Get Ready to Pickle with Hints for Choosing Pickling Jars, Vinegars and More

| 8/2/2016 1:26:00 PM

Tags: food preservation, pickling, supplies, ingredients, vinegars, spices, pots, canning, Texas, Wendy Akin,

As the pickling season approaches, it is very helpful to have everything you’ll need on hand. Sometimes you can pick up ingredients on sale (like cane sugar at Valentine’s Day) or you can order spices you’ll need in bulk, which will save a lot over the little bottles at the grocery.

Vinegar for Pickling

Vinegar used in pickling must be at least 5% acidity, so some homemade vinegars may not have enough strength to properly preserve your food.

Once, back when I was still a teen, I bought cheaper, store-brand vinegar and ruined an entire batch of my watermelon pickles — 2 days’ work. Lesson learned: Never compromise the quality of your ingredients when canning.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is my choice for pickling. It is now commonly available with a “mother,” but I don’t use this for pickling, because it’s cloudy looking and I want my pickling syrup to be sparkling clear. ACV is only available in pint and quart sizes. The half-gallons are actually “apple-cider flavored distilled vinegar.” Not the same thing at all, so don’t be fooled.

White or distilled vinegar is very useful for cleaning, and I do use it to scrub my plant flats, but rarely in pickles. White vinegar can be very harsh and sour-tasting, so even though it’s cheaper than ACV, I don’t use it except for things like jalapenos and “sour” pickles, which aren’t really my forte.

2/19/2018 12:19:34 PM

I don't think I have ever had a white vinegar pickle, as mentioned by Mac. I would love to try them. Is there anyway to get that recipe? Or is it a closely guarded secret?

2/13/2018 12:30:26 PM

I disagree with one thing, that being always using Apple Cider Vinegar. We can sweet pickles, dill pickles and Chow-Chow using my grandmothers recipes and they call for white vinegar so that is what we use. Her recipe makes the best pickles I know of so I have no plans to change how we do it.

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