Fermented foods are known since ancient times.
They have important health benefits and the art of pickling involves preserving foods in acid.
There are two methods of preservation.
The Brine Pickling Method
This method of preservation was used before the invention of refrigerator. This traditionally method required only salt in order vegetables to produce their own acids. When vegetables are immersed in a brine of 15%-20% salt, they will react with lactic acid bacteria. After this chemical reaction, vegetables become smooth-puckering flavour and that will help them last for weeks with no modification.
The fermented foods contain the friendly bacteria: probiotic. Probiotic is associated to a better digestion and reduction of gastrointestinal tract inflammation. Those people who consume regularly fermented foods are less susceptible to bacterial infections. Because cooking will kill the good bacteria, you should consume probiotic foods row.
The Vinegar Pickling Method
Vinegar pickling method is the most used method to preserve foods in acids. The vegetables are immersed in a vinegar solution.
This way, the growth of pathogenic microbes is inhibited. Foods preserved in vinegar are not probiotic, but they provide health benefits when eaten in moderation. The foods preserved in vinegar might improve obesity and hypertension.
Before you buy your vinegar, read the label, choose an all-natural source as wine, cider or fermented fruits juice. Do not opt for vinegar with synthetic ethanol.
Sauerkraut: Shredded cabbage fermented in brine is a perfect source of C vitamin, and iron. When you go to the store, you should look for label with probiotic word on it.
Cucumber pickles: You can found fermented brine pickles at health food stores.
They are good sources of fibre and they are a good source of probiotic too.
How to Pickle Yourself
If you never did a pickling, it will be a good idea to start with a recipe that uses vinegar. This method does not require skill and produce the result is more consistent. You can pickle any vegetable you want.
Sliced Pickled Red Peppers
2-3 kg red peppers
250ml wine vinegar
½ l water
2-3 tablespoon sugar
10 grains pepper
1-2 bay leaves
One-tablespoon salt, cloves and all spice.
Wash the peppers, and then cut them an inch wide slice. Put them in a bowl; pour over the oil and mix. Separately boil the vinegar, water and the honey, the sugar pepper and the bay leaves; to this add the salt, cloves and all spice. Boil it, the cover your red peppers and stir. Let all cool, and after that place your peppers in jars, cover the top with oil, and seal.