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What exactly is pickling?

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What exactly is pickling?

thursday | Feb 28, 2013 08:55 PM

Alright, I'm swallowing my embarrassment to finally ask the question I've google searched more times than I'd care to admit... I know what pickling is in terms of canning (soaking in brine/vinegar with spices for long-term storage), but I keep seeing chefs on Chopped say that they're going to pickle the beets, or pickle the onions, which to my definition, would take months. Is it just cooking in vinegar until soft?

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