Chinese Pickled Vegetables

China also manufactures a wide range of pickled vegetables. Various kinds of vegetables are used as raw materials. The fermentation can be either dry salting or brining process, depending on the product to be manufactured. However, the fermentation is still lactic fermentation. The major difference between Chinese-style pickled vegetable products and Western-style pickles is that desalting is usually not practiced in the manufacturing of Chinese-style pickled vegetables. The desalting process is left to the consumers, if needed. Also, some Chinese-style vegetables are made into intermediate-moisture products that have no western-style counterparts. Table 54 lists some of the basic steps in the manufacturing of selected Chinese pickled vegetables (50,51).

Table 52 Basic Steps in Fermented Pickles Processing

Sizing and cleaning of cucumber

Preparation of 5% (low salt) or 10% brine (salt stock)

Curing (fermenting) of cucumber in brine for 1-6 weeks to 0.7 to 1.0% acidity (lactic) and pH of 3.4 to 3.6 dependent on temperature, with salinity maintained at desirable level (15% for salt stock); addition of sugar, starter culture, and spices optional

Recovery of pickles from brine followed by rinsing or desalting (salt stock)


Packing of pickles into jars and filling with vinegar, sugar, spices, and alum depending on formulation

Pasteurization at 74°C for 15 min followed by refrigerated storage, or exhausting to 74°C at cold point followed by sealing and cooling, or vacuum pack followed by heating at 74 °C (cold point) for 15 min and then cooling

Storage and distribution

Table 53 Basic Steps in Kimchi Processing

Selection of vegetables (Chinese cabbage, radish, cucumber, or others)

Washing of vegetables

Cutting of vegetables, if necessary

Preparation of 8-15% brine

Immersion of vegetables in brine for 2-7 hr to achieve 2-4% salt in vegetable Rinsing and draining briefly Addition of seasoning

Fermentation at 0°C to room temperature for about 3 days Packaging (can also be conducted before fermentation) Storage at 3-4 °C

Source: Refs. 49 and 51.

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