With National Pickle Day fast approaching (November 14th; now you know!), we caught up with Canadian pickling experts Matt Larochelle and Steve McVicker—purveyors of products like pickled olives, beans, asparagus and even a ready-to-go Caesar in a can via their Matt & Steve brand—to snag their best pickling advice for home picklers:
- You can’t make a good pickle from a bad vegetable; start with quality.
- Vinegar does matter; you will need a minimum 5% acetic acid.
- Safety first. Wear gloves and eye protection. You’re working with boiling liquid at around 212 F and a pH of 2-3, so be careful.
- Most people think salt is for taste, which is true, but it also acts as a natural preservative and firming agent. If you want crunch don’t forget about the salt.
- Have some fun with the flavour; turn up the taste with fresh herbs and spices.
- The long and short of it: time and temperature are important parts of pickling. If you don’t leave your jars in the boiling water long enough you might not kill all the bacteria decreasing your shelf life; however, if you leave it in too long you could overcook and soften your pickling. Every vegetable is a little different but, if you are going to error, error on the side of too long with more heat. Better a softer pickle than a rotten one.
There you have it: top tips for pickle perfection! —Vita Daily