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How To Reduce Food Waste Through Pickling

6 mins read. Published on 09 May 23, Updated on 01 Jun 23.
How To Reduce Food Waste Through Pickling

If you're someone who cares about making a difference in the world, reducing food waste is an excellent place to start. In the United States alone, it is estimated that up to 40% of food ends up in landfills. That's a lot of wasted resources, especially when you consider the amount of energy and water that goes into growing and transporting food.

One easy way to reduce your food waste is by pickling. Pickling is the process of preserving food by soaking it in a liquid, usually vinegar and salt. This method not only extends the shelf life of your food but also helps to enhance its flavor. In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of pickling and how to get started.

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What Is Pickling

Pickling is a traditional technique used to preserve food by immersing it in an acidic liquid. The process of pickling involves soaking the food in a brine or vinegar solution for a period of time until the food is fully preserved or flavored. Pickling is a common method of food preservation used globally, and it is often used to preserve fruits and vegetables that are in season, thereby reducing waste and enabling consumers to enjoy the produce throughout the year.

Types of Pickling

There are two main types of pickling: fermentation pickling and vinegar pickling. Fermentation pickling is the process of preserving food by using a saltwater solution and allowing the food to ferment over time. The fermentation process creates lactic acid, which helps preserve the food. Vinegar pickling, on the other hand, involves immersing the food in a vinegar and saltwater solution.

Benefits of Pickling

Pickling has several benefits, and the primary one is food preservation. Pickling allows consumers to extend the shelf life of perishable foods, especially fruits and vegetables that tend to spoil quickly. Additionally, pickling enhances the flavor and texture of food, making it more enjoyable to eat. Pickled foods also have a higher nutritional value compared to their raw counterparts, partly because the pickling process helps to retain the food's vitamins and minerals.

Pickling is a great way to reduce food waste, especially when it comes to leftover or excess produce. Rather than throwing away produce that is about to go bad, pickling allows consumers to preserve it and enjoy it long after its shelf life would have otherwise expired. Pickling is an excellent sustainable shopping technique that enables consumers to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing food wastage. Overall, pickling is a simple, cost-effective, and eco-friendly method of food preservation that has been used for centuries and still remains relevant today.

Why Pickling Is A Good Solution

Pickling is a great solution for reducing food waste because it extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. When fruits and vegetables start to go bad, pickling prevents them from rotting and being thrown away. This helps to reduce the amount of food that is wasted and save money on groceries.

Pickling is easy and simple

Pickling is a low-cost and simple way to preserve food. All that is needed are vegetables or fruits, vinegar, salt, and water. Most of these ingredients are already in the pantry, making pickling a great solution for those looking to reduce food waste. Pickling is also an easy and quick solution for people who may have a busy schedule.

Pickling increases the nutrient value of food

Pickling can also be a healthy solution to reducing food waste. During the pickling process, the acidity helps to break down and unlock nutrients like vitamin C and fiber, increasing the nutrient value of the food. This means that pickled vegetables and fruits can be a great addition to a healthy and balanced diet.

What Foods Can Be Pickled

Pickling is a traditional food preservation method that has been used for centuries. It involves soaking food in a brine solution made of vinegar, salt, and water. Pickled foods can be a delicious and sustainable way to reduce food waste, as they help preserve vegetables and fruits that might otherwise spoil. Here are some examples of foods that can be pickled:



- Apples: Pickled apples can be used as a condiment for pork dishes or added to salads. - Grapes: Pickled grapes have a unique flavor that complements cheese platters. - Watermelon rind: The rind of watermelon can be pickled to make a sweet and tangy snack. - Pineapple: Pickled pineapple is a popular condiment in Southeast Asian cuisine.


- Eggs: Pickled eggs are a common snack in many cultures, and can be flavored with herbs and spices. - Fish: Pickled herring is a popular dish in Scandinavian cuisine. - Beets: Pickled beets are a tasty addition to any salad or sandwich. In conclusion, there are many different foods that can be pickled, from classic cucumbers to exotic fruits. By pickling foods that might otherwise go to waste, we can reduce food waste and create delicious, sustainable meals.

Needed Equipment For Pickling

If you're interested in reducing food waste through pickling, it's important to have the right equipment on hand. Here are some essential items you'll need:

Glass Jars

Glass jars are the most important piece of equipment for pickling. You'll want to use jars that have airtight lids and have been sterilized before use. Mason jars are a popular choice, but any type of glass jar with a lid will work.

Canning Pot

A canning pot is a large pot with a lid that is used to sterilize jars before packing them with pickles. It's important to use a canning pot to ensure that the jars are properly sterilized and safe for long-term storage.

Canning Tongs

Canning tongs are used to lift sterilized jars out of the canning pot. They have long handles and are designed to grip the jars securely without breaking them.


A funnel is useful for packing pickles tightly into jars without making a mess. It can also be used for adding brine to the jars.

Kitchen Scale

Using a kitchen scale will help you measure the correct amount of ingredients for your pickling recipe.

Cutting Board and Knife

You'll need a cutting board and knife to prepare your vegetables for pickling. Make sure they are clean and sharp to avoid bruising the vegetables.

Basic Pickling Recipe


- 1 cup water

- 1 cup white vinegar

- 1 tablespoon salt

- 1 tablespoon sugar


1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables you want to pickle. Cut them into the desired size and shape.

3. Once the brine has come to a boil, turn off the heat and let it cool until it reaches room temperature.

4. Place the vegetables in a clean jar and pour the brine over them, making sure they are fully submerged.

5. Seal the jar and place it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before consuming. The pickles will last for up to one month.


- Use fresh vegetables for best results.

- Experiment with different herbs and spices to customize the flavor of your pickles.

- Don't discard the leftover brine! It can be used as a marinade, salad dressing, or even in cocktails.

Tips for Successful Pickling

Choose High-Quality Produce

The first step to successful pickling is selecting high-quality produce. Choose vegetables that are fresh, firm, and free from bruises or blemishes. Avoid overripe produce, as it will not hold up well during the pickling process.

Use the Right Type of Vinegar

Different types of vinegar work better for different types of pickling recipes. For example, white vinegar is a good choice for pickling cucumbers, while rice vinegar is better for pickling sushi ginger. Be sure to choose the right type of vinegar for your recipe to achieve the best results.

Add the Right Amount of Salt and Sugar

Salt and sugar play important roles in the pickling process. Salt helps to draw out moisture from the vegetables, while sugar adds sweetness and balances the tartness of the vinegar. Be sure to carefully measure the amount of salt and sugar called for in your recipe to achieve the right balance of flavors.

Be Hygienic

It is important to maintain good hygiene practices during the pickling process to prevent contamination and spoilage. Clean all equipment, utensils, and work surfaces thoroughly before and after use. Use clean, sterilized jars for storing your pickles.

Give It Time

Most pickling recipes require at least 24 hours for the flavors to develop and the pickles to fully mature. Be patient and give your pickles enough time to develop their full flavor before consuming.

Experiment with Spices and Flavorings

Part of the fun of pickling is experimenting with different spices and flavorings to create unique and flavorful pickles. Don't be afraid to try new combinations of herbs, spices, and aromatics to find your perfect pickling recipe.

Creative Ways To Use Pickled Foods

In Salads

Pickled vegetables such as cucumbers, onions, and carrots add a tart and refreshing flavor to salads. They also provide an interesting texture that complements leafy greens and fresh herbs.

In Sandwiches and Wraps

Pickled vegetables can be a delightful addition to your favorite sandwich or wrap. They add a tangy flavor that cuts through the richness of meats and cheeses, while also providing some much-needed crunch.

In Cocktails

In Rice Dishes

Pickled vegetables make a great addition to rice dishes such as fried rice and sushi rolls. They add a punch of flavor that can liven up an otherwise bland dish.

In Snack Plates

Pickled vegetables can be the star of a snack plate. Try serving them alongside crackers, cheese, and cured meats for a beautiful and flavorful snack that's perfect for sharing.

In conclusion, pickled foods are a great way to reduce food waste by preserving excess fruits and vegetables. They offer a range of creative ways to use leftovers, as well as a delicious and sustainable addition to many meals and snacks.

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