Return to the Harvest Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Posted by lisa-regina 5 (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 30, 10 at 1:17

I made several batches of pickles this year. I made the Heinz recipe and another approved recipe as well. Both having a 1 to 1 ratio of vinegar to water to make it safe. Both recipes were way to strong for me. I love vinegar, but that is ridiculous. I just can't eat pickles with that much vinegar in them, every bite just about took my breath away. Has anyone else experienced this problem? The pickles that my grandmother used to make (even if the vinegar acidity was 7% or higher)was never strong like that. They had a much milder flavor. Even the pickles in the stores aren't strong and vinegary like that. Is there any safe pickle recipes that use less vinegar to water, or will I just have to give up my pickles?...Thanks...Lisa


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Goodness...The UMinn fresh-pack pickle recipe calls for 6c water to 2c vinegar. I can't imagine how strong a 1:1 pickle would be. But the BBB pickle recipe is 1:1, so I guess people do it! I'm very happy with my pickles from the Uminn recipe. And super easy to make. You have to be more careful with it though, as it's not as tolerant to measuring mistakes, etc. The link is below, the recipe I used is about 3/4 down the page. Make sure to read the "Minnesota Method" and then make an informed safety choice. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Uminn pickles


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

NCHFP Quick Pack Dills recipe calls for 8 cups water (2 quarts) to 6 cups vinegar (1 1/2 quarts).

That recipe is the least-vinegar approved recipe you will find except for fermented pickles. Perhaps fermented pickles would have more appeal to you Lisa.

"Minnesota Methods" - Supposedly the U of MN did much of its own research many years back and unlike the other extension services, it stubbornly continues to post recipes no longer considered safe. Although to be fair, they have added warnings to some of them and point out that their recipes don't meet USDA safety standards. All this despite the ongoing USDA research. You are free to use them of course but you do so at your own risk.

Dave

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


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

How about trying some fermented pickles? I find the flavor so much less sharp.


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

I am still amazed at how the Univ. Of Minnesota still publishes this stuff !
Also, they say vinegar that is 4 %. We will never state that ! If it is less than 5% we will not recommend it for safety sake.

Whenever there are different things posted from sites, we always stick by Univ. of Georgia.
Do as you wish, but here we would never tell you those other recommendations are safe.
You add some sugar to offset the vinegar. That, or when you open a jar, why not try rinsing one off and see how it tastes ?
Are you using cider vinegar, not white ? White will be a lot more sharp tasting.


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Minnesota is very explicit about the limits of their method.

That method is NOT unsafe. It is a method with a lower tolerance for error. In other words, the USDA recipes are essentially foolproof, allowing for all the possible ways home canners may digress from or misinterpret instructions. The Minnesota recipes are not. But a careful and precise canner can use them with confidence.

I am not recommending the Minnesota recipes. But I see no reason to say they're unsafe when testing has shown they are not. They are not, however, for the sloppy canner.

I would keep a close eye on Minnesota. That document has not been updated in the last 10 years and they may pull it or revise it in the near future.

Carol


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Uff da!

Thank heavens I was drafted near the end of soph year there.

Try fermenting.


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Carol - no reason to say they are unsafe?

They contradict what have been the accepted norms and standards for many years. Even they admit that.

They allow leeway in the % of vinegar acidity required AND in the amounts required for safety. When one considers that acetic acid, even if 5% is used, is only 5% of the entire jar contents and the remaining 95% is water and a low-acid vegetable (not even counting all the water in the cukes themselves), there is no safety period.

They are decades old recipes - even that particular document is older than most books we recommend - tested who knows when.

They pre-date the discovery of listeria and likely other bacteria.

Even the most klutzy home canner, if they can measure 2 cups, should be able to measure 6 cups.

This pickle recipe is hardly the first of the U of MN questionable recipes we have discussed here in the past.

Apologies but that is more than enough reasons for me, and hopefully others, to say the recipe is unsafe.

Dave


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

linda lou, I actually tried the cider vinegar with the heinz recipe and white vinegar with the other recipe that I used. The cider vinegar was a little bit milder, but both were still way to strong for me. I really do miss my grandmothers recipe, I loved her pickles. I just don't want to get sick from using that recipe, since it is not considered safe any longer. Maybe fermenting would be the way to go for me. Does anyone have a good recipe that they use? I know that some people just use salt and water, others add a bit of vinegar to the salt and water to make the brine. Which tastes the best, or makes the best pickles in your experience? Thanks for all of your help...Lisa


 o
Changes....

Exactly, 10 years ago they reviewed it ?? That is WAY too long to not review the recipes and methods.
Did we have reports of ecoli and salmonella in veggies even 10 years ago ? Things change. I feel they should, too, when it comes to their site recommending those recipes and methods.


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

It is a difference of perspective or definition. My background inclines me one direction; others' experiences incline them to the opposite pole. Informed canners can make their own decisions. I think U Minn is pretty explicit that the risk is greater with their pickle formulations.

But I don't know how much greater the risk is. Statistically these things can come down to very fine distinctions.

I think I am more inclined to define something as unsafe if the evidence clearly indicates negative consequences. So water bath canning of green beans is clearly unsafe.

I have no evidence of negative consequences of the Minnesota method for pickles. In other words, I don't know that anyone has ever gotten ill following that method. I assume if they had Minnesota would have pulled that document.

However, canners have to decide for themselves what their risk tolerance is. If you have none, then clearly these are recipes to avoid. It's not as if Minnesota Extension is fooling anyone.

Carol


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

>>> "Minnesota Methods" - Supposedly the U of MN did much of its own research many years back and unlike the other extension services, it stubbornly continues to post recipes no longer considered safe. Although to be fair, they have added warnings to some of them and point out that their recipes don't meet USDA safety standards.

Carol, thanks for that well-worded, clear explanation. I agree that it isn't helpful to call their method "unsafe" or "no longer considered safe" when clearly the U Minn's researchers have found reason to consider them safe.

What is true is that they are guidelines that don't meet the same standards as the USDA. Which is another organization that does research and issues its own guidelines. Not commandments from on high carved on stone tablets.

I also don't find the comment that the UMinn "supposedly" did its own reason very helpful, implying that there some reason to suspect that institution of higher learning only FAKED its tests.

Good think you got out of there when you could, John. Clearly a bunch of big fakers!

MSfuzz, your pickles sound great. I don't make a lot of pickles because DH doesn't like them but I'd make them the UMinn way, following instructions carefully, with confidence.

Z


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Without commenting on the safety or advisability of the Minnesota Methods, I will point out that reasonable scientists doing reasonable experiments can reach slightly different or vastly different conclusions, depending on the parameters, initial assumptions ("assumptions" used in a scientific sense, not in a common usage sense), and the outcomes they measure, among many other variables.

This does not invalidate the work of any scientist who reaches differing conclusions; nor does (necessarily) it imply sloppy scientific work; nor does it imply that experiments were faked, dry-labbed or doctored; nor does it require concluding that one result is more correct than another.

What is does mean is that the data, methods, and conclusions of all participants must be evaluated to the best extent possible. The hallmark of scientific investigation (and the Minnesota Methods and the USDA research are most assuredly conducted as scientific research) is that it is data driven and reproducible.

So, the true measure of the Minnesota Methods is not whether they agree or disagree with the USDA, but whether the experiments were done in a credible, reproducible way, and whether the conclusions are supported by the data. Reaching differing conclusions, in-and-of-itself, from the USDA, does not invalidate their results

Whether to trust Minnesota Methods is a decision that individuals are forced to make for themselves at this point based on as much information as they can gather. I agree that it is inappropriate to question the integrity of scientists, when, in fact, you disagree with their experimental conclusions based on others' experimental conclusions.


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 31, 10 at 12:06

at first reading, I was concerned that the Univ of Minn pickle section had not been reviewed in 10 years. However, on second thought, this is a land grant university. They tested these recipes. Just because they're old does not mean their scientific findings have changed.

And there are other old recipes that do not meet the current recommendations, but which have been deemed safe BECAUSE they have been tested, ie, the Vidalia Onion Relish from the University of Georgia, another land grant university.

There's also a Pepper Relish from University of California, Davis that deviates from the so-called norm, but you can reach it through the UGA NcHFP site.

I know from a personal conversation with Dr Andress that she spent quite a bit of time getting one questionable recipe removed from Extension sites. The fact that the recipes cited above remain speaks volumes.

k


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

No one, including myself, said the U MN testing was "faked". That is Zabby's personal interpretation, not mine. However, if anyone can find and post a link to their published research so much the better. I wish you luck as I and others who often call this particular site into question have dug deeply. But I too would like to see it.

What is more likely is that they just subscribed to the current USDA research at the time. Then, unlike all the other extension websites, they elected to stick with their own outdated instructions rather then incorporate the current guidelines. This, as they point out, because of popular demand for their recipes.

So they are at best, outdated. Outdated information is usually considered invalid. Invalid, to me, speaks of potential safety issues.

If however, the U of MN at some past time did do some research on their recipes and if one assumes they had access to the same quality of equipment, personnel, and funding as USDA has then that research was entirely credible.

I am truly sorry many of you seem find my comments on this question are without merit. That, for some reason, you find yourselves in the position where you feel you simply MUST defend this one website. One, out of so many reputable sites, and most likely one most of you never pay any attention to anyway.

Sharon is quite right. Research is research and different results can be obtained. But those results, to be valid, must be replicated. U of MN stands alone in this issue and their recipes have been challenged on several occasions by reputable food scientists.

Published research carries more weight in the scientific community than does unpublished. Current research carries more weight than does outdated research. Using outdated, unpublished research as a basis for a crucial decision undermines safety.

It really is that simple.

Dave


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

I am so sorry that I have caused so many arguments on this subject. I did not mean to do so, just looking for information. It seems that every time I ask a question on one of the forums, this happens. I feel that the questions that I ask are completely innocent, but the controversy that I create is unexceptable. Maybe it would be best if I stop posting questions, since obviously I do not want to cause issues or hard feeling between other members.


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 31, 10 at 14:26

Old is not necessarily outdated.
Go look in the mirror Dave, are you outdated.
I'm not, but I am old.

k


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

One thought that no one has brought up that might explain quite a bit of this, and thats how tightly the cucumbers are packed into the jar. I've a neighbor who competes at the fair, and she'll go through 200 cucumbers to find the exact size that will pack a qt jar so tightly there is barely room for the dill seed, let along enough vinegar. On the other hand, I don't compete at the fair, so when I do it, I fit what goes in easily, call it good, and fill 'er up with the vinegar/water solution. The amount of the solution can easily double from jar to jar. Even worse with dilly beans.


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 31, 10 at 15:29

That is actually one of the cautions issued by the Univ of Minn .... do not pack tightly. Brine should be able to reach all surfaces of the cukes.

k


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Lisa please don't take any of this personally. The issue is not with you or your question but with the U of MN recipes. And it is nothing new although you might think so from some of the comments. It happens every time one of its Minnesota Methods recipes comes up for discussion. ;)

Kay - yeah I am old AND outdated in many respects - looks, wardrobe, teeth or lack thereof, hair and lack thereof, reflexes, flexibility, not to mention understanding rap music or many of the current commercials, and memory.

Dave


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

lisa-regina, I do hope you will continue to post and ask questions. Believe me, it isn't you. It's simply one of many issues which elicit comments from different sides of the fence, so to speak.

I do not consider this an argument but a discussion or debate, perhaps. I don't take these differences of perspective personally nor, I hope, do others. As sharonann1 so aptly pointed out, scientists do often disagree. In fact, that disagreement is central to science as it assists in the clarification of many complex issues.

Dave, I do have to ask about one comment of yours, "their recipes have been challenged on several occasions by reputable food scientists"

Could you cite specific instances? I'm not being snarky. I really would like to know who those scientists are.

Carol


 o
pepper relish

I did not see that the pepper relish from CalDavis is anything out of the ordinary. Straight vinegar...

Same for the Vidalia onion relish, straight vinegar.

Lisa , it is not you at all ! If you want, why not send me a message anytime you would like help. I will be happy to help you.
I have a recipe someplace for lemon juice pickles. Wonder if those would appeal to you ? I have never tasted them, but I do have a recipe in some of my files.


 o
Minnesota Method Pickles and Tomatoes

I thought I should add that the UMinn page on canning tomatoes without acid (i.e. Minnesota Method tomatoes) has been pulled from the Minnesota Extension site.

The Minnesota Method pickles document remains on the Minnesota site and can also be found via an Extension search at the NCHFP.

Apparently someone at Minnesota is monitoring these documents.

Carol


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 31, 10 at 18:30

LindaLou,

the NCHFP Pepper Onion Relish has
6 c onions
6 c peppers
6 c vinegar
and yields 9 half pints.

the UCalDavis has
16 c peppers
4 1/2 cup onion
3 c vinegar
and yields 4-5 pints.

sure it's straight vinegar, but there's a heck of a lot more in the NCHFP recipe.

The Uga Vidalia Onion also uses straight vinegar, but it calls for 1 quart (4C) vinegar) to 1 1/2 gallon (24cups) onion and yields about 8 pints.

There has to be some correlation between amount of vinegar and amount of low acid food and yields.

Several years back, I was trying to update or replace a recipe for Pepper-Onion Relish that didn't call for processing. I was referred to the NCHFP recipe, but I knew I wouldn't like that much vinegar so I just forgot about it. Sometime later I found the UCalDavis recipe and it was close enough to mine that I used it.

As for the Vidalia Onion, I questioned the amount of vinegar and was told on this forum that it is a safe tested recipe. It still seems a bit out of sync with so many of the NCHFP relishes, which are very heavy on the vinegar...but it has been tested. It's also pretty old.

If I'm missing something here, please tell me. But it truly seems that when you compare tested recipes there is a huge variance of acceptable acidification.

kay


 o
part of the difference

I think part of the difference is that the first one is half onions, half peppers. I would have to see if I can find the ph chart, but it may also be the difference in ph levels between peppers and onions.
Sometimes in recipes it will matter how each veggie will absorb the acid or how much it will dilute it with the water in the cells .
ph:
Peppers 4.65 - 5.45
Onions, red 5.30 - 5.80
Onion white 5.37 - 5.85
Onions, yellow 5.32 - 5.60


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Sugar reduces the zing of vinegar I didn't see any in the Heinz recipe one of the ball recipes calls for 1/4 cup another for 3/4 cup Mabye you can still add some to the jars as you open them

Even the nchfp calls for less vinegar than the Heinz recipe and for sugar also I pretty much always use cider vinegar

Don't worry about causing discussions(: The people worried about the MN recipe also call into question the berdain books don't forget the usda is underfunded and under staffed they deem any recipe they do not have the time or money to test as unsafe can they find a link to the research that proves that recipe is unsafe as made following the instructions its no wonder everybody in mn isn't dead... But hey everybody trusts the Federal govt right

Here is a link that might be useful: nchfp recipe with sugar


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 31, 10 at 23:29

This is getting a bit confusing ... the only reason I introduced the relishes is those were recipes that I have had experience with and have studied mightly to try and figure out why the amounts of vinegar varies so greatly between them and more current recipes from NCHFP.

Carol said it above (way above) in this thread: "USDA recipes are essentially foolproof, allowing for all the possible ways home canners may digress from or misinterpret instructions." I'm sure they ARE trying to protect us from ourselves and any mistakes we might make. But in several instances those efforts have meant that I simply no longer can quite a few products. I'm not willing to risk my old recipes, but my stomach won't tolerate so much vinegar.

When dealing with pickles and relishes, USDA seems to have opted for more and more vinegar. The recipes I cited are older recipes, developed by UGa (Vidalia Onion) and UCalDavis (pepper/onion relish. And they are tested and trusted recipes.

Absent any evidence to the contrary, I dont see how we can conclude that the Minn Pickles can't be trusted.

LindaLou, glad you found the pH list ... I've got a number of questions, but I'll save that for another thread.

Kay


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Kay, have you ever tried fermenting? I find some vinegar recipes too tart but love fermented foods.
It's much easier than it sounds. Try "the joy of pickling" for fermented and vinegar recipes. I think UGA has fermenting recipes and info, too.
Dave, I did my Masters in Nutrition in the 80, graduated medical school 13 years ago. Way back in the middle 80s we actually knew about salmonella, listeria, e.coli, botulism and listeria!
When I did Animal Science for undergraduate, we were so advanced we knew to wear clean overclothes and sterilize our shoes in bleach before entering the chicken, pig and foaling barns. Who woulda thunk those farmers were so smart way back when?


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 1, 10 at 8:15

thanks tracy, that is my next project.

I had planned to do Linda Zs half sours and Lower East Side full sours, but that project got sidetracked.

Next year.

k


 o
RE: I'm going to miss homemade canned pickles

Dave, I did my Masters in Nutrition in the 80, graduated medical school 13 years ago. Way back in the middle 80s we actually knew about salmonella, listeria, e.coli, botulism and listeria!

I'm sure you did - know about it that is. But check out the dates of the first research into the role of listeria in canning food safety.

Knowing it exists and determining its role in food canning are 2 different things. ;)

Dave


 o
half sours

Please, be sure the half sours are safe to make. Many of the refrigerator pickle recipes are known to harbor listeria. They need to be fully fermented recipes.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Harvest Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here