What caused my pickles to taste bitter?
There are several possibilities:
- Growing conditions
- Variety: some varieties are more bitter than
others. Use a variety specifically for pickling.
- The short soak in a salt brine, called for in many
recipes, will help draw out bitter juices.
- The bitter taste is usually more concentrated at
the stem end of the fruit rather than the blossom end
and in the skin or directly beneath the skin, not in the
fleshy area around the seeds. Taste a small portion of
the stem end before preparing cucumbers. If bitterness
is present it can often be removed by cutting a larger
portion off the stem end and by peeling more deeply than
usual. Although peeled cucumbers could not be used to
make pickles, they could be chopped and used to prepare
- Use of a salt substitute for pickling could also cause bitterness. Use only canning or pickling salt.
Barbara Willenberg, Nutritional Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009