Preventing pickling problems

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient


There are so many factors involved in pickling -- weather and growing conditions, type of salt, acidity of vinegar, storage temperature, time from gathering to pickling, processing -- that sometimes things go wrong. Here are some common problems and causes.

1. SOFT OR SLIPPERY PICKLES: Could result from not removing the scum from the surface of the brine; from not keeping the cucumbers submerged in the brine; from using too weak of brine or vinegar, using hard water, or not removing the blossom end of a cucumber; from not sealing each jar as it is filled; from not heating long enough to destroy microorganisms; or from storing in too warm a spot. Check jars carefully for signs of spoilage.

2. SHRIVELED PICKLES: May be the result of too strong brine, vinegar, syrup, or pickling solution, or may mean cucumbers didn't travel from the field to the kitchen fast enough.

3. HOLLOW PICKLES: Could result from too long a time between pickling and processing, from improper curing or too high a temperature during fermentation, or from bad growing conditions. Don't use any cucumbers that float as you wash them.

4. DARK PICKLES: Indicate iron in the water or cooking utensil, ground spices or whole spices left in jars, cooking too long with spices, or hard water.

5. FADED, DULL PICKLES: Result from poor growing conditions or too mature cucumbers.

6. WHITE SEDIMENT IN THE BOTTOM OF JARS: It isn't harmful. It could come from not using pure granulated salt, or could be the result of fermentation. Check jars carefully for signs of spoilage.

7. SPOILED PICKLES: Means you didn't process them properly; that you used old ingredients, nonstandard jars, or old lids; or that the pickling solution wasn't boiling hot, or you filled too many jars before sealing them. In other words, you didn't follow directions! Check jars carefully for signs of spoilage.

Source Vegetable Gardening Encyclopedia Typos by Dorothy Flatman 1995 Submitted By DOROTHY FLATMAN On 10-04-95

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