The aroma of a perfectly fermented Pickle aka Achaar not only tingles your taste buds but also connects you with an age-old tradition of pickling that keeps you rooted to your traditional roots. The word pickle originated from a German word ‘pekel’ which refers to brine or salt that are the two main ingredients in the process of pickling. When one opens the lid of a pickle jar, it also opens memories associated with the whole process of pickling.
Choosing the perfect size and type of jar for your pickles is essential, and this is why there is a perfect guide by Ellementry that helps you select the correct size.
Insight into the process
The process of pickling goes back to 2030 BC, where cucumber is known to have the most extended history as a pickle. Various renowned poets recognized this popular food item in their prose and literary works. The process involves settling fresh fruits and vegetables in the mixture of acid or saltwater brine until they are no longer subject to spoiling or raw. This process gives birth to microbial organisms that are used to turn the naturally occurring sugars into lactic acid in the food. The food does not get spoiled because the acidic environment prevents bad bacteria from doing so.
Take into account the quantity
Choosing the jar’s perfect size can only be possible if one has the appropriate idea of the pickle’s quantity. A jar too small or too large will simply be a waste. Thus, it is essential to look for a jar that perfectly fits the proportion of your pickle’s preparation. When you choose the jar’s size, keep in mind the jar’s length and width. It must not be too tall or too short.
Similarly, a jar too wide or too narrow may also create inconvenience. Usually, wide mouth canning jars are preferred to store any pickle that contains multiple food items. For example – mango pickle must be stored in a wide mouth canning jar so that it is easy to extract the pieces and other ingredients involved.
Keep quality and material the priority
The whole point of pickling is to provide food with an acidic environment whereby the food items can be preserved. Quality or material of the container or jar is of utmost importance in this case. The right choice is to go for tempered glass that can bear extreme temperatures involved in the canning process. Tempered glass is durable and made of hard material that does not break easily. These are thicker than the regular glass to withstand the pressure and heat involved in the process.
Why only air-tight jars?
Pickles are in their best shape until and unless they come into constant contact with oxygen, which is why choosing air-tight jars is a must while choosing the right jar for any pickle. The whole pickling process revolves around one phenomenon growing of microbial organisms in the food under an acidic environment. A jar that is not air-tight shall not allow the microbes to grow freely, thereby disrupting the fermentation process that the pickle needs to go through. Always choose a jar that has an air-tight lid and thick material.
Even the moon can have imperfections but a pickle jar can’t!
Ensure that the jar is free from any cracks and openings. Even a small crack or any opening that seems negligible can cause the jar to break under high pressure and heat. Any imperfection in the jar can hamper the quality of your pickle, means that even after putting in so much effort in the preparation of the pickle, one wrong decision of canning could put everything to risk.
Types of Jars available in the market:-
Among all the jars available in the market in various shapes, sizes, colours and style, the two main categories for canning jars are:-
- Regular Mouth Canning Jar
- Wide Mouth Canning Jar
While regular mouth canning jars are suitable to store any food item that can be poured into a glass, wide mouth canning jars are used to store whole fruits and vegetables that require extensive space for extraction.
Choosing the right mouthed canning jar depends upon the type of pickle you want to store. The most commonly used canning jars in the regular household are the half-pint jars, 4oz jelly jars and 16oz pint jars.
Usually involved in procuring fruits syrups, chutneys or pizza sauce, half-pint jars are ideal for storing small portions of liquid servings. While 4oz jelly jars are used to store jams, jellies and dipping sauces, 16 oz pint jars are suitable for sauces, salsa, pie fillings and relish. These jars are handy to keep in the kitchen rack and can be given as a gift to your closed ones. Having air-tight lids and sturdy glass containers makes it the perfect choice to store small proportions of any pickle.
While regular mouthed jars may be ideal for small servings, some people find them unfit to store larger quantities of preparations. It is where the wide-mouthed canning jars step in for people who believe in everything larger than life. The 32 oz quart jar and 64 oz half gallon jars are used to store pickles and juices. When preparing in bulk, one must choose either the 32 oz quart jar or the 64 oz gallon jar to store a large proportion of pickle. Wide-mouth jars are very convenient to clean and use. The whole concept of being wide-mouthed provides easy access to all the entire jar of pickle whereby you may also be able to choose your favourite part of the pickle from the complete mixture.
DO NOT DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:-
- Using a commercial jar- while re-using a pasta sauce jar or a pickle jar purchased from any store might be very tempting, it is a big NO-NO! Home canning can’t be performed using these commercial jars as they are already infused with many chemicals that will spoil the pickle quality.
- Not leaving enough room while freezing- Filling the jar up to the brim will allow no room for expansion, which would disrupt the whole process.
- Not adhering to the jar size mentioned in the recipe- choosing a jar much more substantial than recommended will take much longer to process when canning. Selecting a jar smaller than recommended is okay but not a larger one.
The process of pickling is ancient and is considered to be the oldest method of preserving food. Pickles increase the nutritious value of the food and infuse various vitamins in the food items. Pickles have been used to treat muscle cramps as well as restore the balance of electrolytes in our body.
It is essential to choose the right size of the jar for your pickle as pickles help preserve food items and add to the taste of our food and have nutritional benefits.