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Pickle Brine

 
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Jack Schmidling



Joined: 22 Jun 2014
Posts: 8
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:40 pm    Post subject: Pickle Brine Reply with quote

I "discovered" a most amazing method of preserving pickles in an old book called "All About Pickling". This book has been my bible since 1975 but I only recently tried the "high brine" process mentioned in the book.

The process works amazingly well but the article is low on details and science. I have spent hours on the net trying to come up with some numbers but all searches lead to fermenting pickles.

This process uses so much salt that the pickles can not ferment. They are sort of embalmed. A year later they can be de-salted and eaten as raw or then turned into pickles.

There are two advantages to this process. They need no refrigeration and the pickles made from them are crunchy and wonderful. The fermented ones are never really crunchy and go downhill until sort of mushy by next Spring.

Instead of making a lot of pickles in the Fall when the garden is bursting with them, you can embalm them and make pickles as needed from them.

The problem is I would like to know the correct amount of salt required to get the results and the book is rather confusing and what little info I can find on the net uses about twice as much salt.

I have hydrometers and would like to be able to test the salinity at various stages of the process.

I can't even find a direct answer to the specific gravity of saturated salt solution let alone any numbers along the line.

I have some numbers I obtained by measuring my in-process stuff but would really like to get some sort of word from on high.

Pickles seem to be about 1.03 and the brine prepared according to the book is about 1.1 and the only other source I could find said saturated solution.

One of the problems is that the water in the cucumbers dilutes the original brine so one really needs to know what salt level is correct for long term preservation.

I would like to know the specific gravity needed to maintain the embalmed condition.

Any thoughts on this one?


One more related question... will a refractometer or hydrometer for sugar read correctly for salt?

Jack... Marengo, Il
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1174
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this could be of some use - it's salt pickling, no vinegar - sounds like yours:
https://www.chowhound.com/post/finally-real-honest-hashem-method-making-real-east-side-salt-805067

hygrometers measure the density of the liquid - if it has a scale read out of specific gravity then it'll work fine - there's a table here:
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-07/rhf/conversion.htm

if the hygrometer only shows percent sugar, that gets trickier.

the amount of salt? considering most of the recipes are old world / hand me downs, it's not unusual to see wild variations, i.e. 10%-20%

USDA/FSIS has no pickling info that does not include vinegar -
my old Joy of Cooking specifies a 10% brine in recipes without vinegar.
quite a few salt only recipes on the web as you've likely found - regrets most are 'health' sites - and that sets red flags for me. stuff people do in the name of 'health' is downright scary.
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Jack Schmidling



Joined: 22 Jun 2014
Posts: 8
Location: United States

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:

hygrometers measure the density of the liquid - if it has a scale read out of specific gravity then it'll work fine - there's a table here:
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-07/rhf/conversion.htm


That calculator is broken but the other problem with the search is that it is plagued with info on salt water aquaria info and their world stops just above sea water salt levels.

>if the hygrometer only shows percent sugar, that gets trickier.

I not only found a chart to to convert brix to sg but it also shows per cent salt and refractive index. So, I can use my brix refractometer for salt using the chart or the hydrometer.

That's good but I still need to know the salt level required to embalm the cukes so they do not ferment.

js
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1174
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a little confused about the "no ferment" thing - all the salt&water only brines I've seen described go with "lacto-fermenting" (as opposed to adding vinegar/acid)

such as:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2017/08/preserving-pickle-cucumber-science-acidity.html
which calls for a 3.5% salt solution.

however you indicate there is so much salt in this method that the cucumbers do not ferment.

here's a pub reference by Joy of Cooking
USDA Farmers Bulletin 1438 - dates from 1927
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/48722/48722-h/48722-h.htm
which calls for a brine not less than 9.5%
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Jack Schmidling



Joined: 22 Jun 2014
Posts: 8
Location: United States

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dilbert wrote:
I'm a little confused about the "no ferment" thing - all the salt&water only brines I've seen described go with "lacto-fermenting" (as opposed to adding vinegar/acid)



The confusion is caused by ignoring the "no" in "no ferment".

These are "cured" cucumbers and not fermented pickles.

>however you indicate there is so much salt in this method that the cucumbers do not ferment.

That is correct.

>here's a pub reference by Joy of Cooking
USDA Farmers Bulletin 1438 - dates from 1927
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/48722/48722-h/48722-h.htm
which calls for a brine not less than 9.5%

Very good. I think the answer is in there.

I quote:
..........................

SALT PICKLES

Salt pickles, or salt stock, are made by curing cucumbers in a brine which should contain not less than 9.5 per cent of salt (approximately 36 on the salinometer scale) at the start. Not only must the 6 brine be kept at this strength, but salt should be added until it has a concentration of about 15 per cent (60 on the salinometer scale). If well covered with a brine of this strength, the surface of which is kept clean, pickles will keep indefinitely.

Proper curing of cucumbers requires from six weeks to two months, or possibly longer, according to the temperature at which the process is carried out and the size and variety of the cucumbers. Attempts to use short cuts or to make pickles overnight, as is sometimes advised, are based on a mistaken idea of what really constitutes a pickle.

Curing of cucumbers is marked by an increased firmness, a greater degree of translucency, and a change in color from pale green to dark or olive green. These changes are uniform throughout the perfectly cured specimen. So long as any portion of a pickle is whitish or opaque it is not perfectly cured.

After proper processing in water, salt pickles may be eaten as such or they may be converted into sour pickles (p. 7), sweet pickles (p. 8), or mixed pickles (p. 10).

..................

I don't understand how they "may be eaten as such" because they are far too salty to eat and must be de-salted (freshened) first.

Thanks for the link. I haven't read the whole paper but will do later.

Looks like the number I am looking for is 15%. And my confusion with the procedure in my book is that you start at about 9.5% and after a day or two, boost it up to 15% and add more salt as needed to keep it there.

I also suspect that after de-salting, it may not be possible to start a ferment and one has to pickle with a vinegar recipe.

js
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1174
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

keep us posted on how it works out.

apparently the "lotsa' salt" method is no longer so popular -
seems the 'artisan trend' is salt only but the cucumbers provide their own acid during the process - and that's what the net is full of now-a-days.

ramping up to 15% salt will definitely make for a salty pickle!

there is some acidity involved tho, what generates the acidity is not stated.
/q
"A scum, made up usually of wild yeasts and molds, forms on the surface. As this may prove injurious by destroying the acidity of the brine, remove it by skimming."
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