Time to Make Homemade Pickles

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Cucumber pickles

Turning cucumbers into pickles is one of my favorite food preservation projects, mostly because I love pickles. Each year I grow about six plants of a pickling variety and half as many hybrid slicers, which produce enough to make a year’s supply of pickles. You can pickle any type of cucumber, but small ones work best. Using a trellis of some type makes my cucumbers more productive and easier to pick. Growing cucumbers up instead of out also keeps the fruits amazingly straight, so the fruits easier to clean and slice.

When the cukes are coming on, I save them in the fridge until I have enough for a batch of pickles. As I scrub the bumpy fruits with a brush to remove grit, I decide how I will cut them. Sliced pickles are great on sandwiches, so I cut most of mine into flat coins, but chunks of various sizes, spears, or even whole pickles give you plenty of options. Slice as thickly as you like, because thicker slices tend to stay crisp better than very thin ones. On the other hand, who can resist paper-thin bread and butter pickles made with equally thin slices of onion?

Cucumbers ready for pickling
Cucumbers fresh from the garden and ready for pickling

You will need a recipe, most of which will tell you to salt your sliced cucumbers and let them sit for about 3 hours (more is better). This salt treatment draws water out of the cucumbers and flavors them, so it’s critically important. After layering or mixing in plenty of sea salt, I cover the salted cukes with ice cubes and a tea towel and forget about them for a few hours. By then, the cut cucumbers are swimming in a salty brine of cucumber juice and melted ice. If you’re running behind, you can drain off some of the liquid and add more ice cubes, which won’t hurt your pickles and may make them better. When I’m ready to pickle, I drain the sliced cukes and rinse them well to remove excess salt.

The reason to follow a recipe is that the right balance of vinegar, sugar and salt have been worked out for you, so you know the brine (the pickling liquid) will achieve the right level of acidity and flavor. Bread-and-butter pickles are a great choice for beginners because they always turn out well, or you can try your hand with various sour pickles, including fermented ones. Traditional salt-brined pickles are great, but not as fast or easy to make as other types of pickles.

Some recipes have you place the cucumbers in the simmering brine before filling hot jars, but I prefer to pack sterilized jars with cold slices because they are easier to handle. To keep the slices from floating after the jars are sealed, you must really cram the pickles down into the jar with your fingers and fist, and then do it again after you’ve teased out big air bubbles with a table knife. This is impossible to do with boiling hot cucumber slices!

Pickled cucumbers
Cucumber dill pickles

My jars lose their heat as I pack them with cold cucumbers, and the hot brine doesn’t really get them hot again, so I very slowly put them into a sub-boiling water bath canner and gradually bring the temperature up to boiling. Moving too fast at this point can result in cracked canning jars, so be careful.

Follow your recipe’s directions for sealing the jars, which is usually about 15 minutes of processing in a water bath canner. The cooled pickles can be stored for over a year, though I do think pickles start to lose their edge after a year in storage. But miracles happen during the first few months, when the flavors inside the pickling jars meld to turn plain cucumbers into delicious homemade pickles.

I don’t label my pickles unless I’m giving them as gifts, mostly because labels are hard to remove. Instead, I write the type of pickle and date on the canning lid, and then shift the pickles to their home in the basement. Pickles, anyone?

By Barbara Pleasant

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Show Comments


"I love making pickels every year as they are a huge hit with my houseful of teen aged boys. They love and eat anything pickled. I use the same recipe for my sour pickles for almost anything else from the garden. The biggest hit is pickled beans and peppers. the method and recipe also works when using lemon cucumbers as well. If you find and use a good recipe that has been tried and true (like from your grandmother) there should be no reason to need an additive to your pickles to keep them crisp, such as alum. Ejoy!"
Dawn on Friday 9 July 2010
"Dawn,bean and pepper pickle ? sounds mmmmmmmmm any chance you could post you recipe on here? Pease oh please oyu just know ya wanna !! xx"
Melboy on Saturday 10 July 2010
"Will pickling bitter cucumbers make them better?"
Frank on Friday 16 July 2010
"Dilly Beans - Recipe can be used for peppers or any other vegetable you want to try it with. 2 lbs. trimmed green beans 4 heads dill or 4 tsp dill seeds 4 cloves garlic 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (I like to use red pepper flakes instead) 2-1/2 cups vinegar 2-1/2 cups water 1/4 cup canning/pickling salt Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. To each pint, add 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic and 1 head dill. Combine remaining ingredients in a large sauce pot (non-reactive, like an enamel or glass pot). Bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield: about 4 pints/2 quarts Ready in 2 weeks. Spicy Beans are made the same way except additional garlic and hot peppers are added. Usually an entire sliced jalapeno or 1/2-1/4 of habanero. "
Dawn on Friday 16 July 2010
"Frank - my experience with bitter cucumbers is that they do not pickle well. Mine have been soggy and had a bitter after taste. Having said that, my neighbor pickles cucumbers, including bitter ones and has had good luck."
Dawn on Friday 16 July 2010
"Dawn.Many thanks for recipe.Will now get all the ingredients together and have a go. I've got Runners,Butter and French beans coming on a treat now so might well do a mixed bean and peppers ( which are also making an appearance). Will keep you posted in about a month..Again MANY Thanks.Mel......ps Just remember I've got dried Black Eyed and Pinto as well!!! "
melboy on Sunday 18 July 2010
"Dawn, I've got cayenne and scotch bonnet chillies in the greenhouse.Sounds like this could be a really FUN time !!!!Mel."
melboy on Sunday 18 July 2010
"To Everyone, I think one of the greatest things about this site is the forum.Its great to get ideas and tips AND recipes (Dawn!) from Barbara and the other members "across the pond"! Can't wait to renew my subscription ! lol. So many thanks to Barbara and Jeremy for a great site.But also to ALL MEMBERS! Happy Growing and my your veg flourish!"
melboy on Sunday 18 July 2010
"I canned my first batch of dill pickles, and there are tiny bubbles that have formed on the ingredients in the jars...is this normal, or did i do something wrong? It happened after i processed 15 min in a heat bath...thanks all!"
Mandy on Wednesday 21 July 2010
"Mandy, the bubbles won't hurt anything except your chances of winning a blue ribbon at the fair. Even when you tease out bubbles with a table knife before closing up the jars, they sneak in there. Pickles with very light syrups are especially prone to having little bubbles. Don't worry. They will be great."
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 23 July 2010
"Hi folks. I am having a bubble issue as well. I have made bread and butter pickles in the past and they were great. This summer I had a bunch of jalapenos, so I added them as well. I don't think my issue is air bubbles remaining trapped from packing the jars (though I do usually have some of that). I think my tiny bubbles are from fermentation. Is this still OK? If indeed it is fermentation, will the jars eventually burst? I checked the lids and they are sealed tight. I first noticed the tiny bubbles after a couple of weeks. Please! Any thoughts? Thanks!"
Greg on Monday 26 July 2010
"Greg, if you sealed the jars in a waterbath canner for at least 10 minutes, the yeasts that cause fermentation should be very dead. If they are not, the jars will blow their seals eventually and you should chuck the batch. First I would experiment by putting a jar in the fridge. If the bubbling stops, then you probably have something going on (fermentation stops when it's cold). I also make fermented pickles, and they come to a standstill when refrigerated. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 26 July 2010
"I canned dilly beans and they have floated to the top of the jar. This causes the very tops of the beans to be above the brine. Is this safe to eat? I made 41 pints so it will be stored for some time before eating."
Sher on Saturday 31 July 2010
"Sher, I have been making pickled beans for many years and have never had them not turn out when they float. I have learned to really pack the beans into quart jars and don't have many that float anymore. We picked almost 50 gallons of beans this morning so we are going to be pickling away today! "
Dawn on Saturday 31 July 2010
"Help! I made 14 quarts of garlicy dill pickles and opened 4 of them and they are bubbling like soda. What is going on???"
juliete on Friday 20 August 2010
"Juliete, your pickles are fermenting, and the bubbles are given off by the yeasts. Something went wrong if you're not making fermented pickles on purpose. If they smell and taste good, you can switch them to a fresh brine and refrigerate and eat them, or can them in a water bath canner. If they smell and taste funky or have gone soft and slimy, you must throw them out. Happens to all of us."
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 20 August 2010
"I took a first attempt at pickles yesterday, hot liquid, jars, processed in hot bath 15 minutes. But this am there is air in there. Like a 1/4 inch, but it is sealed. do I have to pitch them? can I put them in the fridge? Help! The book I bought says not to reopen and top off, but it does not say the are fine either? Anyone?"
Wendy Demello on Sunday 22 August 2010
"Wendy, a half inch head space is preferable in water bath recipes, but I have seen some that call for only 1/4 inch, so I think you are fine. Give the pickles a few weeks to develop their flavors, and they should be wonderful. "
Barbara Pleasant on Sunday 22 August 2010
"Barbara, thank you so much for the information. So very disappointing. Any suggests for next year? I received the recipe from a friend and she said it has happened to her too on occasion. Is the vinegar possibly one of the causes?? Thank you again. "
Juliete on Monday 23 August 2010
"I made my first rye bread fermented pickles. They are stored in small jars in the garage with avg temps in the mid forties. As I opened a jar it made a loud popping sound so I did a second one and it had an effervescant bubbling like champagne. They look good and smell like they should but are they safe to eat? I have never seen the fine bubbles on my friends pickles like this. Thank You."
pauline on Sunday 12 December 2010
"I haven't made rye bread fermented pickles, but all "live" pickles have a bit of effervescence. If they smell right and taste right...In my experience, fermented pickles get white with slime when they've gone bad."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 13 December 2010
"Love Grow Veg and will be long time subscriber. Would be great to add a Recipe section for new dish ideas. Not being a lover of pickles (gasp), I am experimenting with cold cucumber soups and tzatziki. "
Katie on Sunday 17 July 2011
"Hello everyone, last year I had a problem with my dill pickles and I am wondering if it may have been the vinegar that I was using. Are there guidelines on the type of vinegar I should purchase for the pickles? All of the ingredients actually, are there certain standards for the ingredients? Thank you."
Juliete on Monday 25 July 2011
"Vinegar can be bought in various dilutions, but for pickles inexpensive white or cider vinegar (5 percent acidity) is the strength upon which pickling recipes are based. I always buy fresh bottles for pickling season, and slosh the old stuff on weeds growing in walkway crevices. In hot sun, old vinegar makes a good weed killer."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 25 July 2011
"I would like to do some bread and butter pickles using my mother's recipe. Can I still get cukes in Sept to do this?"
Cindy on Sunday 31 July 2011
"Cindy, you may need to ask around at your local farmer's market. Check your GrowVeg planner, but unless you're in Zone 8 or warmer, there is not enough time left in the growing season for planting cukes for pickling. Heaviest production comes two weeks after the first fruits come on, which adds to the required growing time for cukes. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 1 August 2011
"Need some help/tips; I used Mrs.Wages canning and pickling salt and canned some cucumbers 2 weekends ago. I had cukes of all sizes, sterilized my jars, didn't soak the slices first, just put them in the jars with some fresh dill and a pinch of garlic salt then filled each jar with the mrs.wages/water/vinegar mixture. Boiled each jar the correct time and placed a few in my fridge and the rest in my pantry. Just opened 2 jars - 1 was the recipe above, the other had a kosher dill salt/spices mixture instead of the mrs.wages. . . . .they taste awful! The one that was made with the kosher recipe smells like it's closer to pickles then the other but I tasted them and Yuck. Any tips? I don't want to waste all of our wonderful cucumbers. . .not sure where I went wrong. "
Shannon on Sunday 7 August 2011
"Let's back up to "didn't soak the slices first." Big mistake. Soaking in cold salt water for a minimum of two hours is a required step. The salt impregnates the tissues and forces out excess moisture. I cannot speak to the products you used, because I have always had excellent results using vinegar, water, sugar, refined sea salt, and spices from my garden or the health food store. I must add that pickles take at least a couple of months to pick up their full flavors. Don't throw them out yet. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 8 August 2011
"Thank you Barbara; I have to say, the soaking of the slices isn't something I've consistently seen in the various recipes that I've reviewed (that seems to be portrayed as a preferrence) but I see why that's a necessary step. I'll start soaking with the next batch I make and wait a few months on those that I already canned. Fingers crossed!"
Shannon on Tuesday 9 August 2011
"Help! I made some pickles on Saturday, but I didn't pack my cucumbers tight enough. The jars all sealed but several of the cucumbers are significantly floating above the solution. Should I open them, repack them, and reprocess? Leave as is and invert the jars every other day? Store in the refrigerator? I hate having all that hard work go to waste. 17 quarts and 6 pints. :("
Tammy Jo on Monday 15 August 2011
"Tammy, as long as you followed a recipe, including recommended processing times, your pickles should be fine. Getting a firm pack comes with experience -- loose pickles are usually just fine. If you like, you can turn the jars upside down in a "no pickle left behind" maneuver to get control of the floaters. Turn the jars right side up in a week or so, and forget about them until it's time to taste them in a couple of months."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 15 August 2011
"Made dill pickles using pickling salt instead of kosher salt, what is the major difference? I used 1/3 cup in my recipe for a gallon of pickles and they are way toooo salty. Should I not use pickling salt? I am not processing in a hot water bath just sitting on the counter for 4 days and then putting in the refrigerator. "
Juliete on Monday 15 August 2011
"Dear Barbara, Thank you so much! What a wonderful thing you are doing with this Blog! I am so thankful I have come across this. I will do as you recommend. Thanks for being gracious. With experience, I hope to definitely pack better next time! :)"
Tammy Jo on Monday 15 August 2011
"Juliet, with refrigerator pickles you can be much more flexible with your recipe because the acid balance need not be matched to canning requirements. By all means rinse off your too-salty pickles and repack them in a new brine. Fermented pickles do need a very salty brine, but you don't make them in the fridge. Pickling salt may measure a little differently because of its fine grind, but salt is salt. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 16 August 2011
"Thank you so much. I will give it another try with the next batch of cukes."
Juliete on Tuesday 16 August 2011
"Hi, We opened a jar of pickles that were canned last year and there was white and yellowish scum/residue on them. Are they safe to eat or not? Also, we canned some pickles today and last week without putting them in a water bath afterwards. Is it necessary to put them in a water bath or not? Thanks in advance!"
Eyowen on Tuesday 16 August 2011
"Yes, the waterbath interlude is required for pickles intended for long-term storage, in order to sterilize them all the way through. Sadly, you must discard pickles or any other home canned foods that look or smell funny when you open them. You wouldn't eat it if you bought that jar at the store, would you? Chin up, failures become far fewer with experience."
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 17 August 2011
"if i forgot salt in my canning pickles will this hurt the pickles?"
veronica on Wednesday 24 August 2011
"Veronica, if you soaked the cut cucumbers in salt for several hours or overnight before making your pickles, they probably picked up enough salt. However, if the pieces were not pre-salted and you included no salt in the brine, they won't taste the way they should. "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 24 August 2011
"should i undo and redo them (i have enough lids,and time)"
veronica on Wednesday 24 August 2011
"I think the extra processing time might turn them to mush. If by chance these are very sweet pickles, they may be just fine. Another option: if you taste the pickles and they have no character due to lack of salt, you can drain them and cover them with a sugar syrup, thus turning them into sweet refrigerator pickles."
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 24 August 2011
"I have just started canning and several of my questions (brought on by a paranoid fear of poisoning my wife and family) have been answered on this site, thanks! I do have one question I haven't seen addressed on this or other sites. After sterilizing my jars and lids I have found that for some large batches of pickels and relishes I have more jars filled than I can fit in my water bath at one time. How long am I safe to leave the filled and capped jars at room temp before the water bath? It is sometimes upwards of an hour or more by the time the water comes back to a boil and I process 3-4 batches of jars. Thanks for your help."
Ken on Sunday 28 August 2011
"Hi, Thought I would add my recent first pickle experience. I taught summer camp and we had a garden. Upon showing the kids baby cukes, one child said, "Those aren't cucumbers, they're pickles!" So, of course we had to make pickles! This being my first garden, I was scared off by the aspect of 'canning.' Plus, we only had a couple weeks of summer left. Then, I found this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/refrigerator-dill-pickles-68396 The kids were able to be involved with the process AND we had pickles in 3 days! They were perfect! Crunchy, and well balanced flavor. We didn't use the grape leaves, and I used minced garlic from a jar, for convenience. I am not knocking canning, but for anyone that wants a quick and easy version this one is great. Thanks for all the great info! I just found this site yesterday and am learning so much!"
Caitlin on Sunday 28 August 2011
"Ken, you can hold warm jars in a warm oven through one processing cycle, but if you're having to hold them longer I would split the work into two batches. You don't want those rubber seals to go so soft that they seal, release, and then seal again, a risk that increases the longer they are held....Caitlin, great story and tips! I want to add that other veggies make good refrigerator pickles, too, especially summer squash, snap beans, beets and turnips. snaiever "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 29 August 2011
"Thank you for this! I made my first huge batch of pickles (I love a good dill pickle and the brine is a life saver when you have a sore throat) this year. After reading a bit more after finishing I am now in a nervous panic every time someone eats one. Descriptions of botulism and food poisoning have killed my confidence in canning. I used the ball fresh pack recipe and processed a little longer than the recipe called for. As of about two months, all seals are good and the brine seems only a little discolored/cloudy from the garlic we put in. My husband tried them first and we waited 24 hours. He was fine (I know, I was freaking out) but they ended up as "bread and butter" pickles. (I don't like this variety). He says they smell and look fine. Is "bad" really obvious? That's my fear, missing a "bad" food item."
Ailidh on Monday 12 December 2011
"One of the great things about pickles, compared to other canned items, is that they have a very low risk of going bad as long as the seals are good. The vinegar, salt, and sugar in published recipes create an unhospitable environment for microorganisms. Enjoy your pickles! If they are too sweet for your taste, drain off the liquid after you open a jar, and replace it with a 50:50 vinegar:water mix, or salt water (1 teaspoon per pint)."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 12 December 2011
"My first batch of pickles! I found a recipe and just tried it. Little did I know that fermented pickles are trickier. Anyway, I set them up in their brine and they've been fully submerged at room temp for two weeks (actually a couple days past that). I never did notice bubbles, but there would always be little air pockets at the top of my jar each morning when I went to skim off any scum. I've pulled them out and noticed just a tiny bit of white residue on a few of them. They smell and feel fine (firm, not slimy), and the white washes off... Are they ok? Next time I'll try something simpler."
Nadia on Thursday 2 February 2012
"In my experience, fermented pickles develop the white slime when they've gone too far, which often happens. If they are not yet slimy, you probably caught them in time. Carefully wash them off and put them in a clean jar with fresh salt water brine and enjoy. If the white stuff persists, I'd toss 'em. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 2 February 2012
"Yay!! Good to know. Turns out my husband ate 2 before I noticed. He's fine and says they taste great. Thank you for the response!! Going through this the first time, there are a lot of points where I was wondering if things were still going right. Time for my next batch! :)"
Nadia on Thursday 2 February 2012
"My father-in-law (passed away) made pickles the still had a cucumber taste. Anyone know how long to keep in the brine to aquire this taste. I have tried everything and they still have to much dill taste. Can anyone help."
Ron on Wednesday 9 May 2012
"Thanks for posting this. i really enjoyed reading this. http://www.lamorena.com.mx/ "
Pepper Production on Friday 18 May 2012
"I just recently made my first ever batch of garlic dills and they turned out soft... I soaked the cucumbers in salt water with ice for 4 hours, followed a recipe for the vinegar mixture and processed them in a water bath canner for 10 mins. Any advice on where I might have gone wrong? Thanks!"
Anne-Marie on Monday 27 August 2012
"If they were whole pickles, it may have helped to soak them in salt and ice longer. Some recipes says to repack them in new salt for three days! For crispness the option commercial picklers is to use calcium chloride, a salt sold as Pickle Crisp. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 27 August 2012
"I canned aprox. 30 qts. of cold pack dill pickles this year . I have found 3 jars that have , like a white powder at the bottom of the jars . what is it , and are they safe to eat ?"
Phil Kennard on Sunday 27 January 2013
"Phil, what do you mean by cold pack dills? Fermented pickles make a white residue, but pickles canned in a brine and sealed in a waterbath or steam canner should not. It is always safe to take a taste and then decide. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 28 January 2013
"Well , I always hated how my pickles would not stay crunchy when processed in the water bath , a friend gave me his mom's recipe or maby procedure would be a better term . scrub pickles , wash and sterilize jars , keep jars hot in boiling water , also have brine boiling and ready , pull out 1 jar , quickly pack it with dill , pickles and garlic , pore in boiling brine 1/2 in from top , install sterilized lid and ring . I have done it this way for 3 yrs. now , last year I had 2 jars out of about 30 do this same thing . this year I did 34 jars and had 3 jars have the white ( it looks like power ) at the bottom . I did get brave yesterday and tried one out of one of the jars , It didn't taste bad or smell bad ! It just seems weird to me that only 3 out of 34 did this ! I was hoping you or someone would know of this and what it was ! Thank you , Phil "
Phil Kennard on Tuesday 29 January 2013
"I think uneven heating is a risk in cold pack canning, but I also wonder about possible salt residue from your brine. Next year, mark your last several jars and see if those are the ones that show residue. The residue from natural fermentation is white, but fermentation in the jars would have blown the seals and the brine would look cloudy. You could put one of the questionable jars in a warm place for a few days and see if anything starts fizzing."
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 29 January 2013
"Ok , I will ! Thank you Barbara !!"
Phil Kennard on Tuesday 29 January 2013
"I made 90 quarts of dill pickles and all of them became extremely wrinkle after processing them in a water bath for 10 minutes. Do you know why this might have happened? Thank you!"
Julie on Thursday 6 June 2013
"90 quarts!?! That's a lot of pickles. Did you give them a thorough salt soak before packing them in brine and processing them? This is absolutely necessary to get crisp pickles."
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 7 June 2013
"Yes I did. I have made these pickles for the past 20 years and never had this happen. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this before. "
Julie on Saturday 8 June 2013
"Julie, because you are so experienced and know all the sensory signs of pickle-making, it makes me wonder if there was something about the water, like an unusual pH."
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 8 June 2013
"Hello. I wanted to ask for an advice. yesterday we made some dill pickles by the regular canning salt+5%vinegar + water +mustard seeds etc etc... boiling the solution puring in jars over cucumbers. the fresh cucumbers looked packed.then i processed the jars for 25 min. im using weck jars. results are that inside jars seems to be a gravity free space. even mustard seed are swimming like spacemen. its a first time i use weck. and first time i see anything like that. anyone can help me here please?"
Ingrid on Thursday 20 June 2013
"Are you saying that everything is floating in the jars? When I have had that happen it has been from overprocessing, which is why I make sure everything is really hot before it goes into the jars and the canner. I never do raw pack because I can't get the pickles tight enough in the jars, and it adds to processing time. And, though the USDA is not on board, I have found that steam canners are easier, faster, and more efficient to use compared to waterbath canners. "
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 21 June 2013
"Help! I sliced up some cucumbers, onions, and peppers to go into a vinegar and sugar mix to make our version of refrigerator pickles, or cucumber salad. I forgot and left the whole container out without refrigerating last night. Do you think the cucumber mix is still okay, or is there a chance that it has bacteria has grown, and I need to toss."
Denise Straight on Monday 8 July 2013
"Denise, I would soak the veggies in salt for a few hours to perk them up, then rinse well and cover with a boiling hot pickling solution. Between the salt, heat, vinegar and refrigeration, I think the pickles will be fine."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 8 July 2013
"I made bread and butter pickles yesterday. Soaked the sliced cucumbers and onions in coarse Kosher salt for 3 hr. Rinsed several times. Even tried soaking in ice water for a few minutes but was unable to get rid of the excess salty taste. How can I keep from having excess salt in the cucumbers?"
Mary Luse on Friday 19 July 2013
"Mary, you may be surprised at how the salty taste disappears once the pickles cure for a few weeks. One of the things that makes b and b pickles so good is that all three flavors -- salt, sugar and vinegar -- come through in the finished pickles. You did the right thing with the thorough rinsing. Wait at least a month to taste what I think will be wonderful pickles."
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 19 July 2013
"I tried for my first time ever yesterday, making pickles. I used a recipe that never mentioned boiling/heating the vinegar, and never mentioned putting the jars in a water bath. So I ended up sanitising the jars before use, and I stuffed my spices, pickles and onions in the jar and filled it about 3/4 way with vinegar and the rest of the way with water. I used the Ball jars. I stuck them on my counter like it called for after i sealed them. But then I was reading more things about pickle making and heat processing and all that and I saw health warnings and now am freaked out. I stuck them in the refrigerator after reading this info yesterday. I tried one of them about an hour go and it tasted really good. But im scared now that I made a hazardous batch of pickles. Should I throw them away and try this all over? Or will they be okay? It was my very first try making pickles so I really didn't know much of what I was doing. :( "
Stassia on Monday 22 July 2013
"Stassia, as long as you used at least half vinegar,your pickles will have an acceptable pH that helps prevent the growth of microorganisms. One question is how long you processed the pickles. If you start with them cold, you need to add time to make sure the jars get heated through all the way. If you don't want to take chances, keep this batch in the fridge and eat them as refrigerator pickles. Also get a better recipe!"
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 22 July 2013
"I am making 13 day pickles and have the cucumbers soaking in vinegar and spices at this point. The cucumbers are to be sliced and layered with sugar on Wednesday. Will it damage the cucumbers to leave them soaking two extra days. I need to be out of town and therefore would like to complete the pickles when I return."
Libby on Monday 29 July 2013
"I don't know the recipe you are following, but if the cucumbers are actively fermenting, a two day delay could be harmful. This is not likely if they are soaking in vinegar and spices, because vinegar does not allow active fermentation. Assuming you are making pickles soured with vinegar rather than fermenting them in salt brine, the two days won't matter as long as the cucumbers stay cool until you return."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 29 July 2013
"I have a question, if a recipe is for a refrigerator pickle can you proces them in hot water to make them shelf stable? Thank you"
juliete on Monday 29 July 2013
"Juliete, the important variable is the vinegar to water ratio, plus sugar if it's part of the recipe. Compare your brine ingredients to those in a recipe intended to be canned. If they match you can give it a try. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 30 July 2013
"I just found your site and love it. Thank you for all the information you have provided. I have recently started fermenting and we love it but I must can most of the pickles as I don't have a cellar to store them or enough room in the refrigerator. When I filled the last 6 quarts of sour dill pickles I canned (salt brine) they were filled to 1/2 an inch from the top with brine...until I took them our of the water bath. There is now about an inch of uncovered pickles in most of the jars. The jars sealed fine and I processed them for 15 minutes. Do you think they will be safe or should I open and add brine and reprocess? I wanted to send these to my brother and his sons as they love sour pickles but am worried they aren't safe. Thanks in advance for your help."
Laura on Tuesday 30 July 2013
"Love love love the info here I'm an avid pickle maker year round but there seems to be an on going ? In my home and that is the difference between kosher and regular dilled pickles as well the ratio between using kosher salt if one runs out of pickling salt Im sure this will put this quandary to rest here on the farm thank you Robin"
Robin Congdon on Thursday 1 August 2013
"Laura, I have made fermented pickles several times but never canned them. I suspect that the canning process softened the pickles, so that even if they were very tightly packed going in, they lost that tightness in processing. I agree that a full inch is too much air exposure, but reprocessing may turn the pickles to mush. I would pack them into clean jars and refrigerate them until all are eaten. If you did not use fresh brine for canning, I would drain off the old stuff and make a new salt solution, too. "
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 2 August 2013
"Robin, discussions of salt can go on forever, and the important thing is proper measurement. Most recipes are based on finely ground salt, so grind rather than source is essential to success. In pickles, kosher refers to a style of pickle-making that includes both dill and garlic in the brine. It would be most proper to call them kosher style pickles. "
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 2 August 2013
"I have found your site the most helpful on the internet so Thank You for your time and effort. I have just finished my first batch of Polish Dills using the Mrs. Wages Package mix plus added fresh garlic cloves and dill heads per request from the family. Now I am seeing the liquid in the jars is not clear! I have made Mrs Wages bread and butter pickles in the past and the liquid in jars was always clear. Is the batch bad? All jars have sealed but it is not an attractive appearance to have a cloudy liquid. I did do the salt and ice soak overnight and rinsed well per your suggestion. This was not included in the the package instructions could the salting have changed the outcome?"
Lucie on Monday 5 August 2013
"I have found your site the most helpful on the internet so Thank You for your time and effort. I have just finished my first batch of Polish Dills using the Mrs. Wages Package mix plus added fresh garlic cloves and dill heads per request from the family. Now I am seeing the liquid in the jars is not clear! I have made Mrs Wages bread and butter pickles in the past and the liquid in jars was always clear. Is the batch bad? All jars have sealed but it is not an attractive appearance to have a cloudy liquid. I did do the salt and ice soak overnight and rinsed well per your suggestion. This was not included in the the package instructions could the salting have changed the outcome?"
Lucie on Monday 5 August 2013
"The most common causes of cloudiness are bacterial spoilage, hard water, or anti-caking ingredients used in table salt. There are two Mrs. Wages Polish Dill products. If you accidentally used the one for refrigerator pickles, it could have contained too many salts. I suggest opening the cloudiest jar to see if the pickles smell and taste normal, or are they mushy and slimy? If it is a small batch and they seem okay, you may want to drain off the liquid, add fresh brine (50:50 water and vinegar for already pickled pickles) and store them in the fridge until eaten. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 8 August 2013
"I doubled my dilled pickle recipe but not the salt it was 16 cups water 6 cups of vinegar and I only put 3/4 cup salt then i prossed them will they be alright? "
Michele on Monday 19 August 2013
"My daughter, daughter in law and granddaughter and I did up 45 quarts of dill pickles yesterday. The lids all snapped, thank goodness, but this morning when I was checking them over I noticed that when I inverted some of the jars there were whitish air bubbles. Is this a problem? A redo? We used pickling vinegar, Sifto coarse salt, and fresh garlic buds. Now I'm wondering if the salt is the problem??? Maybe I should have got the real pickling salt? Please help."
Ruth on Monday 26 August 2013
"Michele, I think your pickles will be fine. Close call, though, with a less than 50-50 vinegar to water ratio...Ruth, I agree that impurities from the salt are the prime suspect. As long as you used the proper amount of vinegar and salt I think the pickles will be fine. Any white residue should eventually accumulate at the bottom of the jars."
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 28 August 2013
"I am making a 13 day bread and butter pickle. I have soaked my pickles 10 days in salt water and 1 day in alum water. I did not have a crock so I used a sealed (clean) storage container. The pickles small bad though. I want to know if they are okay or not before I make up the syrup to go in the jars as it takes a lot of sugar and vinegar and I don't want to use all of that and waste it."
Judy Morris on Tuesday 10 September 2013
"If the cucumbers smell bad, it's time to abandon ship. I have made salt fermented pickles many times and they were always ready within 7 days, so I can't imagine what you have after two weeks. Most bread and butter recipes are quickies, with only a few hours of salt soaking before the pickles are canned in a sugar and vinegar syrup. "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 11 September 2013
"Hi Barbara, I just stumbled upon your website and its great very informative. I made my first ever dill pickles approximately 4 weeks ago. I opened a jar on the weekend when we had guests over. The pickles in that jar were great! Tasted perfectly! I then opened another jar and those pickles came out way too salty. So salty that you can't even eat them. We then tried another jar those were very salty as well. I'm now nervous that all the pickles I've made didn't turn out right. Is there anyway to save these pickles and remove that salty taste? As I mentioned they have been soaking in the brine for approximately 4 weeks. "
Laura on Monday 16 September 2013
"Laura, I assume these are not fermented pickles, but rather include vinegar and are processed to seal the jars? The flavors will continue to develop over time, but when you open a too-salty jar, it's fine to drain off the brine and replace it with a half and half mixture of vinegar and water. If the pickles are holding too much salt, the new brine will draw out some of it within a day or two, in the fridge. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 17 September 2013
" I'm making my Mom's receipt of tongue pickels. I was suppose to soak over night in salt and water but I put them going this morning . I was going to process tonight but something has come up. So would it be ok to drain and put ice over them and leave overnight."
Karen on Saturday 21 September 2013
"Sorry to be slow in responding, but as long as you keep the cukes in cold salt water, you can hold them up to two days. Rinse well to remove excess salt before processing. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 24 September 2013
"Help! We made pickles about a month ago. We did the hot water bath, salt, garlic, dillweed, pickling spices, pickle crisp, NO vinegar. Some of the tops popped ( lots of bubbling and I have read on above posts this could be from not boiling long enough to kill yeast??). We put them all in the fridge. We opened a jar tonight and they are nice and crisp, but way bland, as if there was not enough salt. My question is...can we fix these? Can we add more salt and keep them in the fridge? We don't want to loose all the pickles! And they are not good the way they are. "
Michelle on Wednesday 25 September 2013
"Michelle, without vinegar you did not have adequate acidity to suppress fermentation. If the salt concentration was in an acceptable range, you may have preserved them via slow fermentation (obviously some bacteria survived processing). The safety of rescuing the batch is questionable, but I would tend toward turning them into sliced sweets or bread and butter pickles packed with a sugar/vinegar syrup, then re-processing."
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 26 September 2013
"darn. Nobody in this house likes bread and butter pickles. Is there any other way?"
Michelle on Thursday 26 September 2013
"Thanks for all the valuable info. Last year was my first experience with pickles and salsa. I found that Mrs. Wages pickling supplies are a must to make the process easier. My husband's family came from a long line - generations of picklers. I was blown away when he told me mine were just as good if not better than the ones he grew up eating. Wal-mart carries Mrs. Wages spices. Good Luck...."
JW on Wednesday 11 June 2014
"Not sure if anyone knows this recipe but am scrambling to find it. My mom used to make pickles that she would soak cucumbers, onions in salt for 24 hours (I remember this because we would all dig in and eat some..lol). The pickles were in some liquid..vinegar or water but they were crispy and salty in taste. Anybody have this recipe?"
Karen on Monday 30 June 2014
"Karen, you should follow a published recipe for fresh dill pickles, which are made the way you describe. Here is the recipe from the National Home Food Preservation Center: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/quick_dill_pickles.html"
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 30 June 2014
"I made 30 Quarts of dill pickles a few days ago and opened a jar last night and they are too salty! Can I pour out the brine and mix up a new brine and re-can? Also, do I put them in a water bath again?"
Rene McCurry on Wednesday 30 July 2014
"Renee, reprocessing will probably turn your pickles to mush. If you wait a while, the salt in the pickles might not taste so strong - it's customary to wait 4-6 weeks to taste. Since you have so many, you could open a few quarts, drain them, and put in a fresh salt brine and keep them in the fridge. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 31 July 2014
"Barbara please help.After reading all the comments above I am worry about my pickles. I made my own pickles today for the first time in 15 years. I used my grand'ma recipe. I sterilized jars in the oven for 10 min at 250 C, I put lids in the boiling water. I boiled brine - just 1 ltr of boiling water and 3 tbsp of pickling salt (I made 16 jars in total) and 3 jars I made (ratio 6ltr of boiling water, one cup of pickling salt and one cup of vinegar).I put all my spices on the bottom of hot jars , then I put pickles and dill on top of the pickles, I covered them in brine so they were totally covered. I took the lids out of the boiled water and I sealed the jars. I turned the jars upside down for 2 hrs and left them on the counter. Out of 19 jars only 3 lids are not sealed. I didn't pack the pickles tide enough. After turning the pickles up side down now I am worry that some of the pickles on top moved and will not be covered in brine. Should I be worry? I can't see it because they are closed. I just made them today. Are they will be okay to eat? It looks like all 16 jars are sealed. I didn't not use the water bath method. All the pickles were covered in brine when I was closing the lids but since I turned them up side down, everything shifted. "
Krystyna on Thursday 14 August 2014
"I am worried about your pickles, too! The first batch with only salt in it, no vinegar, will probably start fermenting soon. I would pour out the salt water, make a proper pickling brine of half vinegar and half water, and process them in a waterbath. The second batch has way too much salt, so I'd probably redo that one, too. You do need to waterbath your pickles. The only ones that aren't processed are refrigerator pickles and fermented ones. Good luck! I learn a lot from every canning mistake I make. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 14 August 2014
"Thank you so much. How do I re do them. Do I have to wash all the pickles again or just poor the brine out and seal them again properly? "
Krystyna on Thursday 14 August 2014
"The salt water may have done your pickles some good by drawing out extra moisture. I would put the pickles in a colander or strainer, rinse them off with cool water, and rewash the jars. Why take chances? "
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 15 August 2014
"I need some pickle advice and the search brought me here. I just made some pickles last night and forgot to dillute the vinegar. I used vinegar, sugar, pickling salt, garlic, and a piece of dill. The mix tasted great but I did not dillute the vinegar. Will my pickles still turn out?? Thanks in advance for your help!"
Amanda on Wednesday 3 September 2014
"Thank you for all the great advice on pickling. I have a question. I made 95 quarts of pickles so I am hoping that they are all okay. I was making a double batch of brine but I forgot to double my salt. I used 3 quarts of water, 1 quart of white vinegar and 3/4 cup canning salt. It should have been 1 1/2 cups of canning salt. I gave them a hot water bath for 5 minutes. All my jars sealed and they look good. I usually let them sit for 6 weeks. Will they be safe to eat? I want to make sure they are safe since there are 5 families that will be eating these pickles. Thank you in advance for your expertise and help."
Tonya Wheeler on Sunday 7 September 2014
"Hi, just found your recipe. I put masala in my lasoda acchar so that i could keep it with masala fro 3 days but after one day i found bubbles in pot.What are those bubbles"
bushra batool on Monday 18 May 2015
"Is it really necessary to soak cucumbers in salt and ice for hours. I have been making pickles for about a year and never soak them before. Is this something that really needs to be done? What happens if I don't do this?"
Betty on Thursday 4 June 2015
"The salt soak removes some of the moisture from the cucumbers or other vegetables, so it is the most natural way to insure the pickles turn out crisp and flavorful. I never skip that step. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 4 June 2015
"So I feel stupid, but I made 18 quarts of pickles today and just realized I may have accidentally doubled the amount of water I was supposed to use for the brine. I remember using 10 cups of vinegar and 15 quarts of water. Will my pickles still turn out ok? We put 2 1/2 cups of salt, and no sugar. Help!"
Patricia on Saturday 4 July 2015
"Patricia, I share your concern that 10 cups of vinegar is not enough acidification for your pickles. Since you are not sure, you should open a jar and taste it. That's a lot of salt, never seen that much in a published recipe."
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 4 July 2015
"I'm a newb when it comes to pickling, and I don't know how big a mistake this is: I made my first batch of pickled radishes. Used a 2:1 vinegar to water brine, packed raw cucumber slices and spices into half-pint jars and poured hot brine over them. Water-bath canned them, but woke up this morning realizing I'd only processed them for 10 minutes in boiling water, rather than the 15 minutes the recipe called for. I don't want to kill anyone with hazardous radishes! Should I refrigerate them?"
Laurie on Tuesday 7 July 2015
"Laurie, if they are quarts I doubt that adequate heating took place in 10 minutes, but with pints or half pints you might be okay. The strong vinegar brine gives you a huge margin of safety, but do watch the jars for signs of seal failure. For a newb you are doing great -- just keep watching the details. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 7 July 2015
"Is it ok to salt brine my cucumbers more than 24 hours? I had something come up and I can't do my pickles tonight. Help!!!"
Penny on Monday 13 July 2015
"Sorry I missed your post, Penny. Yes, you can go more than 24 hours, but be sure to rinse and rinse to remove excess salt. Or, proceed with salt fermentation."
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 16 July 2015
"Thank you Barbara. "
Penny on Thursday 16 July 2015
"I made refrigerator pickles yesterday. I made 3 quarts and two pints and needed to make more solution. I realized on the second batch that after I had packed the jars, sealed and put them in the refrigerator that I had forgotten the canning salt. Is there something I should do? The only problem is that I cannot remember which pint jars were in the second mixture. Thank you. "
Sharon on Sunday 19 July 2015
"Help! just made 15 pts of pickles and do not have enough liquid left to cover them!what's the best thing i can do? they are crispy lime pickles"
Clarice Mott on Monday 20 July 2015
"After looking at a few online recipes, here you would make a brine of 2 cups vinegar to 2 cups sugar, and use that to top off the jars. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 21 July 2015
"Sorry to be pesky but I was just curious if you had an answer for me regarding my question of the omission of the canning salt on my second batch. Thank you. "
Sharon Taylor on Tuesday 21 July 2015
"So I soak cucumbers in salt the night before then put them in jars and cover with what?"
Karen on Wednesday 22 July 2015
"Sharon, because they are refrigerator pickles, you can open and taste each jar to separate the batches. The batch without salt will taste a little flat....Karen, you need to follow a published recipe in the interest of safety. The Ball Blue Book is very popular or you can use the recipes at the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/"
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 23 July 2015
"Thank you Barbara. So should I just add canning salt straight to the juice in the "flat" jars or just toss them altogether, or make a new juice mixture? Sorry. Kinda new at this. "
Sharon Taylor on Thursday 23 July 2015
"Refrigerator pickles are so forgiving. I would simply put a teaspoon of salt into the jars you think got none, and jiggle the jars to mix. Then eat lots of pickles. I've been making potato salad with double pickles, using big chunks of refrigerator pickles. Delish! "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 23 July 2015
"Awesome. Thank you so much. These normally turn out great and get rave reviews!! I hated the thought of having to toss them out. Have a great day!!!"
Sharon Taylor on Thursday 23 July 2015
"I didn't see this question yet, but if I missed it, apologies. I am not new to home preserving (water bath canning) but it's been a while. I recently made batches of different pickles, all according to "the rules". All the jars that sealed are stored in cupboard, which now smells faintly like pickles when I open the door. I can't remember if this used to happen before, or if I have a rogue jar. I have checked all the seals (again) and the headspaces and can't see anything amiss. Should I be concerned? "
Joyce on Sunday 2 August 2015
"We canned pickles on Saturday afternoon and we didn't notice that many of the seals weren't tight like they should be until Monday morning. Is it safe to dump the brine, add newly boiled brine to the jars, and hot water bathe them again? Or do we need to discard the pickles along with the brine? Thanks much."
Jimmy on Monday 3 August 2015
"Joyce, you are right to use your nose to sniff out problems, but if you have checked the seals twice it could be a bit of brine picked up from the countertop on the bottom of a jar? If you do have a rogue jar, the smell will get stronger...Jimmy, if the jars did not seal despite proper processing, you can eat the pickles as refrigerator pickles, or process them again with new lids. You don't need new brine, but might have soft pickles from double processing."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 3 August 2015
"Thanks, Barbara. That's the answer we were hoping for. We appreciate it."
Jimmy on Monday 3 August 2015
"Thank you Barbara. Appreciate your counsel. Good point about brine on the outside, despite my best attempts. I'll keep my eye (and nose!) on it. "
Joyce on Monday 3 August 2015
"Hi! I made dill pickles yesterday. A few hours after I processed them I noticed that the ends I had cut off are starting to form this white stuff. And I did notice some of them are covered in little bubbles. Are they still okay? What is the white stuff? "
Jackie on Monday 10 August 2015
"All over the net I keep seeing recipes that say you must process the jars in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. The way our family makes them, we NEVER process them. Once we pour the brine over the pickles (filled completely to the top) we put on the lids, and place them upside down until they cool. We make sure all the caps have dimpled and sealed, and that's it. Are they safe? We've been eating pickles made this way our whole lives... Now I've been reading, I'm concerned that all the recipes say you have to boil them after canning... What do you think?"
cory adams on Wednesday 12 August 2015
"Jackie, to see white residue a day after canning is weird. Did the jars seal? If so, give them a shake and see if the white stuff falls to the bottom of the jars. It could be salts or impurities from salt or water....Cory, you are describing the old method called open kettle canning, which of course works if jars and brine are hot, and the brine is so salty or acidic that microbes can't grow in it. The USDA says it's a no-no, and recommends spending the extra time processing the pickles. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 13 August 2015
"I am making a batch of sweet chunk pickles which start with 2 weeks of soaking in brine followed by vinegar/sugar/spice bag x 4 days before packing into jars on last day. The final 4 days include removing the syrup and boiling it before replacing it over the pickles/spice bag. I have to be out of town on the day they are to go into jars. Is it ok to leave them sitting in syrup, or should I boil the liquid a 5th time before placing them in jars a day later than recommended? My husband can boil the syrup an extra time, but he isn't ready to can them alone."
Brenda Clemens on Friday 14 August 2015
"Brenda, I would skip one of the boiling sessions between days 2 and 4, so you don't risk overdoing things. Good luck! "
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 14 August 2015
"I have been making pickled beans for many years with no problems. For some reason this year, I forgot to put the salt in the brine. They have been resting for 2 weeks now. Will they be safe to eat? Should I toss them all? Can they be saved?"
Anne Brodie on Thursday 20 August 2015
"Anne, if your recipe included more vinegar than water, the brine is so acidic that the salt was mostly about flavor rather than food safety. As you open each jar, you can add a little salt to correct the seasonings."
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 21 August 2015
"I want to make dilly beans with some dragon beans that we grew. I made dilly beans many years ago and they turned out so salty. All the recipes I've looked up appear to have a hefty amount of salt. Any tips? "
Shauna Vincent on Monday 24 August 2015
"I have a question, can you pre make the pickling liquid before hand say the night before? I have limited time every day so I can't spend the entire day canning. I was thinking of making 2 gallons a day or two before and boiling my beets another day, then doing the canning following the water bath method. "
James Elliott on Wednesday 26 August 2015
"If my recipe calls for 10 minute cold pack, does that mean the canning jars don't have to be put in the boiling water process? HELP"
della on Thursday 27 August 2015
"Question. I have some fresh basil that I want to take on vacation for Caprese Salad. When should I pick and how should I store? Refrigerate or not? Thank you"
Sharon Taylor on Thursday 27 August 2015
"With respect to pre-making the pickling liquid, I think that as long as it, the beets, and the jars are hot when you are ready to can, it should be okay. For the cold pack, I think that means that the produce is put into the jars uncooked. However, the jars still need to be processed in a hot water bath, or however you process. Re: fresh basil, it doesn't travel well, but I would suggest keeping the dry leaves on their stems, then putting them in a container that seals, and keeping them cool and dry. I have put them in a ziplock bag and sucked out the air before sealing. That might give you a day, no guarantees. "
Joyce N. on Thursday 27 August 2015
"I bought a jar of homemade pickles at church and left them in my car for over 3 weeks. It has been in temperatures of close to 100 degrees...I just remembered them the other day and so I quickly brought them inside and put them in the fridge. Can I still eat them or should I just throw them out?"
Ann on Tuesday 1 September 2015
"Ann, they are probably fine to eat, but I would not keep them very long because they may go soft before their time. "
Barbara Pleasant on Sunday 6 September 2015
"I pickled four jars of pickling cucumbers by pouring a mix of boiling water and vinegar into quart jars and processing the sealed jars in boiling water. The cucumbers were purchased at the farmers market and I pickled them the day I purchased them. I did not cut off the blossom end. Six weeks later, the pickles are shriveled, squishy, and the water is cloudy. I have eaten a few of them, but now am worried that maybe I should throw them away. What do you suggest? Thank you!"
Amy on Thursday 10 September 2015
"Amy, if the water is cloudy there is some kind of fermentation going on, which is not good. One of the reasons cucumbers are often soaked in a salt brine before pickling is to remove some moisture so they will be crisp. Next time, if you want to make quick pickles, try refrigerator or freezer pickles, covered in another blog. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 10 September 2015
"Thanks, Barbara. Do I need to throw out this batch of pickles?"
Amy on Thursday 10 September 2015
"quick question ... I made Sweet beets last night, processed them in my water boiler, they all sealed then I realized I forgot to put the salt in them so I put them in the fridge so they don't spoil. Should I dump them out, make new brine and re can them? Te recipe was 2 cups water, 4 cups cider vinegar, 2 cups sugar, cloves and cinnamon and 1.5 tablespoons of salt .. which I forgot. Suggestions?"
Tina on Monday 14 September 2015
"Tina, the salt in your recipe was for flavor rather than food safety. The vinegar covers you on acidity, so don't worry. Your beets should be delicious."
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 15 September 2015
"I made pickled beets but I forgot to put the sugar in. Will it hurt not having the sugar added?"
Pearl Taylor on Saturday 19 September 2015
"Hi Barbara, I just stumbled here and love the site! Question for you: I made a batch of pickles about a month ago that required first salting the cucumbers and letting them sit out overnight to draw out excess water. I layered them in a deep dish and salted each layer, then covered the dish in plastic wrap. The next day, I did not have time to go through the process of pickling so I left them out again (at room temperature, on the counter) - on the third day when I went to can them, some of the slices smelled a bit funky so I tossed those, but I thought the rest were salvageable, so I went ahead with my recipe. That was a month ago. All the seals are still tight on the jars, but I am still worried that some of the slices could have been spoiled when I canned them. Are they safe to eat if they taste fine when I open the jars in a few months?? I'm super paranoid. "
Laura on Wednesday 23 September 2015
"Pearl, as long as you used at least half vinegar (to water), your beets should be fine, but they will taste more like sour pickles....Laura, after a month it's fine to taste your pickles and decide for yourself. Canning partially fermented slices is not necessarily a safety problem in properly sealed jars because heat kills the microorganisms. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 24 September 2015
"Hello, I found a recipe online for pickling spicy beets, it has been several years since I have pickled and when the recipe called for salt - it didn't occur to me they meant pickling salt so I used table salt. It wasn't until after I had canned the beets that I discovered way down in the comments that recipe was supposed to have used pickling salt. Now I am researching what I can do. I'm not concerned about it looking cloudy because the beets are so red, but I am wondering if I should open them and redo the brine. I just made them today. Thanks for any insight you might have on the poor choice of table salt use in pickling."
Kim on Wednesday 17 August 2016
"Kim, I would not worry about this one bit. In a canned pickle with a clearish brine minerals from salt might be a perfection point, but not with beets. Besides, many people don't care about a bit of mineral residue and use sea salt these days. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 23 August 2016
"I just have a question..my cucumbers are turning out to be bitter. will turning them into pickles remove the bitterness? thanks, heather"
heather on Thursday 20 July 2017
"The bitter compounds in cucumbers are concentrated just under the rind, so first try peeling your cucumbers and putting them in a tasty marinade. They may taste great this way! Peeled cucumbers are fine to use in chopped, preserved relishes, but may be too soft for sliced pickles that are processed. It's hard to go wrong with refrigerator pickles. For recipes, please see our guide on Making Homemade Pickles Without Canning."
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 20 July 2017
"thank you so much. "
heather on Friday 21 July 2017
"I put my veggies to soak , put the salt on and forgot to cover with water , are my pickles garbage or can I add water and let them soak for a few hours? they did make some brime of their own but not enough to cover."
Dolly on Saturday 12 August 2017
"Dolly, you can simply rinse the veggies and continue with your recipe. They probably took up plenty of salt. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 12 August 2017
"If I run out of time when canning pickle relish, can I store my chopped up veggies in the refrigerator overnight and do the salt soaking and canning the next day? "
April on Wednesday 29 August 2018
"April, you can do that, or even better let the chopped vegetables sit in the salt solution overnight. "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 29 August 2018
"Ok thank you! I wasn't sure if they would be too salty if I let them soak too long. "
April on Wednesday 29 August 2018
"what kind of lids are in your picture? thx"
Sandra J Remson on Monday 15 June 2020
"Sandra, those are the new reusable plastic lids, which I have not yet tried personally -- not my photo. In the US there is the Tattler brand, but I think the ones in the picture are European. Look carefully and you will see that there is a canning lid under the plastic cap."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 15 June 2020

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