Packing Perfect Pickles
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Barton County University of Missouri Extension
It can be very rewarding to serve your family and guests your very own homemade pickles. Whether you are a novice or experienced pickle maker there are things to keep in mind when making your pickled products. Below are several questions that we have received at the Extension office with the correct answers:
Q. Can I brine pickles in a stainless steel container?
A. Over time, pitting can occur if foods are brined or pickled in stainless steel containers. It is due to the salt and not the vinegar in the brining solution. It is best to brine in a stone crock, food-grade plastic, glass or unchipped enamelware. It is OK to heat pickling liquids in a stainless steel pot because the liquid is there for a short period of time.
Q. Can I make pickles with “burpless” cucumbers?
A. Burpless cucumbers absorb flavor well but you won’t get a crisp pickle. For that reason, it is recommended that if you want to use burpless cucumbers, use them for making relishes.
Q. Can dill seed be substituted for fresh dill?
A. You can substitute one tablespoon of dill seed for three heads of fresh dill. Fresh dill is more pungent than dill seed.
Q. Why is it important to measure salt and water carefully when making brined dill pickles?
A. This is so you can have the correct concentration of salt. This helps to permit the growth of lactic acid bacteria while preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.
Q. Can I use kosher or ice cream salt for pickling?
A. You should use canning or pickling salt for your pickled products. The non-caking material added to other types of salt can make the brine cloudy. Kosher, Dairy and sea salt can cause changes in the quality of the pickle. Rock and ice cream salt are not food grade and should not be used for that reason.
Q. Do I need to process pickles in a boiling water bath since they have high concentrations of vinegar?
A. Yes. Processing is recommended for all pickled products to destroy spoilage organisms and to assure a good jar seal.
Last Updated 10/25/2007