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Pickling

Posted by StewartMichael none (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 12:28

Hi, I've been doing a lot of research and I'm now curious if the dill pickle recipe I'm using is safe. Please let me know if anything looks wrong.

4 pounds small cucumbers
2 cloves garlic, peeled, for each jar
1 fresh sprig of dill for each jar
4 black peppercorns for each jar
2 quarts white vinegar
1/2 cup pickling salt
Note: I'm pressure canning this recipe


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 13:19

It would be considered safe as it is straight, undiluted vinegar in the brine (no added water).

How long are you pressure canning them and at what pressure?

It also doesn't require pressure canning. Only BWB processing is needed (10 min for pints, 15 min for quarts) and would usually result in a better, more crisp product.

Pressure canning pickles isn't usually recommended because of the effects it has on the cucumbers.

Dave

PS: I am assuming all that salt is used as a pre-soak?


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RE: Pickling

I will be pressure canning them at 15 psi for 10 minutes . The salt is used strictly for the brine however the recipe calls for soaking the cucumbers overnight in ice water. Would you recommend water bathing over pressure canning, my only concern is that the water bath wouldn't kill The bacteria responsible for Botulism?


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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by malna NJ 5/6 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 14:29

Pickles in a 100% vinegar brine are very safe. If I was making your recipe, I might consider a couple of "tweaks".

Soaking the cucumbers in ice water works well - glad that was part of the recipe. The amount of salt sounds like a bit much, so I'd be tempted to cut it down to maybe a 1/3 cup to start. Taste the brine and see if it's salty enough. The salt in this recipe is for flavor only, and has no bearing on safety. I will say my taste buds have changed and I am tending to cut down the salt (and sugar) in many recipes. I cut my garlic cloves in half stem to stern, so the vinegar brine can more easily penetrate the garlic, plus I get more garlic flavor.

Water bathing will give you a much better quality of pickle. Pressure canning really makes them mushy.

Don't be concerned about botulism for this recipe. Here's why:

The Clostridium botulinum bacteria and its spores do not cause the disease. It is the toxin released as the bacteria grows in a hospitable environment (low acid or pH greater than 4.6, anaerobic, high moisture environment with temperatures ranging from 38°F to 110°F - in other words, inside a canning jar that is not acidic enough). You have to ingest the toxin itself in order to become ill.

You are exposed to the bacteria and spores every day (it is soil-borne), and they pose no threat to most people (infants and immune-suppressed individuals are a different case).

Your pickle brine is well below the 4.6 pH level (acidic) and the bacteria cannot and will not produce the toxin at that acidity level.

Hope that helps.


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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 14:58

I agree with everything malna explained above and I too think that is far too much salt. Most pickle recipes would have most of that salt added to the ice water for the presoaking and no more than 1/3 cup added to the brine. See link below. It calls for 2x as much cukes and only 1/2 as much salt in the brine

Have you made this recipe before? If not I think something may have gotten lost in the instructions or it may be intended to use as only a fermented pickle recipe. Can you tell us the source of the recipe?

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Quick Pack Dill pickles


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RE: Pickling

Thank you for the advice! I will scale down the salt to 1/3 cup, I've never made this recipe before so I hope they turn out well. This the website I got the recipe from http://m.almanac.com/recipe/crunchy-dill-pickles.


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RE: Pickling

The recipe does not call for pressure canning - it says to boil for 10 minutes. But you neglected to tell us (maybe you didn't notice) that the vinegar is mixed with 2 quarts of water. That's still a safe ratio, but as Dave said, it's about twice as much brine as you'll need for only 4 lbs of cukes. And you will get a better (crisper) result from a salt icewater bath rather just the ice water. I'd follow the NCHFP recipe (omitting the mustard seed and pickling spice if you want) instead.

If you want the garlic (kosher) dills, I recommend the Really Quick Dills recipe from The Joy of Pickling, chile peppers are optional and it uses much less salt.

4 lbs pickling cucumbers (4 inch)
24 black peppercorns
1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled and chopped
6 small dried chile peppers (optional)
6 dill heads, with fronds
2 1/4C cider, white wine, or distilled white vinegar
3 C water
1/4C pickling salt

1. Wash the cukes and cut off the blossom end. Quarter or leave whole as you like. Divide the chiles, garlic, and peppercorns among 6 pint or 3 quart mason jars. Pack equal portions of cucumbers and dill into each jar.

2. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring vinegar, water, and salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour the liquid over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace (note the jars must be warm when you do this to avoid thermal shock). Close the jars with two-piece caps.

3. Process pint jars for 10 minutes, quart jars for 15 minutes in a BWB.

4. Store in dark, cool, dry place for at least 1 month before eating.


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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 16:36

Yeah just saw that myself. They don't list the 2 quarts of water in the ingredients. So that is a problem right there - poor quality recipe. Red flag for me for that reason alone.

While the 50:50 ratio of water to vinegar is still considered safe it is the minimal level approved. Good thing we asked to see the recipe. :)

Plus no where does it mention pressure canning so not sure where you got that impression.

If you are new to home canning and inexperienced it would be far safer for you to stick with approved recipes from reputable sources. There is a lot of unsafe junk out there on the web.

Dave


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RE: Pickling

I never would have thought the Old Farmers Almanac to be junk, but that was a poorly written recipe - not to mention too much salt.


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RE: Pickling - Modifying a recipe

Ready to make my first batch of pickles today and got tripped up on recipe question. The recipe I was going to use is for sliced pickles not spears (can I safely cut into halves or whole pickles?). It is also to be canned in pint jars, BWB for 15 minutes. Can I change to quart jars?


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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 10:36

Your questions all depends on the specific recipe which we'd need to see. Especially if it isn't one of the tested/approved recipes from one of the approved sources.

If the recipe is for slices and you use spears or whole instead the end product would be very different. Usually the flavor and texture is different because the slices absorb the brine much easier than chunks or whole will.

As for the jar size, no you can only use the jar size in the recipe. The guideline is that you can always safely go to smaller jars but you cannot go to larger jars.

Dave


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RE: Pickling

4 C apple cider vinegar
4 C water
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 C pickling salt
3T pickling spice
5 whole bay leaves
5 large garlic cloves
2-1/2 t mustard seed
5 heads fresh dill
13-1/2 C pickling cucumbers
5 pint jars & lids

Tie pickling spices; add to: vinegar, water, sugar, pickling salt; bring to boil, simmer 15 minutes.

place 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 t mustard seed, 1 head of dill into jars, pack pickles into hot jars; 1/2" head space; ladle hot pickling liquid; remove air bubbles, wipe rims, center lids, scre on bands. Place jars in canner, bring to a boil with at least 1" over jars. Process 15 minutes.


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RE: Pickling

The NCHFP - Quick Pack Dill pickles recipe you recommended listed two jar sizes: pint and quart; will I be safe using my pint and a half jars? Also I just wan't to double check that omitting the mustard seed and pickling spices from the recipe will be safe (i'm presuming they are just for taste)?

Note-This is my first time pickling so I wan't to be sure


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RE: Pickling

Stewart- Yes, you can use the pint and a half size jars but you have to process according to the quart time. And yes, you can safely leave out the spices.

Rodney


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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 13:00

StewartMichael - yes you can use your pint and a half jars but you process for the quart time. Yes you can leave out the seed and spices if you wish as it will have no effect on safety, just taste. You might want to try adding some to just one jar for future comparison and to see which recipe you end up liking best.

Amber - given the proportions that is definitely a pints only and slices only recipe. So if you want to use quarts and leave the cukes whole you'd have much better results with a different recipe, one that specifies whole or spears and quarts as an option. There are many of them approved, tested, and available in canning books and online at NCHFP.

Plus that one only calls for the bare minimum of vinegar so without knowing the source of the recipe, like Stewart's original post, there is no way to know how safe it is to play around with.

Dave


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RE: Pickling

Dave -

I did end up using one from our local extension office which was evidently taken from NCHFP. I just added the spices to the jar at the end. ? though - I thought if it was an unproven recipe you look for equal parts of cider to water which the recipe I posted above had. Is it because it cider vinegar?


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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 16:45

If it is an untested recipe then you look for more vinegar (either white or cider as long as it is 5%) than water. The more the better.

50:50 is the bottom line, the minimum, the line in the sand if you will. :) Can you use that recipe? Sure as long as you understand you are at the bottom line of what is considered the safe zone and that pH rises over time on the shelf (with pickles all the water in the cukes dilutes it even more) and plan to monitor and use accordingly.

But then the question becomes why use untested recipes to begin with when there are so many tested ones available? Especially when if one is new or inexperienced with canning and the underlying safety issues?

If the vinegar is the issue then there are tested recipes available that use less than 50:50 vinegar to water but they have adjusted the other low acid ingredients accordingly.

Dave


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RE: Pickling

Thank you Dave. So much to learn and I appreciate your patience! The batch I made yesterday sealed fine. Anxious to see how they turned out.


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RE: Pickling

I have found a perfect Pickling recipe and you will never forget it.

I call it 1-1-1. Here it is:

1 cup of vinegar (5% acidity)
1 cup of water
1 Table Spoon Salt.

Multiply the proportions as needed.
The resultant pH << 2.6

The rest, ie, herbs/spices .. are the bells and whistles and have no bearing on the safety. add them according to your taste and preference


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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 22:25

The rest, ie, herbs/spices .. are the bells and whistles and have no bearing on the safety.

Not according to the USDA Guidelines. The addition of fresh herbs and spices, garlic etc. can very easily affect the pH and thus the safety. So disproportionate amounts carry associated risks. That is why using dried spices and herbs is recommended instead.

Dave


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RE: Pickling

Not according to the USDA Guidelines.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Yeah, you are right. But how much (percentage wise) fresh herbs (dill weed, garlic ) can one include ? Even then a 50/50 brine can handle that.

Here is the recipe posted by AJSMAMA:
..............
4 lbs pickling cucumbers (4 inch)
24 black peppercorns
1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled and chopped
6 small dried chile peppers (optional)
6 dill heads, with fronds
2 1/4C cider, white wine, or distilled white vinegar
3 C water
1/4C pickling salt
-------------------------------

It is 43 v/ 57 w. And it has fresh garlic, 6 dill heads,
That is just fine. pH of brine is still way below 2.7 and meets and exceeds the safety standard recommendation.


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RE: Pickling - fresh spices

Dave -

I have been following this thread. I follows the NCHFP dill pickle recipe. I added two fresh garlic cloves to each quart. I had read somewhere that spices in any quantity were okay to add - however they didn't specify dried spices. Do you think it will be okay?

Amber


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RE: Pickling

I'm not Dave, but the recipe I posted above from The Joy of Pickling uses the same ratio of vinegar to water as the NCHFP recipe, and since I'm sure a bulb of garlic contains at least 6 cloves ;-) it uses 2 cloves and 2 heads of dill per quart.

In the future, though, when you're following a tested recipe, follow it and only omit low-acid ingredients or spices, or add/substitute/increase dried spices/herbs only.

Did you mince the garlic or leave the cloves whole?


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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 11:30

I had read somewhere that spices in any quantity were okay to add

That's the point I was making in response to seysonn's post above. People read all sorts of claims like that made by others but that doesn't make them accurate and it doesn't mean you can jump to big conclusions based on such comments without risk.

No, "spices in any quantity" are not ok to add. Dried spices and herbs are ok to add within reason because they are re-hydrated by the acidic brine in the jar and so have the pH of the brine plus they bind up some of the free water from the vegetables themselves.

But fresh spices and herbs, including garlic, are not safe to add as they carry their own water and their own low-acid pH into the mix.

Low acid ingredients are always suspect, always risky to add unless you know for a fact that the acidity of the rest of the recipe can cover them. That is especially true of garlic as it is one of the 5 most likely carriers of botulism spores due to the way they grow.

So in a straight, undiluted vinegar brine you can safely get away with a lot of things. In a diluted water/vinegar brine you cannot.

The NCHFP recipe is a diluted brine with less vinegar than water. It has been tested and approved as written but it does not allow for the addition of any thing not in the recipe.

The recipe posted by ajsmama above was stipulated as from Joy of Pickling which is a USDA approved and tested as writtensource. It doesn't automatically follows that a less than 50/50 brine can "handle anything".

So Amber does that mean your pickles with the added garlic are safe? Probably. Odds are in your favor but would have been much better had you used dried garlic. Bottom line is there are no guarantees of safety as there would be if you had stuck with the recipe as written. It all boils down to how much risk you are comfortable with taking.

As most here already know I don't personally tolerate much risk because it is so unnecessary. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being guaranteed safety and 1 being potential lethal risk I'm a 9. :) But the choice is yours.

Dave


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RE: Pickling

JMPO, but if you minced the garlic per the JoP recipe, I'd say you're OK. If you left the cloves whole, well, maybe not.

Can you tell us *exactly* how you prepared the pickles?


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RE: Pickling

Should I just refrigerate them and use ASAP?


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RE: Pickling

So does the NCHP & the Ball canning web site have the only tried and true trustworthy recipes?


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RE: Pickling

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 18:34

So does the NCHP & the Ball canning web site have the only tried and true trustworthy recipes?

Not at all. As I said above the Joy of Pickling book Sheila referenced is also approved as are numerous other canning books that we have listed here in several past discussions - the search will pull up "books" discussions.

The Ball Complete Book, So Easy to Preserve, Putting Food By, Small Batch Preserving, etc. just to name a few so there are usually alternative recipes available. If pickling is your thing then Joy of Pickling is the way to go.

But in addition to all the approved sources keep in mind that you can always play around with additives after the jar is opened safely so sticking with the basic recipes isn't really as limiting as some might feel it is.

Dave


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RE: Pickling

Hey guys, how long do you guys recommend I let my Quick Fresh-Pack Dill Pickles sit before we eat them (I used the NCHFP recipe)?


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RE: Pickling

4-6 weeks is the standard recommendation for best flavor.

Dave


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RE: Pickling

My cucumber vines aren't producing in mass quantity's and i can only do two Quarts at a time.I can't find anything any where to help me to get recipes for Kosher dills,Bread and butter,sweet Pickles or polish dills that i can figure out how to scale it down to two Quarts..I tried to do it myself but i always get so confused.Can anyone help me? Thank you so much if i could get the scaled down really good Recipes!I REALLY LOVE KOSHER DILL PICKLES. Thank's again and i like doing water bath canning.


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RE: Pickling

Check the Joy of Pickling - I believe Really Quick Dills is a small batch - smaller than NCHFP recipes anyway. And there's always Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp.

Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars just came out with a book called Preserving by the Pint, I'm not sure if there are pickle recipes in there or just jams. She's pretty safety-conscious, but if you find a pickle recipe in that book post it here for review. Rule of thumb is 1:1 ratio 5% vinegar to water.


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