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There is a difference between pickles and chutneys. Pickles are pieces of vegetables or fruit stored in vinegar. Chutneys are mixtures of chopped vegetables and fruits cooked in vinegar. In both cases it is the acid conditions produced by the vinegar which inhibit the actions of spoiling micro-organisms.

Most pickles and chutneys improve their flavor if left to mature for a few months, and will keep for several years if unopened. If you open a jar of pickles or chutney keep it in the fridge after you open it.

Pickles and Chutneys

For pickling you can use a variety of vinegars, like: malt, wine or cider. The most used vinegar for pickling is malt vinegar, which has spices added, but you can make your own pickling vinegar by steeping spices of your choice in the vinegar for a month or two before you will use it. The proportions are of about 30 grams of mixed spices per liter of vinegar. You can try a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, mace, allspice and peppercorns or you can flavor the vinegar with springs of fresh herbs. Strain the spices or herbs out before you use the vinegar for pickling. You can also add mustard seeds and peppercorns or even dried chili peppers to the jars of pickles.

For best results on pickles you should always choose young, unblemished vegetables or fruits and clean and cut to a suitable size while fresh. For chutneys you can try all sorts of combinations of vegetables and fruits, depending on your imagination and taste.

Always sterilize the jars before you use them and make sure the metal lids are plastic coated or use wax paper under the lid, else the acid vinegar will corrode the metal. Put the lids on tightly and store the jars in a cool, dark place.

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Fermenting

Fermenting is the alcohol produced during fermentation that inhibits the growth of micro-organisms which could spoil the product, allowing us to store brewed drinks for many years. These include home-made ciders, wines and beers. The general idea to obtain these drinks is that yeasts grow and multiply using sugar and produce alcohol as a result. Cleanliness is vital at all stages to prevent fungi and other micro-organisms from spoiling the end product. All equipment and bottles must be sterilized by boiling or by washing with chemical sterilizing solution before use.

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