Vinegar is fascinating for how it’s made and its uses in pickling. It has many astounding purposes. Outside of pickling, it will completely dissolve the calcium encrusted on glassware and faucets within minutes, clean your counters, kill your weeds, and spice up your salad. In pickle brine, we all know it acts as a preservative. Thanks, vinegar, for killing bacteria that would have ruined pickles!!
When setting out to make vinegar, manufacturers don’t just sit down and put chemicals together. They rely on bacteria. Bacteria make vinegar by breaking down sugars in fruits and vegetables.
During times where salt was too expensive or rare to use in preserving, vinegar was cheap and abundant. Remember that people have killed over salt, so vinegar must have been a peaceful solution. Vinegar works with less salt and does its job faster than fermentation, with the help of heat, by an order of days rather than weeks. A quick word of warning, not all vinegar is created equal, so try different varieties before you make that batch of dills.
If you like history, you may enjoy this timeline of pickles history!
And if you’re making your own pickles, you may be interested in this: