The difference between fermentation and pickling food


Pickling covers much ground beyond

fermentation. Pickles are anything

preserved by acidity. Most contemporary

pickles are not fermented at all; instead

they rely upon highly acidic vinegar (a

product of fermentation), usually heated

in order to sterilize vegetables, preserving

them by destroying rather than cultivating


Vinegar sterilized pickles offer the

advantage of not being perishable;

however, certain nutrients, including

vitamin C, are diminished by heat

treatment, and vinegar pickles do not

What's the difference between fermentation and pickling?

contain the live lactic acid bacteria found

in raw fermented pickles. - source:

Fermentation, on the other hand,

doesn't require an added acidic liquid

or heat, and can be accomplished with

as little as a container and salt (although

more typically goes into it). It's one of

the oldest and most basic means of

preserving food. The process typically

takes longer than pickling and ultimately

alters the food's color, flavor, and texture.

Fruits and vegetables contain natural

bacteria that, when deprived of air, can




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suppress and inhibit the growth of other

microbes that would cause spoilage.

During the fermentation process, these

natural bacteria convert the carbs

and sugars in whole food items, like

vegetables or even milk, into an acid which

then becomes the ideal environment to

preserve that food.

Lacto-fermentation, a process brought

on through the presence of lactobacillus,

gives fermented foods and drinks their

signature tangy and sour taste, but also

creates probiotics that aids in digestion.



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