In my heyday of contemporary cooking (call it what you will, Farm to Table, Conscious Cuisine, Haute Cuisine, whatever), preservation was (and had always been) a major trend. Preservation – in the forms of pickling, fermenting, smoking, curing etc. – are all ways to preserve the season you are working with. This allows chefs to provide the best products and extend the seasons.
How does this relate to CVap? If you have ever done any at-home vegetable pickling or canning, you know how difficult it can be. Boiling the jars, lids, and seals to kill bacteria can be a hassle. It is equally difficult to manage all those jars and lids in a restaurant kitchen. So I removed the conventional boiling of jars from the equation and used CVap technology instead. Removing boiling water from the process makes pickling much easier. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, preserving fermented or pickled foods in a temperature range of 180 to 185°F will give you the best results. CVap is ideal for giving you the precision needed to maintain temps in that range.
Many factors are involved when pickling items; acidity, altitude, head space, etc., to name a few. Because these variable factors can cause a pickling or canning process to go wrong, I will avoid providing a recipe. However, I will list the steps that I used to pickle vegetables and preserve clementines in CVap.
- In the Cook & Hold Oven, I set the unit to 200 Food Temperature and 4 Food Texture. This gave me an overall temperature of 230°F. By doing so, I am able to ensure that all the bacteria are eliminated and the jars sanitized, and eliminating the boiling step.
- I brought my CVap up to temp and loaded all the jars, open, facing up into the unit. In that same pan, I placed all the lids and bands.
- While the sanitation process was working, I prepared my pickling liquid and vegetables separately.
- When I was finished with the vegetables and liquid I was able to remove the jars from the CVap and fill each.
- When dealing with potentially hazardous foods, it is essential to keep the jars sanitized until they are ready to fill. By leaving them in the CVap, I was able to ensure the jars remained safely sanitized.
- After they were filled, I placed the lids and bands on each jar (finger tight) and loaded them back into the CVap for the processing step. This last step is crucial to the canning process, enabling a tight seal. Per recommendations, the sealed jars should remain in the heated cabinet for at least 30 minutes to be properly pasteurized. The NCHFP recommends a water bath of 180 to 185°F, but a CVap oven with water vapor heated to 200°F will give equally good results.
- When they came out, I left them to cool at room temperature for 24 hours. The lids did not bubble and a week later I got to pop open a jar and enjoy the vegetables I pickled.
Following these steps should give you good results. But I must confess, we have not had the results verified by third-party testing. Canning and pickling always involves a small amount of risk. Can with caution, and pickle with pride!