Canning or quick pickling?
Canning is a great way to preserve fruits and vegetables from your garden or local farmers’ market. There are two approaches: the more intensive water bath canning and the easier quick pickle. Both offer great flavors but are made differently.
Water bath canning is used to safely preserve pickles that are shelf-stable, which means more room in your refrigerator for other food. This method relies on a careful balance of acid, sugar and high heat to preserve fruits and vegetables, keeping them safe from bacteria and other spoilers. Though it takes time, you’ll end up with a cupboard full of beautiful jars of preserved foods to enjoy throughout the year.
Quick pickles, also known as refrigerator pickles, are perfect if you have little time and want to make small batches to keep in the fridge. These pickles, unlike water bath canned pickles, are quick and easy to prepare. However, they are not shelf stable and need to be eaten within a couple months.
Whether you choose to quick pickle or can, you must always follow tested recipes, use clean equipment and choose the freshest produce available. For both processes, you can think beyond the cucumber and use almost any type of fruit or vegetable you like. Though you can play with flavors (adding different spices, herbs or other ingredients like garlic and ginger). The balance of sugar, acid and salt is key to making a safe (and tasty) product to share with family and friends.