Sour pickles without sealing jars

jwr98August 28, 2012

My mother and grandmother use to make pickles so sour they would make you pucker and your eyes squint, just looking at them. Both have passed away and with them the recipe.

When I was a kid I helped my mother and remember some from that. What has me confused is most of the recipes I find in books or on the internet say to seal the jars. My mother never sealed her jars of pickles. Also, most say to use small cukes. My mother always used large cukes, probably 6-8" long, maybe more.

She made them in one gallon glass jugs from restaurants. I have one that still has the original dill pickle label on it.

I know she didn't seal them because after mixing everything together she would screw the cover on, set them in the cellar and tell us kids not to touch them, that it would take 6-8 weeks until they were ready.

Of course within a couple weeks we would open a jar to get a sample. Then the cover would be screwed back on.

There was never a problem with spoilage.

My aunt had a recipe using vinegar, sugar, salt, pickling spices and dry mustard. Her recipe says to use small cukes and to seal the jars.

Does anyone know of a recipe that allows sour pickles to be made using cider vinegar, without sealing the jars? This really has me puzzled.

Wouldn't the vinegar and salt preserve the pickles without sealing? Did my mother and grandmother have some little known secret?

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

There are many old family recipes around that have fallen by the wayside over the years due to safety concerns, advances in research, the discovery of new bacteria, and the fact that vinegar used to be much stronger than it is today.

Without seeing the exact recipe there is no way to know if your grandmother's recipe was safe or if you were just really lucky.

They may have been a fermented pickle packed in water and salt with no vinegar and if the proper amount of salt was used - no problem - except that by today's standards once they finished fermenting they would need to be 1) canned in sealed jars or 2) stored in the refrigerator.

Or they may have been a brined pickle (based on the info you gave there is no way to tell) and if so then their safety all depended on how much vinegar she used or if it was diluted with water and how cool the cellar was etc. but by today's standards they would need to be canned into sealed jars or immediately stored in the refrigerator and would have a limited storage life.

There are modern recipes available to do them either way available from NCHFP and the size of the cucumber is your choice although it will affect the finished quality - smaller "pickling" cukes giving the best quality.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 10:49PM
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