The process of соление (pickling) is well-known in Russia, and any traveler visiting Russia, Ukraine, or Belarus will undoubtedly come across several traditional pickled dishes that seem strange and exotic. With a relatively short growing season, preserving food has always been of special importance in Russia, where you can easily find pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and even eggplant.
Почему они носят такое название?
Also known as brining, corning, or salting, pickling has been around for nearly 4 millennia, and remains a favorite method for preserving food. In general, соление is the process of preserving foods by storing them in a pickling solution or brine. This solution or brine can be either salt water or an acidic solution, such as weak vinegar. In Russia, salt is generally the preferred meathod and, thus, the Russian word соление is derived from the root word соль (salt).
Historically, cоление has been used by a number of societies, due to its value in the cold months, when fresh food is hard to come by. Also, those going away for long stretches of time prepared for their journey by salting meats, such as pork and beef, which gave them a much needed source of protein.
Traditionally, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine developed their own original methods of preservation without using vinegar. Besides соление (salting), these cultures also often use квашение (fermentation), and мочение (steeping). Even in the 12th century, the people of old Rus’ salted their cucumbers and fermented their cabbage.
The differences in the types of salting are connected to the various types of brine. If the brine is made from salt, and its concentration is no lower than 6-8 percent, but no more than 20-30 percent, then we have a case of cоление (pickling). When the salts make up 2.5-3 percent of the mass of the given product, and the brine is made from vegetable juices, then it is a case of квашение (fermentation). Finally, if the brine is made from a very small quantity of salt (1.5-2 percent) and the solution is 6-8 percent sugar, then this form of conservation is called мочение (steeping).
The true value of соление is that it activates the body's metabolic processes, even in small amounts. Соление facilities the digestion of meat and fatty foods. It not only enriches food, but accelerates and strengthens the fermentation process in digestion.
Cоленые oгурцы (pickled cucumbers or simply pickles) are also incredibly popular and considered healthy in Russia in moderation. Lactic acid, which develops in the process of the brining cucumbers, can improve the digestive tract. However, it’s not good to eat pickles in large quantities, as too much salt is bad, especially if you have a bad liver or kidneys. They are also not recommended if you have hypertension or heart disease. Pickled cucumbers can increase your appetite; therefore they can have a negative effect on people with a tendency towards obesity.
A very famous Russian dish is солёные помидоры (pickled tomatoes). You can hardly find a person in Russia who hasn’t once tried a pickled tomato with fried potatoes, a dish that is enjoyed by nearly all Russians – but especially those celebrating some event with a bottle of vodka. Cоленые oгурцы (pickled cucumbers or simply pickles) are also incredibly popular both as an appetizer, a side dish, and an indispensible vodka companion.
After a long night of drink, the pickling liquid, known as рассол (rossol) in Russian is a popular hangover cure. Even for those Russians who are not drinkers, рассол can be saved and made into a popular soup called рассольник (rassolnik).
Маринованный чеснок подают к любому мясному блюду. Photo: Povarenok.ru
Как правильно готовить
In a weak brine or a pickling medium, special groups of bacteria develop, which add not only flavor, but life to the products. Thus, pickling and fermenting are valued in Russia because they create "живой" (living) products where conservation coupled with promoting living organisms. In the case of pickling with vinegar, however, everything is the opposite. Vinegar kills all bacteria that might affect the product, but also results in decay in the product itself. Vinegar will more rapidly break down the cellular structure of the product being preserved, resulting in a limp, less nutritious food.
The rest of the secret to good pickling depends on the spices, the cleanliness of the materials and dishes in preparation, the accuracy in calculating the brine’s strength, and, last but not least, on the correct care of the salted foods in the first week of their creation. The basic process of fermentation happens in the brine in the first few days (the process is slightly different for each product you might pickle). During this time, the pickling (or fermentation) should take place in a warm room and you will need to occasionally add brine to it. Once the critical period passes, the salted food should be stored in a cool place. After approximately a month (20-40 days), it will have absorbed the full flavor from the brine and will be ready to eat.
Всю зелень и помидоры тщательно промойте в проточной воде. На дно банок уложите половину укропа, перца, чеснока, листьев смородины, листьев и корня хрена. Наполните банки помидорами и уложите оставшуюся зелень. Приготовьте рассол из 10 литров воды и 500-700 граммов соли. Залейте банки холодным рассолом так, чтобы помидоры были полностью им покрыты. Накройте банки крышками и оставьте при комнатной температуре на 2-3 дня, после чего уберите в прохладное место.
- 10 kilograms of tomatoes - 100 – 200 grams of fresh dill - 50 grams of horseradish root - 100 grams of black currant leaves - 100 grams of horseradish leaves - 20 – 30 grams of garlic - 10 – 15 grams of red, spicy pepper - 10 liters of water - 500 – 700 grams of salt
Thoroughly clean all of the greens and tomatoes in running water. Lay half of the garlic, peppers, dill, currant leaves, horseradish leaves and root on the bottom of the jars. Fill jars with the tomatoes and add the remaining greens. Prepare the salt mixture from 10 liters of water and 500-700 grams of salt. Pour the cold, salt mixture into the jars, so that the tomatoes are completely submerged. Cover the jars with lids and store it at room temperature for 2-3 days, before moving it to a cool place.
Чеснок соленый головками
- крупные головки чеснока
- вода - 1 л - соль - 100г
Белые или розовые головки чеснока с зеленой или чуть присыхающей ботвой моют, снимают первые покровные листья, не допуская оголения долек. Удаляют корневую мочку и ботву. Укладывают в банки, заливают холодной водой и оставляют на 3 суток, меняя воду один-два раза в сутки.
Для рассола в 1 литр воды добавляют 100 г соли, кипятят, затем фильтруют и охлаждают. Чеснок довольно плотно укладывают в банки и заливают приготовленным раствором, накрывают крышками и хранят в прохладном помещении до осени.
Если нет условий для хранения соленого чеснока, после заливки рассолом его стерилизуют при 100С: банки пол-литровые - 5 минут, литровые - 8 минут, трехлитровые - 15 минут.
Употребляют чеснок соленым или его маринуют: за 8- 10 дней до употребления заливают 6%-ным уксусом. Маринованный чеснок подают к любому мясному блюду.
- Large heads of garlic
For the salt mixture:
- 1 liter of water - 100 grams of salt
Clean the white or pink heads of garlic. Use only garlic with fresh or slightly dried green tops. Remove only the first layer of skin, leaving the cloves covered. Remove the roots and plant tops. Place garlic heads in the jar and add cold water. Set aside for 3 days, and change the water once or twice per day.
For the brine, add 100 grams of salt to 1 liter of water, bring to boil, and then filter and cool it. Pack the garlic tightly into the jar and pour in the solution, seal with a lid and place it in a cool room.
If you don’t have the proper conditions for storing the pickled garlic, after you pour in the brine, sterilize the mixture at 100 degrees Celsius: a half liter for 5 minutes, a liter for 8 minutes, and 3 liters for 15 minutes.
This garlic may be eaten as is or marinated later: 8-10 days before desired use, cover salted garlic with 6% vinegar. The pickled garlic can be used with any meat dish.
Our Favorite Pickling Videos
Here’s a video from videoculinary.ru, featuring a pleasant, old babushka. She shows how to make соленые oгурцы (pickled cucumbers).
A video of a quick method of making pickled or fermented cabbage.
I guess the love of соленые oгурцы is built into Russian genes. Even babies love them!
An enlightening video aboutсоленые oгурцы made by an orthodox priest!