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Pickle To Fight Tastelessness

Submitted by Srivastava N K on December 16, 2009

A pickle is a process of preserving vegetables and fruits in a concoction of spice-based gravies. This is an interesting alternative to actually cooking vegetables and fruits to eat them. Pickling can be done in the simplest way by just allowing the vegetable or fruit to marinate in a solution of brine for a prolonged period of time or it can be more elaborate like the pickling techniques that are used in India. Here marinating is done using a spice cocktail for the marinating medium.

These spices are highly acidic and include spices like ginger, chili, brine, garlic and other spices.

The fundamental method of action is the acid content in the marinating medium slowly breaking down the cellular structure of the vegetable or fruit. Meat can also be pickled but is sometimes a much more complicated procedure.

Pickling as a technique goes back many thousands of years and is predominant all over the world. Some of the more popular forms of pickled products include the Korean kimchi, which is a pickle of cabbage in brine though it can be done using other vegetables as well.

The really interesting thing about pickling is that the method of food processing does not use any artificial preservatives and despite this, the material that is being marinated does not spoil or decay. This is because of two factors – the lack of oxygen and the spices used in the marinating medium that are antimicrobial by nature.  

There are some things to be borne in mind when pickling.

This is the existence of bacteria called clostridium botulinum. If these get into the pickle then they will create botulin toxin, which is responsible for botulism. This is something that needs to be taken care of when creating pickles with garlic in it.

This is one of the dangers of trying to pickle meat products as well.

Being struck by botulism is extremely dangerous because it can cause serious paralysis and if medical attention is not available immediately, can cause death. The use of vinegar in pickling is not necessarily predominant all over the world but the addition of vinegar speeds up the breakdown of the object to be pickled.

This is because vinegar is acidic and works on the cellular walls of the pickle faster allowing the marinating solution to seep in faster. Since pickles are soaked in extremely strong tasting liquids like vinegar and brine, it is thought that having pickles will help to “jog” the taste buds.
In addition, many people suffer from a loss of taste due to inadequate saliva production.

Extremely sharp tastes stimulate the salivary glands to produce more saliva which in turn increases taste. Pickled cucumbers are considered to be excellent as they have virtually no taste of their own but instead absorb the acidic taste of the solution.

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