What’s the Difference Between Pickling, Marinating and Brining?

When you are on a topic related to pickles, you will probably and often hear about terms such as “Pickling”, “Marinating”, “Brining” and “Curing”.

These four terms always bring us confusion on understanding about pickles.

Let's clear the confusion in our head and move one step forward to enjoy more about pickles.

The differences between Pickling, Marinating and Brining?

First of all, let’s look at simple definitions of Brined food, Pickled food and Marinated food.

Pickled Food preserved with salt (fermented pickles) or preserved with acid (unfermented pickles)
Brined Food preserved and/or flavored with salt
Marinated Food preserved and/or flavored with acid

As you probably notice, the keywords to compare these 3 cooking methods are “preservation”, “fermentation” and “salt & vinegar”

Both salt and vinegar are often used to preserve food, but for Brined and Marinated food, they do not need to be for preserving food, but for adding flavours. While for pickled food, preserving food is the one of the main purposes of using this method.

Fermentation is one of the keys of pickled food. Especially the countries like Japan and Korea, they often eat fermented food (Pickles) such as Nukadtuke or Kimuchi.