Pickling, as food preservation, has been around for ages. Pickling basically is covering food in either vinegar or a salt brine to keep food from spoiling.
It’s a method to reduce bad bacteria from growing in our food. When preserved in vinegar, the acidity of the vinegar prevents most bacteria from growing thereby preserving the food as long as it’s covered in vinegar.
Some foods you might thing of a pickled, (as they’re sour) are sauerkraut and kimchi but they’re actually brine pickled. Making those allows for beneficial bacteria to grow which keeps the bad bacteria out.
What about cheese? Well cheese is really just fermented milk.
Fermented foods are a great addition to any diet as they’re touted to be healthy and as a way to improve your own gut health which aids your own immune system. They’re also boone in a preparedness household as they don’t require refrigeration.
Pickling doesn’t have to be the same all the time. That’s why you find different varieties of pickles on the grocery shelves. Kosher are typically in vinegar and dill are often brined.
Did your Mother or Grandmother ever make their own sauerkraut? Have you? Knowing how to pickle and brine is a great skill to have. As long as you have vinegar or salt you can ferment/pickle and preserve your harvest.
Recipe for Brined Vegetables
Slice the cabbage into 2-inch-wide strips. Salt the cabbage and put into a large bowl with salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage until soft then add enough water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy (a can of beans works) so that cabbage stays submerged. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.
Rinse and drain the cabbage: Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes.
Combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and seafood flavor (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru to taste – more equals spicier.
Squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage. Add it to a large bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste. Mix everything together until completely coated.
Add the mixture into the jars packing it tightly until the brine rises to cover the vegetables Leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Seal the jar with the lid.
Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1 to 5 days to ferment. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.
Check the kimchi once a day. Make sure the vegetables stay submerged under the brine. Check it daily for flavor and refrigerate when ready. You may eat it right away, but it's best after another week or two. Makes 1 quart