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Pickling Basics

Savoury preserves, such as pickles, chutneys and relishes, use vinegar alone, or a mix of vinegar and salt (and sometimes sugar) to preserve veges and fruit.

Salt: Acts as a preservative, but is also used as a flavour enhancer and to remove excess water from veges.

Vinegar: This also has a preservative action – or rather acetic acid, its active ingredient, does. When vinegar is the only preserving agent in a recipe, use one that contains at least 5 per cent acetic acid.  This will kill any bacteria in the mixture.

Pickling Spices: Tie whole spices on a muslin bag, so you can remove its once the preserve is cooked.  Buy ready-made spice blends, or make your own by mixing equal quantities of cinnamon stick and mace blades, and whole cloves, all spice and peppercorns.

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