Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600955
The many varieties of pickled and fermented foods are classified by types of ingredients and method of preparation.
Regular dill pickles and sauerkraut are fermented and cured for about 3 weeks. Refrigerator dills are fermented for about 1 week. During curing, colors and flavors change and acidity increases. Fresh-pack or quick-process pickles are not fermented; some are brined several hours or overnight, then drained and covered with vinegar and seasonings. Fruit pickles usually are prepared by heating fruit in a seasoned syrup acidified with either lemon juice or vinegar. Relishes are made from chopped fruits and vegetables that are cooked with seasonings and vinegar.
Be sure to remove and discard a 1/16-inch slice from the blossom end of fresh cucumbers. Blossoms may contain an enzyme which causes excessive softening of pickles. CAUTION: THE LEVEL OF ACIDITY IN A PICKLED PRODUCT IS AS IMPORTANT TO ITS SAFETY AS IT IS TO TASTE AND TEXTURE.
* Do not alter vinegar, food or water proportions in a recipe or use a vinegar with unknown acidity. * Use only recipes with tested proportions of ingredients. * There must be a minimum, uniform level of acid throughout the mixed product to prevent the growth of botulinum bacteria.