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How to preserve food with vinegar or acetic acid

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The vinegar It is as old as mankind, or at least as old as wine. It is not crazy to say that Noah already made vinegar, although at that time its application was more like a disinfectant and healing product. The modern history of vinegar focuses on Orleans, which was the most important center of trade for this product in all of Europe. Vinegar is used to keep a lot of food, both fish and vegetables and even meat.

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Today, many vinegars are sold, both wine and many fruits, as well as vinegars marinated in herbs, vegetables or spices. Actually there are as many types of vinegar as wine areas, but it is perceptive that the best vinegars are born from the best wines.

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The best vinegar to use canned is always the most neutral, from white wines with good acidity, low color, and not excessively scented. However, we can acquire white wine or red wine vinegar, or make our homemade vinegar, and by maceration we can aromatize them with herbs and spices and give them taste and flavors. Without forgetting that in any case we can pick up a multitude of meat and fish.

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Most of the vegetables that are preserved in vinegar, are scalded before packaging. The time varies according to the characteristics and texture of the vegetables. Try not to cook or soften them too much and cool them quickly with running water to prevent the growth of residual microorganisms. In the table you can find the scalding time of some of the most popular vegetables.

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A white wine vinegar flavored with herbs such as laurel or thyme will serve to give body to meat or game marinades, macerated with cloves to taste a fish stock, with oregano we will perfume meat sauces or cooked tomatoes , with truffle it will help us to degrease and perfume a fried foie gras or flavor a green bean salad or simply mix it with a little virgin olive oil to refine the flavor of many varied salads.

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The air contained between the vegetables when adding the filling vinegar must be removed, which is done by moving the containers or with the help of a stainless steel table knife. This facilitates maintaining anaerobic conditions (without oxygen) in the containers and prevents the growth of fungi, which is the main defect of pickled canned vegetables when the tightness or absence of oxygen is not achieved.

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Usually, the container is filled to cover approximately 2/3 parts, leaving a head space of 1-2 cm. Thus, if the vinegar contains 5% acidity, the final acidity of the conserve will be approximately 2%. In this case, the final acidity will be low and it is convenient even if salt is added, subject the sterilization to a boiling water bath for 10-15 min., Depending on the size of the container. Large containers for the conservation of vegetables in acids are not recommended.

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To facilitate the conservation process and improve the flavor, about 5% salt is added to the vinegar solution that is used as a filler to cover the foods. You can also include sugar to taste. The effectiveness of vinegar in the conservation of vegetables is achieved when a final concentration of acid between 2-3% in the conserve is reached.

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Tips
  • Pickled vegetables in tightly sealed and sterilized jars are stored without refrigeration in cool places, without much humidity and have a duration of 1-2 years.

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