The history of pickling began almost 4000 years ago using cucumbers. Also known as brining, it is a process of preserving food using a salt solution, or marinating, then storing in an acidic solution; usually containing vinegar. With new advances in food technology and modern ideas we can take an ancient(yet, classic) method of marinating vegetables, which takes days to fully ferment, and can now take that same concept and produce a great product in minutes.
On the Polyscience website, they demonstrate what they call “rapid pickling” using a chamber vacuum sealer. Using this method, I used white cucumbers (cut into chips) and used a rice vinegar-based solution for the infusion. Below is a “before” and “after” of this technique as well as the brine recipe.
473ml (2 cup)water
237ml (1 cup)rice vinegar
113g (1/2 cup)granulated sugar
mustard seeds, cracked
julienne red onion
- Combine water, sugar, vinegar, and mustard seeds in medium sauce pot.
- Bring to simmer-DO NOT BOIL.
- Add dill and cool completely.
There are two ways for infusion:
- put cucumbers in a food-safe vacuum sealer bag. Saturate with the brine and vacuum seal on high.
- Make an even layer of cucumbers in a half-hotel pan, or any shallow vessel that fits properly in the vacuum sealer. Saturate and seal on high.
This is a technique that has been around for a few years, but it is still definitely worth looking into and experimenting with. All kinds of food can now be rapidly infused with a wide range of flavors; such as, fruit that is just a little under ripe, to meat and fish, that you want to marinade right before you sous-vide or throw on the grill.
What else ?!