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Oil for Flavor in Pickling/Canning Pickles


LuckyGirl
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I am canning pickles today and would like to do some with asian flavors. I have in mind to add a few drops of sesame oil for flavor to one of my brines. Is this O.K. or will the oil throw off the preserving factor?

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my guess would be it does nothing but float on top, I can't see it adding any flavor to the pickles. It might add some once you pull a pickle out, but then you might as well just pour some on later. Just a guess, but I don't see how the pickles would get in contact with oil that floats on top.

You could try to use some soy sauce instead of salt, rice vinegar instead of other vinegar, things like that. Simply exchange similar things from your standard recipe. Throw a hot Thai pepper in. There are different ways to pickle Asian style, but they seem to be very different from ours, not using vinegar at all etc. Kim chi the like.

But as for the 2nd part of your question, I can't see how the oil would throw off the flavor of what it sits on top of. It might go rancid if you don't store things well, I'd try it with a batch I intend to eat soon. But then, you could just pour a bit on the plate before putting the pickles on.

Curious to see what others might have to contribute!

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

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Since even a slightly oily pickle doesn't appeal to me (though an Asian-flavored pickle does!) I think that I'd use toasted sesame seeds in the brine rather than the oil. Similar to using either celery or mustard seed. I'm not sure if or how the oil would affect the pickling properties, either.

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Thanks to you both.

My question is really what effect (if any) would a small amount of oil have on the preserving process. There is an Asian cucumber salad that I make with vinegar, oil, a little sugar and toasted sesame oil. That is what I'm going for with this pickle idea. I just don't know if the oil will negatively effect the preserving process.

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From the research I have done, the addition of oil *may* create a micro-environment in the jar which will encourage the growth of microbes which cause food-borne illness. i.e., the brine (vinegar + salt + sugar) in pickles is typically acidic enough that the bacteria which cause botulism won't grow. However, at the interface of the oil and the brine, I imagine there may be some perfect little bacteria-growing environment. Unless you are planning to pressure can the whole business, I wouldn't recommend adding the sesame oil.

Karen Dar Woon

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Indian pickles use oil all the time as an ingredient.

Of course, they are also much more salty than we would consider normal in more traditional western cooking and as such this may counter any possible negative effects.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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You have me curious too. I looked in a couple Japanese pickling books and while they seem to pickle everything, it is quick pickling -at least in the two books I have. In my favorite Thai book, Cracking the Coconut by Su-Mei Yu, The only thing that it calls a pickle is some mustard leaves using Kosher salt and water.

The Vietnamese books I have seem to also be fresh pickles as well. Some use coriander and nearly all use rice vinegar as well as sugar.

Oseland wrote a book called Cradle of Flavor and it gets heavy into Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore foods.Again not canned pickles but these seem to have heavy Indian flavors.

I think that maybe the only common thread in Asian pickling flavors are that they are culturally and geographically specific, not just Asian.

Oh yeah, I did see one Cucumber pickle that used oil but it was poured hot over the pickle at service. It was peanut oil.

EDIT: My spelling ability is pickled

Edited by RobertCollins (log)

Robert

Seattle

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Indian pickles use oil all the time as an ingredient.

Of course, they are also much more salty than we would consider normal in more traditional western cooking and as such this may counter any possible negative effects.

would these be a commercially prepared condiment, or a home-kitchen prepared condiment?

[quote name= 'RobertCollins' date='Today, 03:34 PM'

You have me curious too. I looked in a couple Japanese pickling books and while they seem to pickle everything, it is quick pickling -at least in the two books I have. In my favorite Thai book, Cracking the Coconut by Su-Mei Yu, The only thing that it calls a pickle is some mustard leaves using Kosher salt and water.

Karen Dar Woon

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Look up "achaars/achars" on the web, they are Indian pickles made with oil rather than vinegar.

Regarding your question of home made or commercial, the answer is both.

The oils are used throughout the process and are present in the final product, which typically matures for an amount of time before consumption.

From the Indian recipes, I'd have to say in answer to your original question that, yes, oils can be used in pickling very successfully.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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This passage from Chris Schlesinger's Quick Pickles (talking about oil pickles in the tropics) might answer your question:

Oil does not preserve by chemical action, as do salt and acid, but rather by the simple mechanism of sealing the pickle off from air. In the old days many cooks, even in America, topped off their fermented or fresh pickles with a layer of oil, just for good measure. Because oil preserves in a mechanical rather than a chemical fashion, it does not add as much flavor to the mix as other preservation methods.

So it sounds like you could add oil to your brined pickles without harming them as a preserve. The oil would probably float to the top. However, you won't get that much flavor benefit unless the oil comes directly in contact with the pickles. Oil pickles are typically preserved in a paste of oil, salt, vinegar and spices--that's how the flavors are melded, and the oily paste preserves the pickle.

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