Before canning was invented, people preserved food in several ways. Drying, bleaching and even burying food were common ways. Salt-curing was another means of preserving food. This method added variety of taste and texture to the diet. Huge barrels were used in the old days.
Know that the method of salt-curing is often referred to as "pickling." A solution of brine is made to soak the food in. Brine is simply water that has been saturated with salt, much like the ocean. Beans, cabbage, cucumbers and beets are all good vegetables for salt-curing. In the old days, people would use 50 to 60 gallon-sized barrels. They would use the barrels for salt-curing and just leave the food in the barrel to store through the winter. The barrel would be covered with a board cut to fit and held down by rocks.
Cut your vegetables up in pieces before you put them in the salt water to preserve food by salt-curing. As you chop a vegetable and put it into the salt water, it makes its own juice. Nowadays, you might want to use a smaller container. Just make sure the water has plenty of salt added. Let the vegetables stand in the salt water for at least 10 days in order to "pickle." Pickle simply means preserved in brine. Then cover tightly with a lid.
Source: How to Preserve Food by Salt-Curing | eHow.com