Preserving food has been popular at all times. Pickle barrels are used according to traditional technology. What barrels are best for cucumbers and cabbage, mushrooms and fish, storing caviar, watermelons, honey, and other generous gifts of nature?
Different kinds of barrels
What types of wood do barrels come from? Among the most common are oak, aspen, linden, and cedar.
There are also pine barrels on the market, but they are of little use for pickling. Pine is a resinous tree, and products can acquire a specific pine flavor if stored for a long time. Under the influence of salting liquids, this process intensifies, so pine barrels should not be used for fruits, vegetables, fish, caviar, and meat.
The rest of the popular wood species are quite suitable for the preparation and storage of products. What are the properties of oak?
Oak wood is characterized by a dense structure and durability and has a high content of antibacterial substances. Oak has the ability to resist the growth of fungal colonies, so the likelihood of mold formation in oak barrels is much lower than in other containers.
The chemical composition of oak wood is very rich. There are lignins, complex ethers, and biologically active flavins. This combination provides unique aromatic properties of oak wood and its resistance to pathogenic microflora.
Oak barrels for sale are usually bought for storing food or beverages, and are made of different types of oak:
- French oak has the highest density and aromatic phenolic content. It is an expensive wood that is used to store distillates, including elite cognacs.
- American oak is also famous for its high density and its wood is rich in aromatic substances, though its bouquet differs from the French oak. American oak wood barrels are used to age whiskey and other grain distillates.
- Caucasian rock oak is considered a close relative of the French oak, but not as expensive. Its timber is softer than its European counterpart, and the content of tannins is lower. Barrels made of this wood are successfully used for salting and storing products.
- The Slavonian oak grows in Eastern Europe, mainly in Serbia. It is solid and of medium density, and is well suited for making barrels for pickling and storage.
- The sherried oak grows also on the European territory of our country. Its wood is rather porous and contains fewer phenols and essential compositions. It is not too good for aging elite distillates but it is perfect for salting and storing vegetables, meat, fish, caviar, and other products.
Oak Barrels Features
It is not recommended to salt cabbage or soak apples in oak barrels because light-colored vegetables can darken. And pickled lard does not need to fear this material, as the dense and fat-rich structure of the product does not allow it to change color. Tomatoes and cucumbers, plums, and olives are also friendly with oak. They acquire a deep, rich color in the oak container.
Oak barrels are perfect for pickling and storing meat and oily fish. The aromatic properties of oak enhance the aroma and taste of smoked or dried meat. There are also barrels for whiskey, wine and other drinks. So, if you additionally want to give that a try, go ahead.