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Really Messed Up My Pickle Brine

Posted by jim6918 none (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 10:31

I have a recipe for spicy dill pickles that I have successfully canned for years. The recipe for the hot vinegar mixture poured over the pickles before hot processing is 1 gallon water, 1 quart white vinegar and I cup pickling salt. The spicy part comes from garlic, Serrano peppers, dried red chilies, onions and carrots, and of course fresh dill.

I don't know where my brain was at this year, but I actually canned about 20 quarts before I realized that I had switched the proportions of the water and vinegar; 1 gallon of vinegar and 1 quart water. Fortunately I made another 4 dozen quarts at the right recipe, but now wonder If I shouldn't just open and toss the "too vinegary" recipe. What a waste. I have seen suggestions where people have corrected such situations with pouring out the liquid upon opening and substituting a more dilute solution and keeping the jar in the refrigerator for a week or so. I just canned this past weekend so I have at least 6 weeks before I am brave enough to open a jar to taste test.

I often use the pickles and veggies chopped up in tuna and chicken salad, so they won't all go to waste, but jeez, 20 quarts????

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Really Messed Up My Pickle Brine

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 10:51

Jim, here's something else to consider -

Your recipe sounds like one of the older ones, as is the recipe I retired several years ago.

The minimum safe ratio of water to vinegar recommended is equal parts or 1:1. In your recipe, that converts to 2 1/2 quarts water to 2 1/2 quarts vinegar.

Would you like to post your recipe to run by the pickle experts here, your measuring mistake may have just led you to a product more within current guidelines.

And, the recipe I've stopped using was 4 quarts water to 2 quarts vinegar, changing that one (which had fewer additional spices) to equal parts vinegar and water did make it stronger in vinegar taste than was pleasing to us.

RE: Really Messed Up My Pickle Brine

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

Assuming you already know that the original recipe would be considered unsafe anyway with such a small amount of vinegar (1:1 is lowest approved ratio of vinegar to water) but have chosen to accept that level of risk then all you can do with what you call the mistake batch is replace the brine after opening the jars. Perhaps add a bit of sugar as well.

How much taste benefit that might provide would be minimal as the cukes will have already absorbed much of the vinegar.

The mistake batch is by far the safest batch for shelf storage and personally those are the ones I'd keep and toss the original recipe batch. The pH in those jars made with the 4:1 ratio of water to vinegar can quickly rise into the unsafe range as the water from the cukes dilutes the brine even further.

But of course the choice is yours.


RE: Really Messed Up My Pickle Brine

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

morz8 beat me too it.


RE: Really Messed Up My Pickle Brine

Boy am I ever confused. I just pulled up two "accepted/safe" recipes for Quick Fresh-Pack Dill Pickles from the National Center for Home Food Preservation and also the University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension Unit and their basic brine recipe is:

2 gallons of water
1 1/2 quarts of vinegar
1 1/2 cups salt

My recipe is:
1 gallon water
1 quart vinegar
1 cup salt

It occurs to me, not being much of a mathematician, that my recipe has a higher ratio of vinegar and salt to water than the so-called "safe recipes, and consequently more safe. What am I missing here? Or, did I I misstate something in my original post?

Thanks for the insight.

RE: Really Messed Up My Pickle Brine

You mis-read the NCHFP recipe. The 2 gal of water (and 3/4C of salt) is for soaking the cukes in to dehydrate them a little before pickling (draw some water out and they'll soak up more of the vinegar solution later).

The brine recipe calls for 2 quarts of water, 1.5 quarts of vinegar, 1/2C salt, 1/4C sugar, plus the spices.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP Quick Pack Dills

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