Pickle, a kind of brine or liquor, which is generally prepared of salt and nitre, with the occasional addition of spices, or aromatic herbs, for the preservation and seasoning of flesh-meat.:—Pickle also signifies vegetables preserved by the use of vinegar and aroma-tics.—See PiCKLiNG, of Vegetables.
Under the articles Bacon and Brjne, we have already stated the general requisites to a good pickle : we shall, therefore, only add a few particular directions relative to this subject.—It has been ascertained by experience, that the best proportion of salt and nitre to that of beef, is the following : Take 8lbs. of common salt, previously dried in a warm room, and l 1/2oz. of salt-petre, likewise in a dry and pulverized state, to every 112 lbs. of meat: let the salts be properly incorporated before they are applied. The beef should be perfectly fresh and cool; as otherwise it cannot be preserved for a considerable time: the cask or vessel ought to be clean, dry, and provided with a moveable lid or cover, so as to support a weight on its top. Much, however, depends on the exact proportion of the saline ingredients in the pickle; and the accuracy with which these compound salts are distributed between the different layers of the meat; for, if any cavities remain between the pieces, so that air can penetrate and circulate through the interstices, it will be impossible to keep such meat many weeks, in an eatable state.
A similar preparation may be used for pork, mutton, and geese; which last, however, should be divided at least into two equal parts. Thus, the farmers in Germany pickle the different kinds of meat above mentioned, together with their beef, in the same vessels ; chiefly with a view to fill up the vacant places at the sides, and prevent the corruption of the latter.
Pickling, of' Vegetables, is one of the modern refinements of luxury, which, in point of health, de serves no commendation. it is effected by employing the strongest vinegar, together with the most heating spices. This compound is rendered still more efficacious by-previously boiling the vinegar with cream of tartar, before the aroma-tics are added. In such state, most vegetable roots, plants, fruits, seeds, walnuts, etc. may indeed be preserved for any length of time, in order to stimulate the palate occasionally ; and, as it is supposed, to promote the digestion of animal food : but, as the nourishing juices of vegetables are thus decomposed, and the fibrous or woody parts alone remain in the form of a sponge, we conceive such artificial preparations to be useless to a robust stomach, and detrimental to the digestive organs of invalids, or delicate constitutions. When used in very small portions, and only with fat and tough animal food or fish, pickles may serve as substitutes for salt, mustard, horse-radish, or pepper.—It deserves farther to be remarked, that all pickles should be kept in earthen, but un-glazed, vessels; no copper or ver-digrease must be employed ; the air should be carefully excluded ; and the room in which they stand ought neither to be damp nor warm.