New Member, New Canner, Pickle Concerns

terryannemSeptember 6, 2011

Sorry for the duplicate post, but I realized I put my original message at the end of another message thread.

Hello everyone. I am new to the forums as of today, and have been canning only a couple of seasons. I have been reading through a lot of the posts about pickle concerns, and I want to make sure mine are safe.

I used the Ball Flex batch pickle mix for both Bread and Butter and Dill pickles. I followed the recipes on the jars for the pickling liquid. But to a couple of the batches I added 1 or 2 sweet cherry peppers to the jars (all pint size). We pierced the pepper skins before adding them to the jars. The tops of the peppers with a small amount of green stem are still attached.

We added these to both dill and bread and butter recipes.

I also put a small green tomato in one of the jars of dill pickles.

I also have a concern about water. I bought distilled water today to use from here on in, but we do have fairly hard water (there is a noticeable white residue left inside the canning pot after boiling.) A couple of the dill batches used my tap water in the pickling liquid, and in one case I used bottled spring water. Are these safe to eat? The one where I used the spring water looked a bit cloudy, the one from my tap still looks ok.

Sorry for so many questions, but now I have "pickle paranoia" as I saw the title of one of the threads! Thanks in advance for your replies.

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readinglady(z8 OR)

I doubt that one or two cherry peppers is significant. The cucumbers are also low pH and the brine should be sufficiently acid for both veggies. In future you might consider using dried red peppers which add heat and color with no risk whatsoever.

The green tomato isn't an issue.

It's unnecessary to buy water, even if your water is hard. The document below on pickling has information on softening your own water.

Tap water is fine, bottled spring water is fine (though expensive). The cloudiness is probably a result of residual minerals in the water (or using table salt) but it's not a safety issue.

So from my perspective you're fine. Enjoy your pickles.


Here is a link that might be useful: How to Soften Your Water

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 6:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree with Carol. In the future stick with using dried additives rather than fresh ones - especially with low-acid foods. The package mixes for pickles all contain citric acid so their pH level of protection is quite good.

And the water - as Carol said it is easy to make your own softer water but I've canned everything with hard well water for years with no problems. It isn't a safety issue just an appearance one.

In the canner or PC all you do is add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to the water so there is no lime build-up on the jars or the canner.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 6:34PM
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Thank you Carol and Dave for the suggestions. The water thing bothered me a lot, but I remember my mother canning with sulfur water....maybe thats why our pickles were always gray and soggy....I have cleaned the pot after canning and wiped down the jars with a bit of vinegar and water. Never thought of adding it to the pot.
I appreciate your reaching out to help me.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 6:56PM
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