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Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Posted by kgreene CA (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 9, 07 at 10:59

I just made a batch of pickles yesterday based on a recipe from Joy of Cooking (they haven't had any canning info for one or two revisions so it's not current). The main thing I'm worried about is that I left a couple garlic cloves in each jar. I have searched and read the forum but I wanted comments on this regarding botulism and garlic. Here's my process:

I got a 12 pack of quart wide mouth jars. I hand washed them and set them aside. Later I filled them with hot (140 degrees) tap water (from a well). In the meantime the temperature dropped so I ended up just rinsing the jars in hot water before packing them. I then put them (open) in the pressure cooker which had boiling or near boiling water to pre heat the jars somewhat before putting in the boiling or just boiled brine. I think I also packed them too tightly, to me "pack tightly" means just that, but there was no way I could fit a spatula around the edge to remove air like the recipe called for.

The recipe called for 3 cups water to 3 cups vinegar (5% white) to 1/3 cup salt. The recipe did say to boil the garlic in the brine but not put them into the jars. However, many other recipes I found online called for raw garlic in the jars so I put them in anyway (that is, RAW garlic in the jars, not boiled in brine). Also, the pressure canner I used said in the directions it would kill botulism at the higher temperatures so I thought I was being safe, until I saw some garlic warning online, of course right after I spent all day making the pickles!

I picked cucumbers from my garden, they were all larger so I just quartered them and cut them down to size. I did remove the blossom end.

I also put in a couple wild grape leaves (anyone use these?) , a head of fresh dill and 1+ tsp dill seed or pickling spice per quart jar. I then put the lids on, hand tightened them, and processed them in the pressure canner. (I was going to do a boiling water bath but the pressure canner said you could process them for "zero minutes" in the pressure canner and it would take less time. I also decided it would be safer). Anyway, the pressure process involved letting steam escape the valve for 5 minutes, putting the weight on, then waiting till the pressure was reached (ie rocking motion on the weight, it was 15 psi I believe), then immediately turning the heat off and waiting for it to drop pressure before removing.

So my main question is, are these pickles safe with the garlic in them? If the garlic isn't in them, is the recipe safe without garlic? If it ISN'T safe with the garlic, can I get new lids and repack all the jars (removing the garlic) with new brine? (what % should I use?) Will that then be safe as the garlic has only been in a day (how long does it take to produce botulism?) Or will the pressure cooker have processed it enough to removed any possible botulism? After reading more of this forum, now I wonder (if it is safe) if the pickles are all mushy because of the high temp processing.

Or could I just open these an use them as fridge pickles or something now? About how long until these would be ready to eat anyway? Oh yeah, I also made one jar using yellow summer squash instead of cucumbers, are these safe in the brine?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

I also forgot to mention that some siphoning occurred. I didn't even know this could happen till I noticed some of the jars had leaked and I searched around for information. I thought I had left the 1/2 gap called for but maybe not or maybe it was too close. Now I'm thinking it was because I used the pressure canner. Does siphoning cause any health concerns or is it just visual or possibly reduce the quality of the product? Most of the jars have cucumbers sticking out above the brine level now.

thanks for any info on all this...


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

kgreene,

WHere did you read particular warnings about garlic and botulism?

I haven't ever heard of garlic especially promoting botulism. (The concern in the thread about garlic in oil is because of the oil -- any moist vegetable matter, whether garlic, onion, fresh herbs, etc., stored in oil at room temperature is considered a risk.)

I've made pickled beans from current, tested recipes that involve leaving garlic and heads of dill in the jars.

But I can't comment on pressure canning safety as I only do BWB.

Zabby


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 9, 07 at 12:06

garlic CAN lower the acidity of pickles;
however the recipe you used is rather close to Linda Lou's Heinz Pickle recipe

Kosher Dill (Heinz Recipe)
4 lbs pickling cukes
14 cloves garlic, peeled & split
1/4 cup salt
2 3/4 cups distilled or apple cider vinegar 5% acidity
2 3/4 cups water
12 to 14 sprigs fresh dill weed
28 peppercorns

Wash cucumbers; remove 1/16 inch from blossom end, cut in half lengthwise. Combine garlic and next 3 ingredients; heat to boiling. Remove garlic and place 4 halves into each clean jar, then pack cucumbers, adding 2 sprigs of dill and 4 peppercorns. Pour hot vinegar solution over cucumbers to within 1/2 inch of top. Immediately adjust covers as jar manufacturer directs. Process 10 minutes in BWB. Makes 6-7 pints.

However, this business with the pressure cooker has me puzzled... BWB in LL's recipe is Boiling Water Bath. I'd never subject a poor cucumber to pressure canning (even "Zero minutes").

I think your areas of concern are texture and other bacteria ... the vinegar is there to prevent the botulism spores from growing in the sealed jar, but there's just no way to know if the procedure you followed brought the product to the equivalent temperature of 10 minutes in a BWB.
Can you reprocess in a BWB? Yes, within 24 hours, BUT, if they aren't mush now I suspect they would be?
Can you put them in the fridge and use safely? Probably, but I'm gonna suggest you wait for Carol or Linda Lou to give their opinions. They're much more experience than I am and I might have missed something.

Kay


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

From what I understand, it's not the oil that's the problem, it's that the oil provides an oxygen free environment which allows botulism to grow. Since canning produces an oxygen free environment it seems that would have the same possible problems.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

But botulism doesn't like vinegar.
I've never pressure canned pickles either, but with a 50/50 ratio of water/vinegar, I personally wouldn't hesitate to eat them.

Deanna


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RE: RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

What made me worried was a comment I read somewhere (can't remember) that said garlic needed 100% vinegar. Unfortunately I don't know what's accurate so I posted here for more opinions.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 9, 07 at 13:15

Do you think the comment you remember applied to pickled garlic ... not garlic in other pickled vegetables? Most of the recipes I found for pickled garlic did not dilute the vinegar. That makes sense ... the more garlic you use, the more you raise the pH.
kay


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

> What made me worried was a comment I read somewhere (can't remember) that said garlic needed 100% vinegar. Unfortunately I don't know what's accurate so I posted here for more opinions.

Ah, thanks. I was wondering why specifically it was the garlic that worried you. There are safe, tested recipes for tomato sauce (MUCH lower acidity than brine) that include a bit of garlic, so I'm surprised, but I learn something new every day. (The joy of the Internet and the
difficulty of trackign sources, sigh!)

Indeed, the thing with oil is the anaerobic environment -- WITH a high pH. The low pH of vinegar is what makes pickles usually the safest thing you can can.

But I haven't done any pressure canning at all; maybe the safety issues there are different from in a BWB....?

Zabby


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Well if anyone has concrete data I would appreciate it in any case. It makes sense on one level that if it's the overall pH a couple cloves may not adjust it enough. However one source had said internally the garlic would be dangerous (for example you could leave garlic in oil for a short time to flavor it and then remove the garlic, which would be OK.)

I vacillate between thinking I'm totally paranoid and everything is fine to thinking I should throw everything away without even opening the jars for fear of contamination! :-)


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Here I go thinking again. I thought the reason they had you take the garlic out of the pickles is because sometimes the garlic can turn a bluish purple color because of the acidity. Not an aesthetically pleasing color for food. Your recipe is similar to the dill pickles I make, but the recipe (BBB?) I use doesn't tell you to take the garlic out. I'm a BWB canner though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pickle Help


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

I make a pickled pepper recipe which calls for leaving a garlic clove in the mix. In some recipes, that's OK because the level of acid is high. I have experienced the bluish purple color, so the first thing I thought of when you posted this is that it was an aesthetics issue. When I eat my peppers I usually discard the garlic clove. But again, I'm not sure. For example, many "end of the garden" pickles are pickled in a very strong brine, which compensates for the differing acidity levels of different vegetables, but I don't know about garlic per se.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 9, 07 at 16:14

the heinz recipe called for raw garlic in the jar ... that is a tested recipe. so that's okay. That recipe also called for 10 minutes in a BWB.

The processing technique kgreene used is what has me concerned about the safety of the pickles. I simply do not know if the method she used raised each part of the product (cukes, brine, garlic) temperature to the equivalent of 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. That consistent temperature throughtout along with the vinegar is what this TESTED recipe says is necessary to properly acidify the cukes and garlic and kill ANY lurking bacteria -- not just botulism.
kay


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Acc. the USDA guidelines (currently being revised) for home canning 1-2 cloves of garlic per jar are allowed in pickled recipes as long as no oil is included in the mix and as long as the ratio of 5% vinegar to water is balanced. (Like the Heinz pickle recipe.)

Per NCHFP the problem with garlic is when oil is also included in the recipe.

Many foods, including salmon eggs, smoked fish, garlic in oil, vacuum packaged lotus roots, and baked potatoes, can support growth and botulinum toxin formation if the storage temperature is suitable.

Additional problem related to garlic is the color change that can occur in response to the pH of the product or the water you use. Oil in recipes also has a problem (potential) of turning rancid.

So my main question is, are these pickles safe with the garlic in them?

I would say yes, they would be safe because of the brine mix, not the pressure cooking, IF you had stuck to the recipe. ;) However for future reference the point of boiling the garlic in the brine was a step that should have been followed. Its purpose - to pre-kill any bacteria on or in the garlic. You then added additional ingredients (grape leaves, dill, spices) none of which had been computed into the ph of the recipe nor pre-cooked. They also affect the ph of the mix. And it sounds like you overpacked. That changes the density of the product and thus the processing time.

Lastly, like Kay said I can guarantee you will not care for pickles that have been pressure canned. Pickles should never be pressured as they go quite soft, floppy and unappetizing.

All that said, ;) I would suggest you consider opening the jars, check the texture of the pickles and see if it appeals to you to keep them. If they aren't already soft and floppy and you wish to keep them, dump it all back into a large, non-aluminum stockpot, remove the grape leaves and dill heads, remove the cuke spears and set them aside briefly, leave the rest of the spices and garlic, reheat all the brine to boiling, put the cuke spears into fresh hot jars with fresh lids, (repack more loosley), pour the hot liquid into the jars leaving 1/2" headspace. Reprocess in a BWB for 5 minutes.

That would be the safest way to go. Hope this helps and remember that every deviation from a tested recipe increases your risk level. ;)

Dave


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Aah OK. The pressure canner manual implied that processing with pressure was actual safer than a BWB. I can say that likely they were boiling the whole time (the jars were bubbling when removed from the canner after cooling down for several minutes) but I can't 100% verify that.

I'm curious about that actually, a couple jars appeared to be boiling for several minutes after removal from the canner but I don't see how they could have been boiling for that long. Could some other reaction be causing bubbling?

Also, any comments on pickling summer squash? I'm used to reading a variety of recipes and then sort of making my own version when cooking, I suppose that's not the best or safest thing to do when canning. :-)

So is there something different to how pressure canning works, or if I did a 5 minutes pressure process, would that be equivalent to a 5 minute BRB? Or does steam transfer heat that differently than being submerged in water? I'm just trying to understand the physics from a canning perspective.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

I'm used to reading a variety of recipes and then sort of making my own version when cooking, I suppose that's not the best or safest thing to do when canning. :-)

Yep, not the way to go with canning. ;) Because of the hazards that can develop over long term storage vs. fresh use, only tested recipes are safe to home can. Or, as Linda_lou often says (and I agree heartily) "there are cooking recipes and there are canning recipes". Not everything can or should be canned.

Pressure canning works very differently from BWB canning. First because you use only a very small amount of water with a pressure canner (2-3 inches) as opposed to submerging the jars completely under the water in a BWB. But you add a great deal of pressure - steam is hotter than boiling water and steam under pressure makes all the difference. ;)

Both can create a vacuum to seal the jar but it is the degrees of heat being transferred through the glass jars into the jar contents so that bacteria are killed that is crucial. Especially when dealing with low-acid foods.

Heat in the boiling water of the BWB can't get nearly as hot as steam under 10 lbs. of pressure can. Jar content temps in a BWB rarely exceed 200 since the water is only 212 degrees and some heat is lost in the conductivity process, depending on the density of the food. While jar contents in a pressure cooker can exceed 240 degrees or more. Further, the pressure forces the steam heat into the cellular structure of the food (thus the mushy pickles) rather than just surface heating it as a BWB does.

BWB is perfect for any high acid food canning where you also have the assurance of an acidic brine or high acid pH. Pressure canners are an equal necessity if one is going to do much low-acid food canning. But they are not interchangeable. ;)

You can read a great deal more about the differences at the link below and you will also find many great tested canning recipes. The Ball Blue Book and the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving are also excellent resources - hundreds of tested recipes to choose from.

Hope this helps.

Dave

PS: yes, you can pickle summer squash. There are recipes for it in both the books mentioned above. Good luck and safe canning!

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 9, 07 at 18:32

"I'm curious about that actually, a couple jars appeared to be boiling for several minutes after removal from the canner but I don't see how they could have been boiling for that long. Could some other reaction be causing bubbling? "

was this in the pressure canner? How long was it between the time you turned off the heat let the pressure drop, removed the top and then took the jars out of the canner?

I had this happen with Onion Relish in a BWB, but that's because this dummy lifted the rack immediately -- didn't let them cool five minutes in the water. The flats popped immediately and the jars kept boiling for several minutes sitting on the counter. I'm lucky they didn't shatter from thermal shock when they hit the atmosphere. (Come to think of it, I believe LindaLou said the new recommendatiions are that they sit for 10 minutes). I didn't eat them, because that was just one of several things that I screwed up that session, so I just tossed 'em. I had reached my level of tolerance.

kay


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

It's very difficult for us to draw conclusions because we're not seeing the precise recipe and instructions. We're speculating based on incomplete information. On the face of it the recipe itself sounds fine, but we can't be 100% sure. It may be that in paraphrasing you missed something relevant.

I admit I'm confused. I've never heard of pressure-canning pickles. It sounds as if you used an older Joy of Cooking recipe (year? edition?) or was it from Joy of Preserving? In later editions Joy of Cooking bundled some of the specialized recipes which didn't make it into the "big book" into individual titles, i.e. Joy of Grilling, Joy of Preserving.

But then it also sounds as if you used a processing method from your pressure canner manual? If so, those manuals are notorious for being out-of-date. For instance, 5 minutes venting is 1/2 the current recommended time (10 minutes) and then as soon as the gauge reaches 15 pounds pressure you shut it down. Since the canner wasn't fully vented, it's at pressure (15 psi) but not at temperature because there's air remaining in the canner.

In other words, I have no clue how this equates to the recommended boiling-water-bath time. It appears you have the worst of both worlds. You don't have the thermal properties of a boiling water bath nor do you have the temperature of a fully-pressurized canner.

So it seems re-processing or refrigerating the pickles would be the way to go. If the pickles are unpleasantly soft after re-canning, you could salvage them by opening a processed jar and grinding for dill relish, using chopped in tuna salad filling, etc.

P.S. I'm guessing the the garlic is cooked in the brine to acidify it. It's not a problem if garlic turns blue (or cauliflower turns pink) in pickles. It's an enzymatic reaction. Generally with garlic it happens because the garlic is immature/insufficiently cured.

For squash pickles, I'd also recommend the NCHFP site link posted above.

I hope this doesn't discourage you from canning. But Linda Lou's comment is one worth engraving on the side of your pressure canner. Innovating with home-preserving can be laden with risk.

Carol


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Maybe this will be helpful?

Joy of Cooking 1979 Edition Pg.848
Dill And Kosher Dill Pickles About 7 Pints

This procedure bypasses that for long-brinned dill pickles. The brine is weaker and the curring more rapid; but the pickles do not keep so well, especially if home-processed. We suggest using a heated brine. Garlic, like all members of the onion family, is very susceptible to bacterial activity, so be sure to remove garlic cloves before sealing the jars. Wash thouroughly and cut in half lengthwise:
4 lbs. cucumbers
Combine and heat to the boiling point:
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1/3 cup pickling salt
If you want to create Kosher Dills-- without benefit of clergy--add:
12 peeled sliced garlic cloves
When the boiling point is reached, remove the garlic cloves. Pack the cucumbers into hot sterile jars. Add to each jar:
2 tablespoons dill seed
3 peppercorns
Fill the jars within 1/2 inch of the top with the hot pickling liquid. Immediately adjust lids. Be sure to use lids recommended for pickling. Seal and process in boiling-water bath 15 minutes for pints.

Lynn


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Most pickles I make use full stength vinegar.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

That joy of cooking recipe is the one I used, or rather based the recipe on. Yes, I had the canner full of water but then after reading the portions about botulism in the canner manual I got worried so decided to pressure process them.

So is there ANY chance of botulism developing already? The warning about garlic in oil says after 3 weeks in the fridge they should be discarded but I couldn't find any other info about this sort of situation. I'm about ready to just throw everything away as-is, jars and all, and try it again if I get another crop of cucumbers this year. Unfortunately I did this method with 14 lbs of cucumbers, 10 quart jars!

Maybe I should try fridge pickles. Are the recipes basically the same just without the processing? I have found several recipes online, but now I'm paranoid about using an "approved" one.

As far as the question about boiling after removing from the canner, it was probably 10 minutes from when I turned it off to when I removed the jars. That is a guess, it's basically however long it took for the steam to escape and then maybe some extra wait time if I was preparing the next batch. I think that's what the canner manual said about removing the top.

Does anyone know of good locations to purchase canning items in the bay area (san jose, ca area)? I had to go to a few stores to even find any mason jars! (and there were no other related items there other than things for making jam.) I'll look around for the ball book or maybe use the USDA recipes.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

The recipe itself looks fine. But generally it's best to avoid canning recipes prior to 1994 and even post-1994 you need to be careful about your sources (i.e. miscellaneous recipes posted on the internet).

I don't think you need to worry about the garlic. As has been mentioned, the issue with garlic is garlic in oil or garlic in low-acid recipes. Neither applies here. In this case it's in a vinegar brine and the proportions of vinegar to water meet current standards.

I just can't answer the processing question. They should be OK but we can't provide guarantees.

There's nothing wrong with canning pickles. Properly canned pickles are at least as safe as refrigerated pickles and in some few instances they're actually safer. The risk comes with experimentation. Tested recipes followed scrupulously will come as close to zero risk as is humanly possible.

Carol


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

In SF - Costco if you have them. Ace Hardware stores also carries the Ball Blue Book. The Farmer's Market maybe. Lots of places online - just google "canning supplies".

Embarcadero Home Cannery

No need to be paranoid, just careful. ;)

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Canning supplies in SF


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 10, 07 at 9:47

kgreene, I just bought the Complete Book of Home Preserving (Ball) ... about $20. on Amazon -- free shipping because I bought the new editiion of Topp's Small Batch Preserving at the same time. Both books offer enough variety that you should not feel the need to mix and match recipes. I stick to the recipes as written.
Condolences if you can't get any more Cukes ... the drought prevented me from canning ANY pickles this year.
Kay


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

kgreene,

The Ball book is your best bet for all the basics, but you might also look for the Ellie Topp book; it's one of the few modern ones with lots of new recipes, they're really lovely and interesting, designed for modern tastes, some with low sugar, etc.

Also, do you have this Michigan State "Preserving Food Safety" site bookmarked? It's one of several online sites (I find it the easiest to navigate) that gives approved basic recipes for most staples.

Ask at hardware stores for mason jars. I used to live in a very urban area, where canning stuff wasn't widely visible and available, but I found when I asked that my neighbourhood hardware store always had jars in the back, and when they didn't have the size I wanted they could get them within a day or two.

Wal-Mart also almost always has the basic equipment.

For fancy stuff, try Kitchen Krafts (online). They have EVERYTHING. Not cheap, but the delivery is fast and reliable.

Happy canning!

Zabby

Here is a link that might be useful: Preserving Food Safely - MSU


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 10, 07 at 12:05

Re the MSUE site, you may not want to make the
DILLS--WHOLE PACK or
DELI-STYLE DILL PICKLES
This type of pickle -- partially fermented for a week & then refrigerated -- is currently undergoing testing by the NCHFP.
There are several alternative refrigerated pickles in the Ball "Complete Book" and Topps "Small Batch" that use vinegar rather than short term fermentation.

If you like sweet pickles, you might consider the Bread and Butter Freezer pickles in "Small Batch"
Kay


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Does anyone use the USDA approved pasteurization method for their pickles? I have been using it for years and never have a soft pickle. All you need is a candy thermometer to keep the water bath at 185 degrees. It takes 30 minutes of processing and pickles are always crisp. I use the same method for Dilly Beans. Brine must be super hot when placing in jars. I leave the lid off the canner and turn the jars occasionally.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 11, 07 at 8:49

shirleywny5 --no, I've been tempted, but it sounded like a lot of hassle. You make it sound simple. I DO love crisp pickles ... would you say your pastuerized are as crisp as Claussen from the refrigerated case?
Kay


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

> This type of pickle -- partially fermented for a week & then refrigerated -- is currently undergoing testing by the NCHFP.

Kay, do you know why? Are there cases of people being made sick by these pickles?

Zabby


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 11, 07 at 14:17

Zabby -- the problem is Listeria. I had a great recipe -- the second one listed in my post above -- but I happened to find the NCHFP link below and got very uneasy:

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/papers/2004/04ift-picklesabstract.pdf

I asked about it on the forum and nobody knew anything about it. LindaLou didn't get a chance to ask Dr Andress about it durng her video conference so I eMailed Dr Andress and learned that the recipe had been withdrawn by the USDA in 1988 and dropped from the 3rd edition of UGa's "So easy to preserve". It has, however, survived on line.

As far as I can determine, no warning was issued. It was simply dropped and Linda Lou said none of her extension friends were aware of it.

NCHFP conducted tests which were published in 2004. You can read the abstract on the link above, but the gist of it is that Listeria grows and multiplies during the 7 day fermentation period at room temperature. Most of similar recipes say you can eat the pickles after 3 days of refrigeration. The tests showed that the the lactic acid produced during fermentation had significantly lowered the pH level, but had not killed the listeria at that time.
The determination was made: "no recommendations to prepare this product in home should be distributed."

Further tests are scheduled for the 2006 - 2008 cycle of the NCHFP's funding.

Here's the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) link for info on listeria:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/listeriosis_g.htm

A lot of healthy people adults aren't too concerned about listeria, but I fall in the "elderly" category and have COPD. I also wouldn't want my grandchildren or my daughter who has diabetes eating these pickles.

Having said all that, I continue to make and eat refrigerator pickles that use vinegar and are kept in the refrigerator from day one. I also drink cold pressed apple cider and several times a year I journey to my fave deli in Baltimore and scarf down a couple of half-sours which have never seen a refrigerator.

When I saw the link to MSUE and knew kgreene had mentioned refrigerating pickles, I felt I should pass along the info and let her check it.

Glad you asked Zabby.

Kay


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RE: Pickle addendum

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 11, 07 at 15:33

Hi, had to run out and pick up Grandson at school.

Want to emphasize there are "partially fermented" and then refrigerated pickles -- what I call "half sours" the ones I really love. Kay


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RE: another addendum

  • Posted by kayskats 7 (usda) 8 (arbor da (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 11, 07 at 15:57

I finally found the thread in which this was discussed

Vinegar and Salt for Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

sorry I don't know how to put it in a link, but if you search you'll find it. Kay


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

It is simple. Much more so than the HWB. I haven't tried the refrigerator pickles. I know I wouldn't have room in the fridge anyway. When I do pickles, all liquids are 50-50 vinegar and water.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

I've read most of the threads/answers here. My main concern is did you sterilize the jars first? From what you wrote, it didn't sound like it. Whether you water bath or pressure can process, the jars must be sterilized. If you don't and you water bath, you run a high risk to food spoilage. I would not use anything but a actual canning book - not a cook book - to learn how to can/preserve food. Common sense comes into play when you read canning recipes elsewhere.

I've been canning over 30 years now. Raised on a farm where we put up and preserved everything we could. Number one concern was sterilization of the jars, and number 2 was proper/correct processing time. And, cucumbers do not need a pressure canner. Water boil bath is recommended.

More on my opinions - I prefer the KERR canning book than the Ball canning book. And, I prefer KERR canning lids over Ball lids. KERR lids have a wider band of rubber for sealing. I've never had failure with a KERR lid and when I tried the Ball lids, I did.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Jars do not need to be sterilized unless processing time is less than 10 minutes (i.e. jelly for 5 minutes). The Kerr book, sadly, is out of publication and has been since the early (I think) 2000's. Many of the old Kerr recipes are contained in the new Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Carol


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Hi, I was hoping someone might know the answer to this question, as this is the first time I have canned pickles. I went to my pantry and checked the pickles I canned last week. The lid on one jar wan't concave ( I guess sealed?) any longer. The liquid in the jar is cloudy at the bottom of the jar, but all of the other jars are clear still (the ones that are sealed still). Most likely the cloudy jar is bad and I should toss it right? I can't just put it in the fridge now right? I know it is probably a stupid question, but like I said, first time canning pickles...thanks for your help!


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

I'd toss that one jar and check the remainder periodically. Were they all processed according to the latest USDA guidelines? Was it an approved recipe?


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Agree with Shirley - toss that one - don't eat it - and monitor the rest closely. If you will let us know what recipe you used we can tell you if the others are safe and what may have caused the problem.

Dave


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Agree with Shirley - toss that one - don't eat it - and monitor the rest closely. If you will let us know what recipe you used we can tell you if the others are safe and what may have caused the problem.

Dave


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Yeah, 4 others have also popped up now, but aren't leaking, the lids just aren't concave. They aren't springy though. There is a lot of pressure under the lids pushing them out. The recipe I used was off the internet from All Recipes, but I listened to the reviewers, 193 of them) and did not process in hot water bath to keep them crunchy:

Dill Pickles
SUBMITTED BY: SHARON HOWARD PHOTO BY: Emily Beth

"This recipe for Kosher style dills was given to me 25 years ago by a farmers wife who grew cucumbers and it has never let me down. The two things I have found critical to crisp dill pickles are soaking the cukes in ice water for at least 2 hours and ensuring the brine is at a full boil when poured over the dills."
RECIPE RATING:

Read Reviews (193)
Review/Rate This Recipe
PREP TIME 2 Hrs
COOK TIME 15 Min
READY IN 2 Hrs 15 Min
Original recipe yield 8 - 1 quart jars
SERVINGS (Help)
Servings

US METRIC
INGREDIENTS (Nutrition)
8 pounds 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
4 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling salt
16 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
8 sprigs fresh dill weed
8 heads fresh dill weed

DIRECTIONS
Wash cucumbers, and place in the sink with cold water and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice water for at least 2 hours but no more than 8 hours. Refresh ice as required. Sterilize 8 (1 quart ) canning jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.
In each jar, place 2 half-cloves of garlic, one head of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar (about 1 pound). Then add 2 more garlic halves, and 1 sprig of dill. Fill jars with hot brine. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar's rims of any residue.
Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process quart jars for 15 minutes.
Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Well that isn't a safe ratio of vinegar to water - 50:50 is the lowest you can go safely. And, since they weren't processed, they now need to be tossed. Sorry for all your lost time and ingredients. But please stick with tested and approved recipes in the future to avoid problems like this.

Dave


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Just another point about vinegar and the current strength of only 5%. 25 years ago, you could probably find higher percentages of vinegar. Heinz used to sell quarts specifically for home pickling, and was about 20%. They also warned you to dilute it to 5% if being used as salad type vinegar.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?) 20% vinegar

I think I may have located a source for the 20% FOOD GRADE vinegar. The product is USDA approved and it can be used as an organic weed killer too. I should know more soon. If it ends up being a viable source, I plan to get a big supply of it for my pickle making and other needs. Bring back that really SOUR PICKLE!!


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by dian57 M-H Valley NY-5 (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 11, 09 at 5:22

I've been looking all over for 20% vinegar without success. It's for a recipe I found as an alternative for Round-Up weed killer.

PLEASE post if you finally locate a source.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Have not heard back from the maker yet, but will send of another note asking where they sell their product. Marshall Grain in Texas carries a 20%, but the bottle states 'not for human consumption', so its probably not food grade. I should know more in a few days..


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

I used the same recipe that kitajam used. I didnt use a bwb but I had the jars in a 250 degree oven till I used them. All jars are still sealed (its been over a week). The jar that I made and put in the fridge tasted very bitter and left an aftertaste in my mouth for the rest of the day. I did add some alum to keep them crisp and cut off the blossom end. I am new to canning and will take any and all advice. If the jars stay sealed is their any health hazard to eating these and will the bitterness subside with time?


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Uh-oh, I followed the Heinz recipe but since I had minced garlic (not in oil, new unopened jar) I used that instead of fresh and didn't boil it, just put it in the jars with the other spices and poured the 50:50 vinegar/water (plus salt) that had boiled over it. It was boiling when I filled the first jar, but not boiling by the end. Processed in BWB for 10 min with 5 min cooldown. That was 2 weeks ago and the brine doesn't look cloudy, the lids (stored with no rings) haven't popped. Will these be safe to eat, or should I toss them?

I boiled the garlic today, but since we want pickles to eat in the next week (and I was using slicing cukes not pickling) I just stuck them in the fridge (used old PB jars), didn't process them.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

The reason why it isnt easy to find 20% food grade vinegar is that it can be mixed with a few other household cleaning agents to create an explosive. Who knows, just for looking for it you could be on an FBI list somewhere. Just in case you were wondering why its not easy to find.


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New Member, New Canner, Pickle Concerns

Hello everyone. I am new to the forums as of today, and have been canning only a couple of seasons. I have been reading through a lot of the posts about pickle concerns, and I want to make sure mine are safe.

I used the Ball Flex batch pickle mix for both Bread and Butter and Dill pickles. I followed the recipes on the jars for the pickling liquid. But to a couple of the batches I added 1 or 2 sweet cherry peppers to the jars (all pint size). We pierced the pepper skins before adding them to the jars. The tops of the peppers with a small amount of green stem are still attached.
We added these to both dill and bread and butter recipes.
I also put a small green tomato in one of the jars of dill pickles.

I also have a concern about water. I bought distilled water today to use from here on in, but we do have fairly hard water (there is a noticeable white residue left inside the canning pot after boiling.) A couple of the dill batches used my tap water in the pickling liquid, and in one case I used bottled spring water. Are these safe to eat? The one where I used the spring water looked a bit cloudy, the one from my tap still looks ok.

Sorry for so many questions, but now I have "pickle paranoia" as I saw the title of one of the threads! Thanks in advance for your replies.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

I have a question. I am TOTALLY new at this and only had a small garden, so not sure I will have enough to "do-over" the recipe I used didn't specify using canning, pickling, or kosher salt in it, so I used regular table salt (iodized). So, they've been fermenting in a gallon jar on the countertop for about 4 days now and wondering if it was all a waste. :( Will these be ok to eat? I guess the fermenting takes 6 days or so, then I process.. not sure if I'll have enough jars to separate out, but, do I just use the same liquid that I used for fermenting???


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 27, 13 at 17:26

pntherlady, it's not a safety issue. While use of canning or pickling salt is recommended, fermented and nonfermented pickles may be safely made using either iodized or noniodized table salt but the noncaking materials added to table salts may make the brine cloudy. Cloudy brine isn't unsafe, just cosmetic difference.

It never hurts to have some on hand though, first time you notice it (often on the very bottom grocery shelf below spices, seasonings here for some reason), just pick up a container and slip into your cupboard. Well sealed, it hasn't caked or hardened into a clump for me over time even without the anticaking agent.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 27, 13 at 18:26

The iodized salt can also cause the food itself to discolor, again an appearance issue not a safety issue. For future reference, any time salt is called for in a food preservation recipe of any kind it means canning/pickling or Kosher salt.

If you find these to be very salty pickles it is because the finer grained table salt measures very differently from the others.

Now when you get ready to jar and process them I recommend making a fresh brine for them. 1 T canning salt to 1 quart of water. Most find that gives the best results and it will also get rid of the cloudiness. But yes you can use the fermenting brine if you wish but it will need to be filtered first. See link below.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Fermenting dill pickles


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

The iodine in iodized table salt could potentially act as an anti-microbial and inhibit the fermentation, but, if a good ferment has already been obtained with it, no problem, I wouldn't worry about it, the iodine will help keep you from getting a goiter. :-)


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

OK, no garlic and oil together? Colorado state and Clemson both have "approved" canning recipes for pickled peppers in oil with garlic in the mix. Are these safe?

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/food_safety/preservation/hgic3440.html Marinated Peppers

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/FOODNUT/09314.html Hot Peppers Marinated in Oil


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

fotophreek,

It's not an absolute rule of no garlic and oil together - it's the rule of "don't make up your own recipes using oil as an ingredient". The recipes you find from NCHFP and most of the .edu sites (like the marinated pepper recipes you showed above) have been tested for safety in a food science lab with access to lots of instrumentation under lots of different conditions aka human error.

Canning is a science - not an art like cooking.

That's why we stress using approved recipes. There are many unsafe recipes and canning methods posted on the Internet, so if you find one that sounds "iffy", just post it here for review.


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Oh good! I made the Colorado recipe this summer. We've been eating them to no ill effect but this thread made me a little panicky. I know sometimes the NCHFP pulls recipes for review and I wasn't sure if these were missed. THX!!!


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Seven years old topic and still going strong. I like it
-------------------------------

Because some recipe's are tested to be safe DOES NOT mean that anything else is automatically UNSAFE. One has to know the principle of canning and preserving. Not everything might be covered in the book.

One of the safety factors in BWB and pickling is the pH requirement. When you mix a 5% acidity vinegar 50/50 with water you end up having a pH of LESS than 2.6. On top of that she adde 1/3 cup of salt. Geez.

Even if you mixed it as 25%(v)/75%(w) you would have had a pH of 2.7 . The minimum requirement for canning(non-pc) is pH of 4.2. That will be like just ONE table spoon of vinegar in a quart of water. THIS IS, NOT CONSIDERING THE WATER THAT MIGHT LEACH OUT OF THE INGREDIENTS which will have a minimal effect, as far as pH is concerned.

It is good to be concerned about safely and health but it is not good and HEALTHY to make it scary.

Disclaimer:JIMO


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 23:11

One of the safety factors in BWB and pickling is the pH requirement. When you mix a 5% acidity vinegar 50/50 with water you end up having a pH of LESS than 2.6.

You keep posting this and we have to keep correcting you. Your computations would only be correct IF you totally disregard the pH of the water you added which in most cases is 7 or higher.

Even if you mixed it as 25%(v)/75%(w) you would have had a pH of 2.7 . The minimum requirement for canning(non-pc) is pH of 4.2. That will be like just ONE table spoon of vinegar in a quart of water. THIS IS, NOT CONSIDERING THE WATER THAT MIGHT LEACH OUT OF THE INGREDIENTS which will have a minimal effect, as far as pH is concerned.

No the effect of leaching is not minimal and you are totally disregarding the pH of the food in the jar. We aren't canning just vinegar water as you indicate. There is also alkaline pH vegetables in the pickle jar. You would have us just disregard the pH of the water and the vegetables both.

Fill a jar full of cucumbers that have a pH of 6.5 and are 90% water. Fill that same jar with undiluted 4% vinegar with a pH of 2.5 to 3. As the water leaches out of the cucumbers the pH in the jars rises. Testing has proven it can rise to as much as 4.0.

Now fill that same jar of cucumbers with 3/4 water and 1/4 vinegar - or heaven forbid your recommendation of 1 T of vinegar in a quart - and the pH can easily rise well into the unsafe range.

You have to factor in ALL the ingredients in the jar.

Dave


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

Fill a jar full of cucumbers that have a pH of 6.5 and are 90% water. Fill that same jar with undiluted 4% vinegar with a pH of 2.5 to 3. As the water leaches out of the cucumbers the pH in the jars rises. Testing has proven it can rise to as much as 4.0. (Dave)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

And since you keep repeating the same nonfactual claims without the basics of the chemistry of pH, I keep correcting you.
Firstly: a 4% acidity vinegar has a pH= 2.46, not 2.5, not 3.0.
( example: A 2.0% acidity vinegar will have pH =2.6.)

Secondly:
Lets just take your own example above, ie, a Jar with 80% cucumber which is 90% water, the remaining 20% vinegar with 4% acidity.
Now we fill the air space of jar with vinegar with 4% acidity.
For the sake of simplicity let us take it to the extreme that all the cucumber is water with a pH of 7 (higher than 6.5).

Now we have 80% water and 20% vinegar with 4% acidity.

A simple pH calculation shows that, that solution still will have a pH= 2.8 .

Now, remember that we took the extreme worse scenario:

--- water pH= 7, instead of 6.5
-- Household vinegar with acidity of 4% instead of 5%
-- 100% of the cucumber to be water(and leached), instead of 90% . (This will never happen in real life)
-- NORMALLY, solid contents is much less than 80% that we assumed.

Instead of rhetoric, show me with numbers and pH chemistry that I am wrong. Then I will apologize to you and all the ladies (and the gentlemen)


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RE: Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 14:21

Calculating the pH of a strong acid is fairly simple math: pH = - log[H3O+]. But first you have to know the concentration of the hydronium (in moles per liter) to use the formula. 5% vinegar varies in mol/liter depending on the manufacturer/brand because of the differing pH of the water used. I have seen ranges varying from 0.384 to 0.479 and no, 5% vinegar does NOT have an ironclad pH of 2.46. It has an allowed range of pHs from brand to brand depending on the water used and the amount of hydronium ions that can disassociate in that water.

Then you have to understand the differences between weak and strong acids. Vinegar is a weak acid not a strong acid so the "simple" formula above does not even apply and if used results in faulty results. You want to base your safety on those erroneous results, fine. Your choice. Most of us do not.

Calculating the pH of a weak acid such as vinegar or a weak base (such as water) is a whole different ballgame. It is a quadratic equation that has to factor in equilibrium because weak acids do not completely dissociate in water. Incomplete disassociation = inaccurate # of disassociated hydronium ions = erroneous pH values.

You want to use quick and dirty math when canning your pickles, fine. Go for it. But the majority of home canners do not.

Especially when the valid math has already been done for them by the food scientists and used to based the guidelines on. Guidelines which also compensate for all the variances in the products and the range of water pH and also compensate for the fact that pH in canning is not stable, it rises over time in storage.

So your continued insistence of posting this information when it is not even applicable to home canning serves no purpose except to confuse and mislead..

Dave


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