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Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Posted by kent4489 5 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 31, 11 at 16:03

I just made garlic dill pickles and one jar did not seal. First time I've ever had a jar that didn't seal. Can I refrigerate these... if so, for how long? I usually let them sit for 2 months before opening, but can these sit in the fridge for 2 months before eating them? Or should they be eaten sooner? Or should I just throw them out?
Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

No need to throw them out. You can either reprocess them if it has been less than 24 hours but it will make them softer, or you can refrigerate them.

Waiting 2 months isn't necessary for any reason. That's your choice. Whether or not they will keep that long all depends on which recipe you used, it's ingredients, and the amount of vinegar it contains (the ratio of vinegar to water). No way to know for sure without seeing the recipe used.

Dave


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

If it's a canning recipe as opposed to a refrigerated pickle recipe, it either is a fermented pickle or in a high-ratio vinegar brine. Either way it should be safe as houses in the fridge for some time. Just consume that jar before the shelved ones.

Carol


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Thanks for the replies. I used Chase's garlic dill recipe. The brine is:

4 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling salt

BUT, I do process them for 15 minutes in BWB. I know that is not in her recipe and just took it upon myself to do it. Does it not make any difference except for making them softer? Does a BWB make them safe? I have been making them for 3 or 4 years this way and we like them (and haven't died of botulism yet!). It just worried me that this one jar did not seal and I didn't know if it could be refrigerated and eaten before the others. Thanks again for input on this. I still feel uncertain about what is safe and what is not.


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

I am familiar with that recipe and have linked to a previous discussion, including Annie's comments.

I think this is one of those "your call" issues. Chase's recipe has a really low ratio of vinegar to water so it doesn't meet current canning standards.

I'm no microbiologist, but ironically my guess would be that processing might increase the risk because you're sucking out the air, creating an anaerobic environment and then setting those pickles on the shelf where the original acidity will go down over time.

So to answer your question (and this is just my take on it) refrigeration is a better option as long as they don't stay in the fridge too long.

I know Chase's dills are very very popular and we're all grownups here, so that's just my 2 cents, no more than that.

Carol


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Yeah that was my concern - not using an approved and tested recipe to begin with.

As Carol said it is a way low ratio of vinegar to water. 1:1 is the minimum approved recommendation. Carol didn't include the link she referenced but I think she meant the one I linked below.

This recipe was NOT intended to be processed. And for the exact reason Carol mentioned - creating an anaerobic environment with insufficiently acidic contents. These are intended for a short life in the fridge - 3 weeks tops as listeria will begin to grow in that time.

So in this case, the choice as to what to do with them is yours, your risk to take.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Chase pickles


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Thank you, Carol. I appreciate your "2 cents" because I know you are very experienced. Of course, I'm really worried now that I have processed them and they might be at increased risk of being unsafe. I already gave away 3 jars of these. I think I need to tell the recipients to toss them. Dave, thank you too for your input. Ugh, I've had no trouble with these before although I always worry. Is there a way to tell if they are unsafe or is it too late once you eat them?

So, they are "safe" if eaten in the next 3 weeks?

Is there a SAFE dill pickle recipe?

Thanks again!


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Botulism can grow fast enough in about 2 days to kill you, if that answers your question. All of them should be thrown out unless you want to make a safe brine and reprocess all of them.You need at least half 5% acidity vinegar or more to water ratio. That is an old recipe when vinegar could have been as much as 40% acidity.
Yes, there are plenty of safe recipes.
As for them being in the fridge, even at that you could get listeria. I agree, sealing them was even worse since you cut off the air supply and they are not fermented or have nearly enough acid to keep them safe.


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

I have been doing a bunch of canning lately and going over my jars I saw one jar was sealed but it did not pop. I always process water bath longer then is recommended in most recipes, this jar was processed 9-6-2013, can it still be eaten or should I toss it? Recipe link below. Thanks!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tastebook


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

That's an undiluted vinegar solution so presents no issues. (Not to mention gobs of sugar.) Eat and enjoy.

I'm not sure what you mean by seal but it did not pop though frankly as long as the spears are submerged and there's plenty of brine around them (i.e. not packed too densely) I doubt there's any problem regardless.

Happy preserving,

Carol


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Thank you... that is what I meant, it sealed but did not pop. I did slices... the top few are not covered in brine but were, guess things settled. I put the jar in the frig... until I heard back from here. :)


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Lots of times you don't hear the pop or ping or whatever you want to call it. But that isn't the real sign of a good seal anyway. Proper seals are firm to touch in the center, slightly concave and you are unable to remove them by lifting carefully with the fingertips.

Once the jars have cooled and you are ready to remove the bands, wash the jars, and prepare them for storage a light tug on the lids will indicate a valid seal.

Dave


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Thank you, Dave. That is how I do test them, this has a seal but the center is still popped up. :)


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

If the center is still popped up then it isn't a true seal; air remains in the headspace. I would refrigerate those pickles and consume first.

Carol


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Posted by kent4489 5 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 31, 11 at 19:57

Thanks for the replies. I used Chase's garlic dill recipe. The brine is:

4 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling salt
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Brushed up my chemistry/math a bit and after doing some search. my calculation shows that the above solution(one part vinegar and 3 parts water (**) has a pH less than 3.

Is it unsafe ?

JUST A QUESTION .

............................
(**) assuming a nutral / pure distilled (pH =7) water. But most tap waters have a pH of 6 or lower.


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

The question isn't couched accurately. Whether the vinegar and water solution is/isn't "safe" isn't the relevant issue. It's whether the vinegar+water+cucumbers (pH 5.12-5.78) are safe. As juices leach from the cucumbers the pH of a low ratio vinegar to water brine can easily go up above 4.6 pH, especially if cucumbers are packed densely into the jar. Meanwhile the strength of the solution is inadequate to pickle the cucumber solids to a low enough pH level for boiling water bath to be sufficient.

Carol


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

And in addition to Carol's important point - including the pH of the cukes - while "pure" water usually has a pH of 6.5-7.0, tap water does not and well water definitely does not. The average city tap water is alkaline due to the lime added to it in the purification plants. Average well water can range as high as 8-9.0+ depending on the % of lime and other minerals in the area soil.

Dave


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

It needs to be a brine that is at least half 5 % acidity vinegar to water ratio. Your recipe is unsafe to use.


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Sorry, but I was talking abou "pH" which is the most importan issue in canning. I read her that pH of 4.2 and lower is goof proof safe. My actual calculation showed a pH=2.7.

A 50/50 vin/water will have a pH of 2.56. No matter how much water leaches ot of cucumbers etc. (even if halfs the ratio of vin/w) still the pH will remain well in the safe region.
Plus you have salt in it too. It is also another preservative.


Foot Note:

pH is a logarithimc function scale, not LINEAR.
example:
5.00% acetic acid (household vinegar) has a pH of 2.40

2.50% acetic acid (50vin/50wa) has a pH of 2,50

1.25% acetic acid(25vin/75w) has a pH of 2.70

Here we assume adding pure water(distilled, neutral, pH=7). But most waters (tap, bottled, spring ) have a pH of 6 or lower. So actually it helps to keep the pH low(acidity higher) But we ignore that effect as it is negligible.


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

seysonn - can I ask how much actual canning you do annually and where do you get most of your canning information?

pH is a logarithimc function scale

Yes it is but that scale has to include ALL the ingredients in the computation to determine the actual pH. The cukes are the primary ingredient and given their pH of +/-5.5 and 90% water composition you don't think they should be included in the computation?

What can you possibly gain by continuously pulling up old threads and disputing the standard approved guidelines that have been tested and re-tested and tested yet again by numerous food science labs for decades? This isn't mechanical or electrical engineering. It is a different science completely and it serves no one to provide readers with non-applicable information.

Unlike many canning/food preservation forums we work very hard here to provide people with accurate, safe, well-supported, well-documented, well-researched canning information. Information they can trust to be as accurate as possible. You always have the option of accepting or ignoring that information but unsubstantiated disputes just to cause disputes helps no one..

People don't use distilled water when canning. They use tap water. In addition, the average tap water is NOT neutral, it is alkaline, Cukes, in terms of canning, are strongly low-acid (alkaline), So as mentioned several times above a 50:50 vinegar and water solution is the MINIMUM recommended pickling brine to be used in canning when using untested recipes.

Dave

This post was edited by digdirt on Sat, Oct 5, 13 at 19:35


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Look, seysonn, you are free to believe what you wish and can what you wish.

I could say the problem is that a weak vinegar solution is not sufficient to consistently acidify a low-acid product, and that studies have shown the presence of low acid "pockets" remaining within the product after processing. But I'm sure in all your wisdom you'd find something wrong with that fact also.

I am not sure what your mission is or how it is you conclude all the data is flawed (except yours of course) but this whole thing has become a distraction and a huge waste of time. I do not plan to respond further to any of your comments.

Carol


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Salt is not a preservative in fresh pack pickles, only for flavor. It would have to be super saturated in salt to preserve them. You can omit the salt from a recipe with a safe brine other than if you are fermenting.

I agree with you Carol, I am not sure what the purpose of all of this is. Especially since the foods have all been tested and tested and retested in labs by food scientists.


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Thank you Dave, Carol, and linda,
(I hope I did not omit any name )
You are all correct.


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RE: Help...jar of pickles didn't seal

Thank you, Carol... sorry I didn't get right back in, but that is what I did was refrigerate them immediately to eat first. :)


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