Print

Print


For those interested in pickles and other food preserving, I recommend getting a good modern book and reading it first.  The one our family uses is:
 Stocking Up III
The All New Edition of America's Classic Preserving Guide
by Carol Hupping and the staff of the Rodale Food Center    copy rite 1986
ISBN   0-87857-613-4

These books are updated from time to time with the intent to make food processing safer and the food better tasting and retain more of the nutrients.
The book I have often takes the time to tell the why of why one process should or should not be used.  Get the latest version you can.  As mentioned in  earlier post  botulism cells can't grow in environments with pH lower than 4.6.  Anything without these acid levels must be pressure canned.  Pressure canning allows for temperatures to be higher that 212 deg F. so that botulism spores can be killed.  Also these books have charts so that different foods are processed for different amounts of time and pressures depending on food density and can size so that essentially a piece of food in the center of the can gets hot enough at its center to be safe.  I have seen instances where home caned tomatoes (an acid fruit that doesn't necessarily need to be pressure canned ) that have been water-bath canned have gone bad.  This spoilage is usually obvious.  One just throws it away.  What is important is that food spoiled by botulism doesn't fizz or stink or taste bad and the toxins produced by it can kill you.  SO:  Get a good book with sound recipes and stick to it.  You can change up the spices, but don't muck with the proportions of vinegar and lemon juice as these are the sources of acid.   Also don't take a water bath canned tomato recipe and add a bunch of something like zucchini to it.  Tomatoes are an acid fruit and zucchini is not so half zucchini would cut the acid in half. You could however pressure can as if it were straight zucchini to error on the safe side.  Lemon juice or citric acid is often added to tomatoes in more modern books as some of the more modern tomato varieties are being bread for lower acid and are unsafe to water bath can without a little extra acid.

Now say your a brewer and accidentally made vinegar.  That's ok for flavoring fresh food but don't use it for canning because it's acid content may not be sufficient  to work properly in preserving. Use store bought vinegar that is regulated to a specific strength.  Medieval recipes: cross reference with similar modern ones.  Make sure that the quantities of things that keep things safe are maintained . A pH meter might even be a good idea. If you ain't willing and haven't tested it on yourself first, don't test it on your friends!

For the brine cured (fermented) pickles the Euell Gibbons Dill crock given in the book  uses 3/4 measure salt and 10 measures water and 1/4 cup  cider vinegar to a gallon.
Note the salt should be canning salt which does not contain iodide and is a specific grain size.  Sea salt may not contain iodide but is usually larger crystals and has a mixture of various salt types which may through a recipe off.  Use of tested recipes is important till you have a good understanding of what your doing and know how the process should go, taste and so forth.

It is my understanding that the salt prevents the growth of many organisms while providing a good environment for lactic acid producing bacteria to grow.  This in turn produces an acid environment that is unfavorable to botulism.  I don't know what effect the salt has if any, specifically on botulism.

So how about wine and beer.

Beer ? can some of you all  grainers refresh my memory on what wart wart  and mash pH is?
Mead (honey water mixes) can get has high as 4.2 or 4.3 but is usually lower and wine is usually 3.5 or lower. so no botulism there since pH is well below 4.6