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Title: Pickling  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of pickled foods, Tursu, List of smoked foods, Pickles, Piccalilli
Collection: Cooking Techniques, Culinary Terms, Food Preservation, Pickles, World Cuisine
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Pickled cucumbers
Pickled herring
Pickled mushrooms
Pickled Olives
Pickled vegetables

Pickling is the process of anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. The resulting food is called a pickle, or to prevent ambiguity, prefaced with the adjective pickled. The pickling procedure will typically affect the food's texture and flavor. In East Asia, vinaigrette (vegetable oil and vinegar) is used as the pickling medium.[1]

Another distinguishing characteristic is a

  • [3] Pickling mushrooms
  • Fermented Fruits and Vegetables. A Global Perspective. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
  • National Center for Home Food Preservation: How do I...Pickle
  • Pickles (BBC)
  • [4] British Journal of Cancer Review of Research involving cancer risk from pickled vegetable consumption

External links

  1. ^ Chou, Lillian. "Chinese and Other Asian Pickles". Flavor and Fortune (Fall 2003 Volume). Institute for the Advancement of the Science And Art Of Chinese Cuisine. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Minnesota Department of Agriculture "Pickle Bill" Fact Sheet
  3. ^ Antimicrobial Effects of Mustard Flour and Acetic Acid
  4. ^ a b McGee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York: Scribner, pp. 291–296. ISBN 0-684-80001-2.
  5. ^ Science of Pickles: Fascinating Pickle Facts
  6. ^ Zeldes, Leah A. (2009-12-02). "Eat this! Southern-fried dill pickles, a rising trend". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  7. ^ Pickled Pigs Feet Recipe
  8. ^
  9. ^ Brain damage from alum used in pickling
  10. ^ "All Pickle Types". Retrieved 2015-01-22. 
  11. ^ "Naturally Fermented Dill Pickles". Mark's daily apple. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Islami, F (2009). "Pickled vegetables and the risk of oesophageal cancer: a meta-analysis". British Journal of Cancer 101: 1641–1647.  
  13. ^ Li MH, Ji C, Cheng SJ (1986) Occurrence of nitroso compounds in fungi-contaminated foods: a review. Nutr Cancer 8: 63–69
  14. ^ Liu, J. G.; Li, M. H. (1989). "Roussin red methyl ester, a tumor promoter isolated from pickled vegetables". Carcinogenesis 10 (3): 617–620.  


Further information

Some common fungi can facilitate the formation of N-nitroso compounds, which are strong oesophageal carcinogens in several animal models.[13] Roussin red methyl ester,[14] a non-alkylating nitroso compound with tumour-promoting effect in vitro, was identified in pickles from Linxian in much higher concentrations than in samples from low-incidence areas. Fumonisin mycotoxins have been shown to cause liver and kidney tumours in rodents.[12]

The carcinogen, and the British Journal of Cancer released an online 2009 meta-analysis of research on pickles as increasing the risks of esophageal cancer. The report cites a potential two-fold increased risk of oesophageal cancer associated with Asian pickled vegetable consumption. Results from the research are described as having "high heterogeneity" and the study said that further well-designed prospective studies were warranted.[12]

Possible health hazards of pickled vegetables

Traditionally manufactured pickles are source of healthy probiotic microbes, which occur by natural fermentation in brine, but pickles produced using vinegar are not probiotic.[11]

Health benefits

"Refrigerator pickles" are unfermented pickles made by marinating fruit or vegetables in a seasoned vinegar solution. They must be stored under refrigeration or undergo canning to achieve long-term storage.[10]

Alum was once used as a preservative in pickling and is still approved as a food additive by the U.S.A. Food and Drug Administration, but alum in repeated small doses may cause brain damage.[9]

In commercial pickling, a preservative like sodium benzoate or EDTA may also be added to enhance shelf life. In fermentation pickling, the food itself produces the preservation agent, typically by a process involving Lactobacillus bacteria that produce lactic acid as the preservative agent.

The food can be pre-soaked in brine before transferring to vinegar. This reduces the water content of the food which would otherwise dilute the vinegar. This method is particularly useful for fruit and vegetables with a high natural water content.

In chemical pickling, the jar and lid are first boiled in order to sterilize them. The fruits or vegetables to be pickled are then added to the jar along with brine, vinegar, or both, as well as spices, and are then allowed to ferment until the desired taste is obtained.

Vase by Bát Tràng porcelain for pickling

The pickling process

In the Mesoamerican region pickling is known as "encurtido" or "curtido" for short. The pickles or "curtidos" as known in Latin America are served cold, as an appetizer, as a side dish or as a tapas dish in Spain. In several Central American countries it is prepared with cabbage, onions, carrots, lemon, vinegar, oregano, and salt. In Mexico, "curtido" consists of carrots, onions, and jalapeño peppers and used to accompany meals still common in taquerias and restaurants. In order to prepare a carrot "curtido" simply add carrots to vinegar and other ingredients that are common to the region such as chilli, tomato, and onions. Varies depending on the food, in the case of sour. Another example of a type of pickling which involves the pickling of meats or seafood is the "escabeche" or "ceviches" popular in Peru, Ecuador, and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. These dishes include the pickling of pig's feet, pig's ears, and gizzards prepared as an "escabeche" with spices and seasonings to flavor it. The ceviches consists of shrimp, octopus, and various fishes seasoned and served cold.

Mexico, Central America, and South America

In the United States, National Pickle Day is a popular food holiday every year on November 14.[8]

Giardiniera, a mixture of pickled peppers, celery and olives, is a popular condiment in Chicago and other cities with large Italian-American populations, and is often consumed with Italian beef sandwiches. Pickled eggs are common in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Pickled herring is available in the Upper Midwest. Pennsylvania Dutch Country has a strong tradition of pickled foods, including chow-chow and red beet eggs. In the Southern United States, pickled okra and watermelon rind are popular, as are deep-fried pickles and pickled pig's feet, pickled chicken eggs, pickled quail eggs, pickled Garden vegetables and pickled sausage.[6][7] In Mexico, chili peppers, particularly of the Jalapeño and serrano varieties, pickled with onions, carrots and herbs form common condiments. Various pickled vegetables, fish, or eggs may make a side dish to a Canadian lunch or dinner.

Canadian pickling is similar to that of Britain. Through the winter, pickling is an important method of food preservation. Pickled cucumbers, onions, and eggs are very popular. Chow Chow is a tart vegetable mix popular in the Maritime Provinces, similar to picalily. Pickled fish is very popular, as in Scotland. Meat is often also pickled or preserved in different brines throughout the winter, most prominently in the harsh climate of Newfoundland.

In the United States and Canada, pickled cucumbers (most often referred to simply as "pickles" in Canada and the United States), olives, and sauerkraut are most popular, although pickles popular in other nations are also available.

A dish of giardiniera

United States and Canada

Pickled herring, rollmops, and salmon are popular in Scandinavia. Pickled cucumbers and red garden beets are important as condiments for several traditional dishes. Pickled capers are also common in Scandinavian cuisine.

In Britain, pickled onions and pickled eggs are often sold in pubs and fish and chip shops. Pickled beetroot, walnuts, and gherkins, and condiments such as Branston Pickle and piccalilli are typically eaten as an accompaniment to pork pies and cold meats, sandwiches or a ploughman's lunch. Other popular pickles in the UK are pickled mussels, cockles, red cabbage, mango chutney, sauerkraut, and olives. Rollmops are also quite widely available under a range of names from various producers both within and without the UK.

Northern Europe

In Greece, pickles, called τουρσί(α), are made out of carrots, celery, eggplants stuffed with diced carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, and peppers.

Turkish pickles, called turşu, are made out of vegetables, roots, and fruits such as peppers, cucumber, Armenian cucumber, cabbage, tomato, eggplant (aubergine), carrot, turnip, beetroot, green almond, baby watermelon, baby cantaloupe, garlic, cauliflower, bean and green plum. A mixture of spices flavor the pickles.

In Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia and Turkey, mixed pickles, known as turshi or turshu form popular appetizers, which are typically eaten with rakia. Pickled green tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, peppers, eggplants, and sauerkraut are also popular.

An Italian pickled vegetable dish is giardiniera, which includes onions, carrots, celery and cauliflower. Many places in southern Italy, particularly in Sicily, pickle eggplants and hot peppers.

Southern Europe

Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian pickled items include beets, mushrooms, tomatoes, sauerkraut, cucumbers, ramsons, garlic, eggplant (which is typically stuffed with julienned carrots), custard squash, and watermelon. In these countries countries garden produce is commonly pickled using salt, dill, blackcurrant leaves, bay leaves and garlic and is stored in a cool, dark place.

Polish and Czech traditional pickles are cucumbers and sauerkraut, but other pickled fruits and vegetables, including plums, pumpkins and mushrooms are also common.

Romanian pickles (murături) are made out of beetroot, cucumbers, green tomatoes (gogonele), carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, melons, mushrooms, turnips, celery and cauliflower. Meat, like pork, can also be preserved in salt and lard.

Pickled tomatoes are common in CIS

In Hungary the main meal (lunch) usually goes with some kind of pickles (savanyúság) but they are commonly consumed at other times of the day too. The most commonly consumed pickles are sauerkraut (savanyú káposzta), the different kinds of pickled cucumbers and peppers and csalamádé but tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, baby corn, onions, garlic, certain squashes and melons and a few fruits like plums and apples are used to make pickles too. Stuffed pickles are specialties usually made of peppers or melons pickled after being stuffed with a cabbage filling. Pickled plum stuffed with garlic is a unique Hungarian type of pickle just like csalamádé and leavened cucumber (kovászos uborka). Csalamádé a type of mixed pickle made of cabbage, cucumber, paprika, onion, carrot, tomatoes and bay leaf mixed up with vinegar as the fermenting agent. Leavened cucumber, not like other types of pickled cucumbers that are around all year long, is rather a seasonal pickle produced and sold on the summer only since it is fermented with the cucumbers and slices of bread put in a glass of salt water and kept in direct sunlight for a few days. Its juice can be used to make a special type of spritzer ('Újházy fröccs') instead of carbonated water. It is common for Hungarian households to produce their own pickles. Different regions or towns have their special recipes unique to them. Among them all the Vecsési Sauerkraut (Vecsési savanyú káposzta) is the most famous. Repopulated by Bavarian settlers after the Ottoman rule, Vecsés has built up centuries of tradition producing sauerkraut so the city's name is associated with it. It is widely sold at the Great Market Hall of Budapest and considered a tourist attraction too together with the Market Hall itself and other unique Hungarian products sold there just like tokaji, Winter salami, paprika, embroidery etc.

Coriander seeds are one of the spices popularly added to pickled vegetables in Europe.

Central and Eastern Europe


In Iran, Turkey, Arab countries, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, pickles (called torshi in Persian, turşu in Turkish language and mekhallel in Arabic) are commonly made from turnips, peppers, carrots, green olives, cucumbers, cabbage, green tomatoes, lemons, and cauliflower.

Torshi, traditional pickles in Southeast Europe, Western Asia and the Caucasus

Western Asia

The Korean staple kimchi is usually made from pickled napa cabbage and radish, but is also made from green onions, garlic stems, chives and a host of other vegetables. Kimchi is popular throughout East Asia. Jangajji is another example of pickled vegetables.

Japanese tsukemono (pickled foods) include takuan (daikon), umeboshi (ume plum), gari & beni shoga (ginger), turnip, cucumber, and Chinese cabbage.

China is home to a huge variety of pickled vegetables, including radish, baicai (Chinese cabbage, notably suan cai, la bai cai, pao cai, and Tianjin preserved vegetable), zha cai, chili pepper, and cucumbers, among many others.

East Asia

Kimchi is a very common side dish in Korea.

In Vietnam, vegetable pickles are called dưa muối ("salted vegetables") or dưa chua ("sour vegetables"). In Burma, tea leaves are pickled to produce lahpet, which has strong social and cultural importance.

In the Philippines, achara is primarily made out of green papaya, carrots, and shallots, with cloves of garlic and vinegar. Other versions could include ginger, bell peppers, daikon, cucumbers or bamboo shoots. Separately, in some provinces, unripe mangoes or burong mangga, unripe tomatoes, green apple guavas, jicama turnips, bitter gourd and other fruit and vegetables are also pickled. Siling labuyo, sometimes with garlic and red onions, are also pickled in bottled vinegar. The spiced vinegar itself is a staple condiment in Filipino cuisine.

Singapore, Indonesian and Malaysian pickles, called acar, are typically made out of cucumber, carrot, bird's eye chilies, and shallots, these items being seasoned with vinegar, sugar and salt. Fruits, such as papaya and pineapple, are also sometimes pickled.

Southeast Asia

In Sri Lanka, achcharu is traditionally prepared from carrots, onions, and ground dates that are mixed with mustard powder, ground pepper, crushed ginger, garlic, and vinegar, and left to sit in a clay pot.

In Pakistan, pickles are known locally as achaar (in Urdu) and come in a variety of flavours. A popular item is the traditional mixed Hyderabadi pickle, a common delicacy prepared from an assortment of fruits (most notably mangos) and vegetables blended with selected spices.

South Asia has a large variety of pickles (known as achar in Assamese, Punjabi, Hindi, Bengali, uppinakaayi in Kannada, lonacha in Marathi, oorukai in Tamil, ooragaya in Telugu), which are mainly made from varieties of mango, lemon, lime, tamarind and Indian gooseberry (amla), chilli. Vegetables such as brinjal, carrots, cauliflower, tomato, bitter gourd, green tamarind, ginger, garlic, onion, and citron are also occasionally used. These fruits and vegetables are generally mixed with ingredients like salt, spices, and vegetable oils and are set to mature in a moistureless medium.

South Asia


Popularity of pickles around the world

The term pickle is derived from the Dutch word pekel, meaning brine. In the U.S. and Canada, and sometimes Australia and New Zealand, the word pickle alone almost always refers to a pickled cucumber, except when it is used figuratively. It may also refer to other types of pickles such as "pickled onion", "pickled cauliflower", etc. In the UK, pickle, as in a "cheese and pickle sandwich", may also refer to Ploughman's pickle, a kind of chutney.

Pickle etymology

Pickling began 4000 years ago using cucumbers native to India. It is called "achar" in southern India. This was used as a way to preserve food for out-of-season use and for long journeys, especially by sea. Salt pork and salt beef were common staples for sailors before the days of steam engines. Although the process was invented to preserve foods, pickles are also made and eaten because people enjoy the resulting flavors. Pickling may also improve the nutritional value of food by introducing B vitamins produced by bacteria.[5]



  • History 1
    • Pickle etymology 1.1
  • Popularity of pickles around the world 2
    • Asia 2.1
      • South Asia 2.1.1
      • Southeast Asia 2.1.2
      • East Asia 2.1.3
      • Western Asia 2.1.4
    • Europe 2.2
      • Central and Eastern Europe 2.2.1
      • Southern Europe 2.2.2
      • Northern Europe 2.2.3
    • United States and Canada 2.3
    • Mexico, Central America, and South America 2.4
  • The pickling process 3
  • Health benefits 4
  • Possible health hazards of pickled vegetables 5
  • Further information 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

When both salt concentration and temperature are low, Leuconostoc mesenteroides dominates, producing a mix of acids, alcohol, and aroma compounds. At higher temperatures Lactobacillus plantarum dominates, which produces primarily lactic acid. Many pickles start with Leuconostoc, and change to Lactobacillus with higher acidity.[4]


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