Pickled cucumbers are the main winter snack for a festive or everyday table. There are many recipes for making crispy treats, you can choose any. We’ve put together a few tips that apply to any recipe. Follow them, and your preparations will become even tastier.
Good fruits for pickling
The first thing to start the process of pickling cucumbers is the choice of fruits. Someone prefers small vegetables or varieties. Larger vegetables are suitable for use in salads and soups.
The main thing is that the cucumber should be as fresh and strong as possible. Gherkins are not hollow inside, but large varieties must be chosen carefully, otherwise, in winter you will get a soft and empty fruit inside.
Before salting washed cucumbers, it is recommended to soak them in water for several hours – this will allow the fruits to be saturated with water and be more crispy.
Mankind has been eating cucumbers for about four and a half thousand years, they were eaten in Mesopotamia. For the first time, fruits began to be grown in India in the third millennium BC. Then people began to salt them, later the Romans added vinegar, which indicates the first pickling.
Utensils for pickling cucumbers
In industrial production, cucumbers are salted in huge barrels, in which the fruits are aged until the desired taste is obtained. In the old days in the villages they also salted a green pimply vegetable in wooden barrels – the families were large, they needed a lot of food.
Now housewives are approaching the choice of dishes, based on their capabilities. As a rule, glass liter and three-liter jars with metal or polyethylene lids are used, popularly called nylon. This will require experience and skill. Some can’t handle the machine that attaches the metal lid to the jar, others don’t use plastic lids at all.
Preparing jars and lids
One of the important steps is the sterilization of jars and lids. It is best to wash glass jars with mustard powder or soda ash: they are safe and easy enough to wash off dishes.
For sterilization, you will need a pot of water and a special stand with a hole for the neck of the jar, it is sold at any hardware store.
The water in the pan must be brought to a boil, place a stand on top and place a jar in its hole. Evaporating water will fill the container and treat it from germs. Sterilize each jar for at least 3 minutes. The lids with which the jars will be closed must also be placed in boiling water for several minutes.
The most suitable salt
Salt is different, but not everyone is suitable for good salting. Iodized, for example, does not salt vegetables evenly, and the iodine with which it is saturated adds a specific flavor to pickles. Fine salt, similar in grain size to sugar, is also not suitable for salting vegetables.
Most housewives choose coarse rock or sea salt. It does not look so pretty, but the taste of cucumbers in winter will pleasantly surprise you.
Herbs and spices in the recipe
In classic recipes for pickling and canning cucumbers, the main ingredients are salt and water. However, each hostess has her own “secret additive”, which enriches the taste of pickles and makes them unforgettable.
We offer a selection of the most popular herbs and spices with a description of the taste and aroma that they give to vegetables when you get them out of the jar on a winter evening:
- Dill is one of the most popular spices for salting and canning. It is he who gives the spicy and fragrant taste of pickles.
- Garlic is a natural flavor enhancer that stimulates the appetite. It should be remembered that it can make cucumbers softer, so you should not get carried away too much.
- Horseradish is present in most recipes for salted vegetables, it enriches the flavor, makes the cucumbers more crispy.
- Bay leaf is the most popular seasoning in the post-Soviet space, which gives the fruits a characteristic astringency and aroma.
- Cherry and currant leaves add a slight sweetness and sourness to the taste and smell of ready-made pickles.
- Due to its pronounced pungent odor, cloves are mainly used in pickling. If one or a couple of inflorescences are added to a jar of pickles, this will reveal the taste of vegetables and give them an interesting aroma.
- Coriander ends up in a jar for lovers of the spicy, sweet taste of pickles.
- Mustard seeds add sharpness to the flavor, as well as a bit of spiciness.
- Parsley is used both fresh and dried, it gives strength to the aroma of the finished dish.
After you have chosen a recipe, prepared cucumbers, containers, selected lids, laid out vegetables, and tightly closed the jars, you need to make sure that the lid fits as tightly as possible to the neck and does not let air through, otherwise the cucumbers will begin to “roam”. After some time, the lid will fly off from the jar with characteristic cotton, and the house will be filled with the aroma of sour cucumbers.
It is easy to make sure that the fit is tight: you need to turn the jar of cucumbers over for a few minutes and check if the brine is leaking from somewhere if there are any air bubbles entering the jar. After that, experienced housewives who annually harvest pickles for the winter recommend wrapping the jars in a blanket and letting them stand for at least a day. This will allow the cucumbers to soak in the brine as quickly and evenly as possible.
Pickling cucumbers in a cold way
To make a delicious snack for the winter, you do not always need to prepare for a long time, boil brine and jars. There is a simple recipe – a cold way to pickle cucumbers for the winter.