Vinegar for pickling

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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By Deb Botzek-Linn,

U of M Extension

The tang of vinegar gives pickled foods flavor and acts as a preservative. To insure a safe quality pickled product, pickle with distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar of 5-percent acidity.

Be sure to read the vinegar bottle label when purchasing vinegar for pickling. There are 4 percent and even 3 percent acetic acid vinegars on the market shelves bottled similar to 5 percent vinegar. This is not a high enough acid content to produce safe pickled cucumbers, asparagus, green beans or other low-acid vegetable products.

Most recipes call for distilled white vinegar. It has a mellow aroma, tart acid flavor, and does not affect the color of the light-colored vegetables or fruits.

Cider vinegar made from fermented apple juice is a good choice for many pickles. It has a mellow, fruit flavor that blends well with spices. However, it will darken most vegetables and fruits.

Do not use wine vinegars or other flavored vinegars when you make pickles unless you are sure of their acetic acid content.

When you make pickles, do not dilute the vinegar unless the recipe specifically directs you to add water to a 5-percent strength vinegar.

Vegetables from asparagus to zucchini can be home preserved by pickling. The key for a quality pickled product is to select a recipe that is specifically designed for the vegetable you are pickling and pickle with 5-percent acetic acid vinegar.