You Must Use Ice in Brine
Whether you’re planning to bake a large turkey or a head of cauliflower , a good pickle will ensure the end product is tender, moist, and flavorful. Simple pickle is nothing more than sugar, salt, and water, but peppercorns, citrus zest, bay leaves, and all kinds of plant parts can be used to make things more interesting. However, one universal truth about brine is that you must heat the liquid in order for these crystalline solids to go into solution.
If your pickle is for meat, it needs to be completely chilled before you submerge pork chop, turkey breast, or shrimp in this salty, sweet water. You can wait for this to happen, or use ice.
Of course, you can’t just pour a bunch of ice into the brine; it will distort your proportions and dilute your taste. Instead, halve the amount of water in your recipe, use that amount to dissolve the salt and sugar, and then add the rest of the water as ice. The ice will cool the brine as it melts, bringing it to the correct temperature and volume.
You – I am very sorry about that – will have to do a little math to calculate the correct amount of ice. When it freezes, water expands, which means that one cup of ice is not equal to one cup of liquid water. Fortunately, a milliliter of water weighs one gram at room temperature, so all you have to do is count the milliliters, convert them to grams, and weigh that many grams of ice. Let’s illustrate this very simple pickle recipe:
- 1 glass of salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 liters of cold water
- 3 bay leaves
The recipe tells you to add all the ingredients to the pot and heat to dissolve the sugar and salt, then wait for the brine to cool completely before continuing. To speed up the ice process, add salt, sugar and leaves with one liter of water to a saucepan and heat, dissolving everything except the leaves.
Next, add ice. A quart of water weighs 946 grams, so take an ice bag and weigh 946 grams of ice. Add this to the brine, stir to dissolve and cool, and submerge the meat in water. There is no need to wait.