Pickles

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Many vegetables and fruit can be preserved in vinegar with spices. Fruit is usually sweetened as well to produce delicious and unusual pickles to eat with meat, poultry and fish. Use good vegetables and fruit of high quality and remove all blemishes, avoiding any fruit which is soft and slushy. Make up spiced vinegar well ahead of pickling if possible so that it develops a full flavour. If vegetables have to be soaked in brine before further preparation, be sure to allow plenty of time for this as it usually means the pickling process must be spread over two days.
Many vegetable pickles are made by brining raw vegetables, draining them and then packing firmly into jars. The jars are then filled with spiced vinegar and sealed tightly. When a recipe specifies using cooked vegetables, these should be packed into the jars firmly but without pressure which will spoil their shape. The vegetables should stand for an hour and any liquid should be drained off before the vinegar is poured in.
Fruit is normally lightly cooked in the sweetened spiced vinegar before draining and packing in jars. The vinegar syrup then has to be cooked until thickened and then poured over the fruit while hot.
Fruit is normally lightly cooked in the sweetened spiced vinegar before draining and packing in jars. The vinegar syrup then has to be cooked until thickened and then poured over the fruit while hot.
If pickles do not keep well, they have been poorly stored or packed in unclean jars. Under-brining with too little salt can leave too much water in the vegetables which reduces the strength of vinegar and affects its preserving qualities. If pickles ferment, grow mould or show white speckles, they should be thrown away – this may have resulted from weak vinegar, poor brining, or bad fruit or vegetables.

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