Use Paper Towels To Keep Food Submerged In Brine When Pickling

Pickling is a time-honored method of preserving food, where fruits or vegetables are soaked in a saline solution known as brine. The key to successful pickling is ensuring the food is completely submerged in the brine. However, due to their natural buoyancy, keeping these food pieces submerged can be challenging, as they tend to float on the surface of the brine. A simple and effective remedy for this issue is the use of paper towels.

But why is submersion so important? The brine in which pickles are soaked not only imparts a tangy flavor to the food but also creates an environment that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. This dual action of protection and flavor infusion is effective only when the brine entirely covers the food. Consequently, any portion of the food exposed to air may not pickle evenly and, more crucially, could be susceptible to bacterial growth and spoilage. This is where an everyday household item, the paper towel, comes into play. Paper towels are an ideal solution to this problem because they are readily available in most homes, making them a convenient and cost-effective tool. Additionally, they are simple and safe to use, unlike some other methods that might involve complex equipment.

How to use the paper towel hack

Prepare your pickling brine and the food you want to pickle as you usually would. Once you've placed the food in the jar and poured the brine over it, take a clean paper towel and fold it so it fits inside the mouth of the jar. Gently push the paper towel down to sit on top of the food and brine. In doing so, the towel soaks up some of the liquid, becoming heavier. This added weight helps to gently press the food down, ensuring it stays submerged. Finally, close the jar with its lid. The pressure from the lid will help to keep everything in place.

It's important to note a few things. First, ensure that the paper towels you use are plain and not printed with dyes, as these can leach into the brine and alter the taste of your pickles. Second, while the paper towel method is effective, it's not a substitute for canning techniques if you plan to store these for a long time. This approach is more suited for quick pickling. So the next time you find yourself pickling, give this method a try and see how simple and effective it can be.