What’s Pickling?

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Pickling salt is a pure, fine-grained salt used for pickling and canning. Its fine grain ensures even distribution in the brine, preventing discoloration. It can also be used as regular table salt, but care should be taken around moisture. Brine includes spices that infuse flavor, and an egg test can determine if the brine is strong enough.

Pickling salt is a type of salt designed specifically for pickling and canning. To make it more suitable for its intended uses, this type of salt is particularly pure and typically has a very fine grain to ensure it dissolves easily. Many markets carry pickled salt, although people in some cities may need to do a bit of research. In a pinch, this type of salt can be substituted for kosher salt or table salt, although these salts may not work as well.

Fine grains

The fine grain of pickling salt is important because it makes the salt easier to dissolve. This means that the salt will be distributed evenly throughout the brine, creating the necessary salinity to make pickled foods safe to store and eat. Without a fine-grained salt, cooks would have to be extra careful to make sure all of the salt has dissolved out, which would create an even suspension in the brine.

Prevents discoloration

The purity of the pickling salt is important from an aesthetic standpoint, but not necessarily from a food safety standpoint. Iodized salt, like typical table salt, will turn pickled foods dark, which can make them unpalatable, and the anti-caking agents used in most salts cloud the brine. Neither of these problems are dangerous, but most people don’t like to eat discolored foods that have been fished out of a cloudy brine, so cooks use pickling salt instead.

other uses

Pickling salt shouldn’t just be used for pickling. It can also be used like regular table salt in recipes, although it does tend to overcook, so people should be careful with pickled salt around moisture. To avoid cooking in preserved brine, a few grains of rice can be added to the container. Cooked salt can also be roasted in the oven to cook off the moisture, which makes breaking up the cooked salt easy.


In addition to salt, brine typically includes an assortment of spices that slowly seep into the food as you pickle, infusing it with flavor. Depending on the spices used, pickled food might be warm, savory, or fairly neutral. The intensity of the salty flavor varies, depending on whether the food is pickled in vinegar with salt as a preservative or whether a brine alone was used for the pickling.

When only one brine is used, cooks can use a certain test called an egg test to see if the brine is strong enough. In egg testing, an egg is dropped into the brine. If it floats, the brine is good, but if it sinks, the brine isn’t salty enough.

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