1st time canning pickles

Albie928August 16, 2011

I canned pickles two weeks ago but I didn't do a water bath because the recipe I was given didn't say to do it. The brine mixture was 2qts vinegar, 1qt water, and 1c canning salt. Do you think that is enough vinegar (acid) to make them safe or should I trash them and start over?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

With no processing they aren't safe for shelf storage. That is true regardless of the amount of vinegar used.

There is no vacuum in the jars. Since they are that old it is too late to treat them as refrigerator pickles or to reprocess them.

The recipe you used apparently wasn't a canning recipe since no processing was included in the instructions so they weren't intended to be canned but refrigerated instead.

The standard recommendation would be to dispose of them and to do so carefully, but the choice of course is yours.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 6:57PM
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If you used a hot jar and boiling liquid you leave them undisturbed for 24 hours then refrigerate and use within 3 months. That is the instructions I have in my Bernardin (same as Ball) dill pickle mix. I have so few pickling cukes coming off at one time that I can only do one pint per week; not worth firing up the big canner for. Luckily they are tasty enough that they won't HAVE to stick around long enough to expire anyway.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 1:29AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

That is a very different situation Trish. First, and most crucial, your packaged pickle mix has citric acid added to it. Citric acid creates a BIG difference in pH without affecting the flavor. Second, as far as we know these pickles were not refrigerated but have been sitting out since made.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 9:39AM
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Dave...there is a vacuum...the jars sealed. The jars were sterilized, packed, then filled with boiling brine mixture (recipe in previous post). I then immediately placed a lid that was in boiling water onto the jar and tightened with the metal ring. The jars sealed. Do you think that they are still unsafe? Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 5:43PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

There is a vacuum but it is a very weak vacuum, not comparable to a boiling water bath.

This method is called open kettle canning but it's a misnomer because the product isn't actually canned. It's just that the jar is sealed.

There're a number of such recipes around and there are people who swear by them. (I grew up with such a recipe but have abandoned the tradition.) However it doesn't follow current processing standards so it's totally up to you whether you do it or not.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 6:15PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Dave...there is a vacuum...the jars sealed.

Not a true vacuum. There is still air in the jar. Only processing forces the air out of the jar and THEN creates a vacuum.

As Carol said, this so-called open kettle type of canning - putting jars but no processing - hasn't been considered safe for long term shelf storage for many years. It's one thing to do it with acid foods like fruits but something else with low-acid foods like cukes.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 7:09PM
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Grrr...I'll dump the pickles and do it again...the right way! Oh well...I'll count it as a learning experience...would rather do it over than run a risk of anyone getting sick. Thanks to everyone for the info!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 8:14PM
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