Unfermented, Directly Acidified Pickles

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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There are also a host of fruit and vegetable products that are pickled not by fermentation, but by the direct addition of acid in the form of wine or vinegar, which inhibits the growth of spoilage microbes. This ancient technique is much faster than fermentation and allows greater control over texture and salt content, but it produces a simpler flavor. Today, the usual method is to add enough hot vinegar to produce a final acetic acid concentration of around 2.5% (half that of standard vinegar) in such materials as beans, carrots, okra, pumpkin, mushrooms, watermelon rind, pears, and peaches. Nonfermented pickles are usually heat-treated (185°F/85°C for 30 minutes) to prevent spoilage. The simple flavor of directly acidified pickles is often augmented by the addition of spices and/or sugar.