Pickling is a great way to preserve vegetables and add some tangy flavor to your meals.
While there are many types of vinegar that can be used for pickling, malt vinegar is often overlooked. This vinegar, made from malted grains of barley, has a distinctive flavor that can add a unique twist to your pickled creations.
But can you really pickle with malt vinegar?
In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using malt vinegar for pickling and provide some tips on how to make the most of this flavorful ingredient.
So grab a jar and let’s get pickling!
Can You Pickle With Malt Vinegar?
Yes, you can definitely pickle with malt vinegar. In fact, it has been a staple in traditional English pickling for many years due to its high acidity and unique flavor.
Malt vinegar is particularly good for pickling watery vegetables like onions and cucumbers. However, it has a very strong and distinctive flavor that may overpower the taste of certain pickled items. As such, those new to pickling may prefer to use a vinegar with a subtler taste.
It’s important to note that you should use only high-quality vinegar with an acetic acid content of at least 5 percent. Malt vinegar is the most economical option, but it has a distinctive taste. Brown malt vinegar has the best flavor, while white distilled malt vinegar, with its concentrated acidity, is useful for pickling watery vegetables such as cucumber.
When choosing a vinegar for pickling, try to complement the vegetable or fruit that is being preserved. Think about the color and flavor you wish to create. For example, white vinegar gives a better appearance to light-colored pickles, such as those made from gherkins, cauliflower or cucumber, whereas dark red wine vinegar is best for pickled beetroot or red cabbage.
What Is Malt Vinegar?
Malt vinegar is a type of vinegar that is aged and made from malted grains of barley. It has a strong and distinctive flavor that is often described as nutty, with a slightly sweet and sour taste. This vinegar is made by fermenting malted barley with water, which is then distilled to produce a clear liquid. The liquid is then aged in barrels, which gives it its characteristic brown color and complex flavor.
Malt vinegar is commonly used in traditional English pickling due to its high acidity. It is particularly good for pickling watery vegetables like onions and cucumbers. However, its strong flavor may overpower the taste of certain pickled items, so it’s important to use it with caution.
Pros And Cons Of Using Malt Vinegar For Pickling
Malt vinegar has several advantages and disadvantages when it comes to pickling. Here are some pros and cons to consider:
– High acidity: Malt vinegar has a high acetic acid content, which makes it an excellent choice for pickling. The acid helps to preserve the food and prevent spoilage.
– Unique flavor: Malt vinegar has a distinct flavor that can add depth and complexity to pickled foods. It’s particularly good for pickling onions and other watery vegetables.
– Economical: Malt vinegar is often less expensive than other types of vinegar, making it a budget-friendly option for pickling.
– Dark color: Malt vinegar can darken the color of pickled foods, which may be unappealing to some people.
– Strong flavor: As mentioned above, malt vinegar has a strong and distinctive flavor that may not be suitable for all types of pickles. It’s important to consider the flavor profile of the food being pickled before using malt vinegar.
– Availability: Depending on where you live, malt vinegar may not be as readily available as other types of vinegar.
Tips For Pickling With Malt Vinegar
If you are planning to pickle with malt vinegar, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Use high-quality malt vinegar with an acetic acid content of at least 5 percent. Brown malt vinegar has the best flavor, but white distilled malt vinegar is useful for pickling watery vegetables.
2. Malt vinegar has a strong and distinctive flavor that may overpower certain pickled items. If you are new to pickling, you may want to try a vinegar with a subtler taste.
3. When choosing a vinegar for pickling, consider the color and flavor of the vegetable or fruit you are preserving. White vinegar is better for light-colored pickles, while dark red wine vinegar is best for pickled beetroot or red cabbage.
4. Malt vinegar is particularly good for pickling watery vegetables like onions and cucumbers. However, it can also be used to make brines for pickling other vegetables.
5. To make pickled onions with malt vinegar, slice the onions and put them back into a jar with sugar and garlic powder. Add the malt vinegar and shake frequently until the sugar dissolves. Refrigerate for 3 days before serving.
6. You can also use malt vinegar to make pickled mustard seeds, which can be used to marinade sea bass or as a condiment for sandwiches and salads.
By following these tips, you can successfully pickle with malt vinegar and create delicious pickled vegetables and fruits with unique flavors and colors.
Recipes To Try With Malt Vinegar Pickles
Malt Pickled Red Onions are an easy and delicious recipe that can be added to tacos, tostadas, BBQ, salads, used as a garnish, or as a bite of acid to a rich dish. To make them, slice onions and add them to a clean pint-size mason jar. In a small saucepan over low heat, add malt vinegar, salt, and Merken Seasoning and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling seasoned malt vinegar over the onions until they are fully covered with the hot vinegar. Cover with a lid and let the onions steep for about 30 minutes or until cool to room temperature. After about 30 minutes, the onions turn a vibrant red and will be ready to use or be refrigerated for up to a year.
Another recipe to try is pickled mustard seeds and turmeric-marinated sea bass. This simple starter packs a punch and is made by pickling slightly bashed mustard seeds overnight in malt vinegar before being used to marinade the fish alongside turmeric and garlic. The warmth of the mustard combined with the sharp vinegar and earthy turmeric contrasts perfectly with fresh green beans.
Finally, try adding malt vinegar pickles to a pulled pork sandwich or any other sandwich as a garnish or as a bite of acid and counterbalance to a rich, fatty dish. You can also use the special ‘vinegar’ left over from the onions in salad dressings, as an acid to make Mayonnaise | Aioli, splash it on Fish & Chips or use it with mustard seeds to make beer mustard.
Remember, pickling is all about experimentation and finding what flavors work best for you. So get creative in the kitchen and try out different combinations of vegetables, fruits, spices, and vinegars until you find your perfect pickle recipe!