects safety as well as taste and texture.
Good Pickles Are Firm
When pickling cucumbers, preserving firmness for a crunchy texture is important to produce a good pickle.
Soaking Cucumbers Before Brining
Since the acids released during fermentation can negatively impact texture, cucumbers should be soaked for 12 to 24 hours prior to brining. Soaking them in water mixed with either lime or alum increases firmness.
Soaking cucumbers in mixtures containing either alum or lime produces a dangerous chemical reaction that is absorbed into the skin of the vegetable. As a result, removal of the excess additive (lime or alum) absorbed by the cucumber is necessary after soaking for consumption safety of the pickle.
- "Journal of Food Science"; Firmness Retention of Pickled Peppers As Affected by Calcium Chloride, Acetic Acid, and Pasteurization; Fleming, Thompson, and McFeeters; Volume 58, No. 2, 1993
- Yum Sugar: Brine
- Photo Credit Appetizer. Preserves. Plate of mixed pickles/pickle image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com three cucumbers image by Victor B from Fotolia.com
Should Cucumber Seeds Be Soaked Before Planting?
While large seeds such as beans might split, cucumber seeds generally sprout fine without soaking. However, if you want quick germination, soak...
How to Germinate Cucumber Seeds Overnight
Germinating cucumber seeds indoors for outdoor transplanting typically takes seven to 10 days if people do it correctly. By chitting cucumber seeds...
How to Make Cucumber Salad
Cucumbers make a refreshing salad either diced along with tomatoes and dressed with a vinaigrette or sliced and dressed with a yogurt-mayonnaise...
How to Pickle cucumbers
So you have worked so hard all spring in your garden, weeding, watering, tilling and sweating.... Finally it has payed off and...
How to Pickle Vegetables
Pickling has been a popular way to preserve foods for thousands of years, dating back as early as the third century B.C....
How to Use Alum in Dill Pickles
Old fashioned pickle recipes tend to include alum as a key ingredient. Alum is a chemical compound most commonly found in the...
How to Soak Cucumbers
While it is not always necessary -- especially if you use the freshest, just-picked cucumbers -- soaking your cucumbers before you pickle...
How to Preserve Cucumbers
Cucumbers are warm-season vegetables that grow on vines. Common cucumber varieties are either grown for slicing and eating immediately or for preserving...
How to Make a Pickle Out of a Cucumber
A pickled cucumber, usually known simply as a pickle, is made by soaking a cucumber in a brine or vinegar solution and...