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Why do pickles float?

Posted by caliloo z6/7 Penna (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 26, 09 at 16:46

This is not Caliloo, this is Lpink posting at our jam session! We're making asparagus pickles. Why do pickles float out of the brine after processing, and is there anything you can do about it? I make jardinaire all the time, and pickled peppers, and green beans, and they float too.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Why do pickles float?

Because they can't swim?

Sorry. :-D

RE: Why do pickles float?

Foods float because of the air trapped in the food itself. The fresher the food before processing the less air it contains. Proper handling before canning and during the process can also reduce floating. Hot packing has less problems than cold pack and if you can't hot pack keeping the food submerged in water or other liquids until jarred helps keep it from absorbing air.


Many fresh foods contain from 10 percent to more than 30 percent air. How long canned food retains high quality depends on how much air is removed from food before jars are sealed.

Raw-packing is the practice of filling jars tightly with freshly prepared, but unheated food. Such foods, especially fruit, will float in the jars. The entrapped air in and around the food may cause discoloration within 2 to 3 months of storage. Raw-packing is more suitable for vegetables processed in a pressure canner.

Hot-packing is the practice of heating freshly prepared food to boiling, simmering it 2 to 5 minutes, and promptly filling jars loosely with the boiled food. Whether food has been hot-packed or raw-packed, the juice, syrup, or water to be added to the foods should also be heated to boiling before adding it to the jars. This practice helps to remove air from food tissues, shrinks food, helps keep the food from floating in the jars, increases vacuum in sealed jars, and improves shelf life. Preshrinking food permits filling more food into each jar.

Hot-packing is the best way to remove air and is the preferred pack style for foods processed in a boiling-water canner. At first, the color of hot-packed foods may appear no better than that of raw-packed foods, but within a short storage period, both color and flavor of hot-packed foods will be superior.


RE: Why do pickles float?

Odd that our asparagus pickles floated, as they were brined for two hours prior to cold packing them. Seems like the air would go out with the water. Didn't want to pre-cook the asparagus for pickles.

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