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Old 07-11-2019, 09:10 AM   #1
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Vinegar ratios for pickling

Hey everyone,
I just joined and this is my first post besides my intro post. I've been getting interested in pickling recently and I have a question about the vinegar ratio needed for various vegetables. So far I've done a lot of quick refrigerator pickles so I haven't been too concerned with the overall acidity. I've also done some water bath canned dill cucumber slices where I used a ratio of 50/50 water and 5% vinegar. My question really comes down to if I need to use a different ratio for different vegetables. Looking around I haven't been able to find a solid answer. For instance, if I want to pickle brussels sprouts, should I use a higher ratio or is 50/50 ok? Thanks in advance for any help.

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Old 07-11-2019, 12:04 PM   #2
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Interesting question. Welcome to DC Frank2.
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:34 PM   #3
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I have no idea either. Hazarding a guess, I don't think it would be the vegetable itself so much as the density. If you cut them all of similar sizes I imagine your ratio would remain the same.

May I also suggest you look for vinegar that is specifically for pickling. It is 7% and not always easy to find (at least in my area)

There is also a 10% vinegar that is becoming more popular on the shelves as a cleaning agent. But I wouldn't recommend that for anything other than cleaning.

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Old 07-11-2019, 04:00 PM   #4
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You probably have to chech the pH, to be safe, just like with canning tomatoes, and anything not using a pressure canner. And I'm sure that the veggies make a big difference, as some have a lot more water in them, which dilute it more. Then there's the sugar, which acts as sort of a preservative, when there's a lot of ot there, like in B&B pickles.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragnlaw View Post
I have no idea either. Hazarding a guess, I don't think it would be the vegetable itself so much as the density. If you cut them all of similar sizes I imagine your ratio would remain the same.

May I also suggest you look for vinegar that is specifically for pickling. It is 7% and not always easy to find (at least in my area)

There is also a 10% vinegar that is becoming more popular on the shelves as a cleaning agent. But I wouldn't recommend that for anything other than cleaning.

And a Welcome to DC from me too!
That may be true in Canada, but in the United States, pickling is tested with vinegar that has 5% acid.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:43 PM   #6
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Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking

I've been pickling and canning for many years. It's important to use recipes that have been tested by a reliable source to ensure that what you're making is safe. Sometimes you have to blanch or cook vegetables before pickling, in order to soften them and allow the brine to penetrate, whether for the refrigerator or for boiling water bath canning. It's also usually a good idea to briefly cook the brine before using, in order to infuse the flavors into the liquid. The Cooperative Extension Service of the USDA is the primary source of reliable canning information in the U.S. The link to the site that does most of the testing, at the University of Georgia, canning site is below.

Here are some good websites for reliable information.
- https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_home.html
- https://foodinjars.com/canning-101-archive/
- https://www.freshpreserving.com/easy...ng-recipe.html

Good luck. Let us know if you have more questions.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:41 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies so far. The reason I used Brussels Sprouts as an example is because I found two different recipes; one from "The Joy of Pickling" book and one from The National Center for Home Food Preservation website. The "Joy" recipe calls for a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar whereas the NCHFP recipe uses 100% vinegar. So according to the "Joy" book 50/50 is fine, but I was thrown off to see such a discrepancy in vinegar amounts. But the NCHFP recipe does have onions and the pickled onion recipe in "Joy" calls for 4 1/4 cups vinegar to 3/4 cups water. So the onions may be the reason I'm guessing. I'm not planning on going off on my own and not using any recipes but I'm too curious a person to not try to understand why I have to do what I have to do haha.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:50 PM   #8
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When was Joy of Pickling published? There was a bunch more science done about home preserving foods at some time in the 1980s, I believe and it is recommended that one not use recipes from before then. Many of the older recipes are not actually safe.
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:31 AM   #9
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I have the 3rd edition, published in 2016.
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