There are two primary methods of brining: Long-brine and short-brine (or fresh pack). In the latter, the vegetables are cured in salt for only a few hours, then preserved in vinegar. Long-brine vegetables are cured in salt in a method that requires an extended soaking period and controlled conditions. Salt plays many roles in pickling: It enhances the taste by removing raw flavors; deters bacteria; and extracts water from the vegetables, which not only keeps the vegetables crisp, but also keeps the water from seeping out later and diluting the preservative effect of the vinegar. Use uniodized salt; iodized salt darkens the vegetables and turns garlic blue. Fruits are not brined, which would extract their acid needed in preservation, but instead they are lightly cooked before pickling.
The gherkin is the most common variety of cucumber used for pickling. There are three basic types of pickles: Sour, half sour, and sweet. Sour pickles are fully fermented cucumbers, while half sours are partially fermented in a salt brine for two to four weeks. Europeans never added vinegar to the brine, but it has become popular in America to prevent the growth of bacteria. The addition of garlic makes a pickle a kosher dill. Cucumbers pickled within 24 hours of harvest have the best flavor and texture; older cucumbers produce hollow centers.