Pickling help!

I recently experimented with pickling, so my question is regarding how to store and such. Should you keep pickled items in the fridge? How long do pickled jalapanos last if in fridge? What happens to the liquid after... can you reheat and reuse for another round of pickling?

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18 Comments

Danny M. August 31, 2012
THANKS EVERYONE!
 
RobertaJ August 30, 2012
If you're considering hot process pickling, I'd suggest you read up on it, or attend a class. There's that pesty little botulisim thing, though pickles are *usually* acidic enough to avoid it. Good resources are the U of Georgia ( www.uga.edu/nchfp ) and Ball/Mason ( www.freshpreserving.com ). As others have said, hot processed pickles are the ONLY shelf-stable pickles, and then only until opened.

Refrigerator pickles are just that. You brine your veg/fruit, usually in hot brine, in clean (sterilized) jars. Running the jars and lids through your dishwasher's sterlization or "heat clean" cycle can accomplish this. As soon as the brine cools, put them into the fridge. Mine usually last 4-6 weeks (if they don't get eaten), but after about the 3rd week, I give them the evil eye/sniff test before eating. If the brine suddenly clouds, looks slimy or just "different", don't chance it.
 
ChefOno August 30, 2012

Everything you need to know about the subject:

http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6b_pickle.html


 
ChefOno August 30, 2012
*As a learning and reference guide -- not that there's a single thing wrong with asking as many questions as you need to.

 
em-i-lis August 30, 2012
good question. if you waterbath can them and then open them, i'd start the clock at a month. they aren't likely to go bad really, just more likely to lose texture. i pickled some rhubarb earlier this summer and they were mush pretty quickly. pickled beets and okra on the other hand, for ex, can last quite a while in the fridge.
if the jars are waterbathed and unopened, you can put them in your pantry or your fridge if you've got the room. you may want to experiment with both to see what you think about resultant textural differences.
i recently made a batch of dilly beans and in the bottom of each jar put a folded grape leaf b/c i've heard they help maintain crunch. there was a hotline thread going around about this a couple weeks back if you want to search for it.
you might want to pick up the Ball Canning Guide or another trusted source to get a lay of the land. www.foodinjars.com is a great site- marisa knows what she's doing. and i've been teaching cannign classes recently in addition to all the canning i do for fun...you can check out my site if you'd like. www.em-i-lis.com
 
Christine August 30, 2012
I agree with these recommendations for basic canning information. It's not a very complex process once you start with good basic information. Pickles are one of the easier things to work with because of the high acid so get that basic information from Ball and Food in Jars and start having fun with it!
 
em-i-lis August 30, 2012
hey there, pretty much anything you're pickling can be waterbath canned rather than pressure canned. so no, in this instance, you wouldn't need to pressure can your peppers. the vinegar and salt serve a similar purpose as do sugar/acid/addition of lemon juice in jams. you want to prevent any microbes in the food you want to process from continuing to live or multiply. in jams, heat + sugar + acid makes them safe. for pickles, salt + vinegar + heat act in much the same fashion. if you're using a reputable recipe (DON'T make up your own recipes until you a very practiced canner) as you seem to be (although again, don't go nuts tweaking simon's recipe; follow his measurements accurately) you can A) safely refrigerate your pickles for the month he notes, or B) waterbath can them. pressure canners operate at a higher temp than do waterbath canners and are a different piece of equipment. hope this helps!
 
Danny M. August 30, 2012
Ok one last question, i promise. Earlier you say " a long time in the fridge". So do you mean a long time once they are waterbathed and unused? What about if I waterbath them, and then open to start eating? How long would they last in the fridge?
 
Christine August 30, 2012
I think it is more a question of taste at this point. At some point, the acid will affect the texture and the pickles will be mushier than you like and then you'll know they are done. But the acid in pickling prevents spoilage and bacteria for a year or more in the fridge I bet. I've never kept them that long but the issue is quality and texture more than spoilage.
 
em-i-lis August 30, 2012
your pickles can stay in the fridge for up to a month, if you've not processed them in a water bath canner. simon is probably assuming you're not going to seal them for preservation. don't put them on your pantry shelves unless you process them correctly.
 
em-i-lis August 30, 2012
If you want to preserve pickles and jams and the like so that you can keep them in your pantry rather than the fridge, you have to process them in a waterbath canner. This is a large pot which you fill with water and set to a boil. You then immerse your sealed Mason jars in that boiling bath for a set time (usually 10-15 minutes for pint-size jars) which creates a vacuum inside each jar which seals them. You know when you buy a jar of jam at the store and then have to force the lid off the first time? They've been sealed for long-term shelf stability. For acidic-enough foods (jams, pickles, chutneys), home canners use a waterbath for this same purpose. Low acid foods like veggies need to be pressure canned which is a whole different ball of wax....
 
em-i-lis August 30, 2012
I should have said, "you then immerse your filled jars to which you've applied the lids and bands in that boiling bath." They aren't "sealed" before being processed in the waterbath...
 
Danny M. August 30, 2012
So I'm assuming jalapenos and green bell peppers are the type that you mentiond I would need to "pressure can"? Whats that process like?

Also, sorry for all the questions! And i appreciate your feedback.
 
Danny M. August 30, 2012
what do you mean by waterbath?
 
em-i-lis August 30, 2012
some pickles maintain a better crunch in the fridge too. i'm an avid canner and find that if you waterbath process your pickles they will be perfectly shelf-stable and fine for 9-12 months BUT i prefer the flavor and texture before 6 months.
 
Christine August 30, 2012
Also, in my experience, pickled peppers, no matter the pickling method, last a REALLY long time in the fridge.
 
Christine August 30, 2012
A lot depends in whether or not you processed the pickles to seal the jars which would make them shelf stable. As for reusing the pickling solution, you would need to make sure the acid level is still high enough to work, since it can get diluted by the juice of whatever fruit or vegetable was pickled in it.
 
Danny M. August 30, 2012
I did 50/50 water to vinegar, a few tablespoons salt and sugar, cumin seeds, garlic, marjoram, coriander seeds, bay lead, peppercorns: totaling about 1.5 cups for each jar I used. You think this is reusable? Also, you're saying it doesn't HAVE to be in the fridge? Im new to pickling so I'm just not sure what needs to be in the fridge and what doesnt; Michael Simon's book says "up to one month in fridge" but ive heard others say "a long time". Any advice?
 
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