We want our delicious pickles to last for eternity, so we’re often thinking Do pickles need to be refrigerated? We often ask ourselves this question because we know that when we store food in a refrigerator, it doesn’t go bad soon. So that applies to pickles too? Pickles don’t go bad even if you put them at room temperature for days, so there’s no compulsory need to refrigerate them.
Pickles are sour and salty food found in most kitchens. It’s mostly used as a side food, but some prefer to eat it whole because of its unique flavor. Just like kids don’t want their chocolate or ice cream to end, we adults don’t want our pickles to end; that’s why we like to use it for as long as possible. So let’s get to know more about pickles.
Pickles are available in different flavors, types, and sizes. Even there are several different methods of making pickles using various acid bases. As a result, each pickle comes with its unique flavors and makes your tongue demand more.
Pickles can be bought from supermarkets, or you can also make them at home. Regardless of what pickle you are making, the basic process remains the same.
The basic idea of pickling food is to preserve and increase its food life. The process of pickling can also be used to add acidity to various ingredients, even a whole dish. Other flavors can also be added.
Pickling is also known as fermentation-based preservation process, which usually refers to brining method. Pickled cucumber is the most common pickle in many stores—the base used to make pickles or brine contains an acid like a type of Vinegar. To get a unique flavor, other ingredients are added with the acid.
Ingredients can vary from spices, sweeteners, fresh and dried herbs, sometimes even dried fruits (orange or lemon peel). You can literally pickle any food you see. However, the most common pickles are onion, cucumber, and green olives.
The main ingredient in making a pickle is the pickling liquid. This liquid should be full of flavors and go well with the flavor of other ingredients too. But mainly, its pH level should be lower than 4.6
We can say that Vinegar is the commonly used liquid to make pickling liquid as it has high acidity. Other citrus juices like lemon juice are also used but added to the Vinegar most of the time.
You can use any type of Vinegar and mix different flavors. Only salt is added to the ingredients which have too much moisture. In this case, you’ll be making a pickling brine that has a more salty taste than acidic taste.
Methods of making pickle
There are basically 4 types of methods used to make pickles: quick-pickling, fermented, salt-brined, and vinegar-brined.
As the name suggests, pickles that are made quickly are quick-pickles. They are made at home, usually in small quantities. They are also known as fresh pickles.
A fresh cucumber mixed with different flavors (as per your choice) is placed into a heat-proof and air-tight jar. Then sizzling pickling liquid is poured into the jar and covers all the ingredients. You have the option of heating the ingredients along with pickling liquid, but this will only make the ingredient lose their crispiness.
Salt is used to ferment foods to draw the moisture from ingredients. After these microbes start to multiply as their sugar is present in the liquid, these microbes form lactic acid that helps in lowering the pH and pickles it. The mixture should be left to stand, and during this, microbes produce acid and a yeasty flavor.
As discussed earlier, a salt-brine method is where salt is added to draw out the ingredients’ moisture. This is done to create a pickling base. This also helps the pickling liquid penetrate vegetable or fruit walls and fill the ingredients with flavors.
Ingredients are left to sit in this liquid for hours before rinsing them and placing them in a jar. Only after this vinegar-based liquid is added to the jar, and then the jar is closed tightly.
In this method, extra moisture from the food is taken out by soaking it in a salt brine or vinegar solution, draining it, soaking it, and the same steps go on. This process lets you pack your ingredients with as many flavors as possible and provide a crunchy texture. However, it’s a traditional recipe, so don’t expect your pickle to be made before 9 days.
When you buy pickles from your grocery store, where do you find them in the refrigerator? No, so that means they taste well without refrigerating them. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t store them in the fridge.
If you get confused about whether or not to put them in the fridge, remember where they were placed when you bought them. If you took it out of the fridge in the store, then store it in your fridge at home. If you took it out from a shelf, you could place it on your kitchen shelf without any tension.
You can also look at the package to get a correct idea of where to store it. For example, it is advised to store pickled meats in the fridge, you know, to be safe. However, most pickles can be easily stored at room temperature without even a slight change in their flavors.
The conclusion arises that it is completely your choice to whether or not to store the pickles in the fridge. A quick piece of advice would be if you store pickles in the refrigerator, you will have to eat cold pickles, and when you have sensitive teeth, it’s no good for you.
On the other hand, pickles taste very delicious both at room and cold temperatures. The choice is all yours.