What is Alum?
Alum is a chemical compound that is commonly used as a pickling agent to keep vegetables crisp and firm. It is a white crystalline powder that is soluble in water and has a sour taste. Alum is a type of potassium aluminum sulfate that is used in many different industries, including food processing and water treatment.
Why Use Alum in Pickling?
When you pickle vegetables, they can become soft and mushy over time. This is because the vegetables are absorbing water from the brine, which can cause them to lose their natural crispness. Alum helps to prevent this by binding to the pectin in the vegetables and forming a firm, crunchy layer around them. This makes for a better texture and taste in your pickled vegetables.
How to Use Alum in Pickling
The amount of alum you need to use in pickling will depend on the recipe you are using. Typically, you will need to use about 1/4 teaspoon of alum per pint of pickling liquid. You can add the alum directly to the pickling liquid and stir until it is dissolved. Then, add your vegetables and follow the recipe as directed.
Is Alum Safe to Use in Pickling?
Yes, alum is safe to use in pickling when used in the correct amounts. It is approved by the FDA for use in food processing and is generally recognized as safe. However, it is important to follow the recipe and not use too much alum, as this can lead to a bitter taste in your pickled vegetables.
Other Uses for Alum
Alum has many other uses besides pickling. It is often used in water treatment to remove impurities and clarify the water. It is also used in the production of paper, textiles, and cosmetics. Alum is even used as an ingredient in some baking powders to help them rise more effectively.
Where to Buy Alum
You can buy alum at most grocery stores or online retailers. Look for it in the spice section or with the canning supplies. Make sure to read the label carefully and choose a brand that is food-grade and suitable for pickling.
If you want to take your pickling game to the next level, try adding alum to your recipe. This secret ingredient can help to keep your vegetables crisp and firm, giving them a better texture and taste. Just remember to use it in the correct amounts and follow the recipe carefully. Happy pickling!