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USA: Greener Pickles

USA: Greener Pickles

The United States pickle industry is facing growing environmental concerns with disposing of the salty brining solution used to turn cucumbers into pickles. Americans consume 9 lbs. of pickles per capita each year. The disposal of salty brine was one of the factors that helped push the California olive pickling and processing industry overseas in the 1980s. But USDA researchers have developed a way to replace most of the sodium chloride in the brine with calcium chloride. Used calcium chloride solution can be a desirable soil amendment rather than a pollutant disposal problem. Calcium chloride not only retains a desirable firmness in cucumbers as they pickle, but it also speeds up the microbiological work of fermentation, say researchers. The lowered salt is strictly a processing issue and has no impact on the dietary salt content of a pickle. (Source: ars.usda.gov)