CORVALLIS, Ore. If you're looking forward this summer to bumper crops of not only cucumbers, but also beans, beets, peppers, asparagus or cabbage, you can pickle some of summer's bounty. An 18-page publication, "Pickling Vegetables," from Oregon State University Extension Service tells how.
The publication describes two types of pickles: Brined (fermented) pickles require several weeks of "curing" at room temperature. During this period, colors and flavors change. Acid is produced as lactic acid bacteria grow.
Quick (unfermented) pickles are made in a day or two by adding acid in the form of vinegar. It is critical to add enough vinegar to prevent bacterial growth.
"Microorganisms are always on vegetables," said Carolyn Raab, OSU Extension foods and nutrition specialist. "Home canning prevents growth of those that cause spoilage and illness. When the acidity of a canned food is high, harmful bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum can¹t grow. That¹s why
pickling (adding acid) prevents spoilage."
"Pickling Vegetables" offers information on safe procedures based on U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations. You'll find recipes for several kinds of pickles, sauerkraut and pickled asparagus, dilled beans, three-bean salad, beets, hot peppers, marinated mushrooms and relish. The publication
includes a low temperature pasteurization treatment that may result in better quality pickles.
You can get answers to questions by calling the OSU Extension Service Food safety/preservation Hotline from July 18 to Oct. 13 at 1-800-354-7319, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The hotline is staffed by OSU Extension Master Food Preserver volunteers and OSU Extension staff.
More information on "Pickling Vegetables," PNW 355, is available online.