MU Extension MU Extension       University of Missouri    ●    Columbia    ●    Kansas City       Rolla     ●    St. Louis - Food Safety


Quick Answers



What caused my pickles to turn black? My pan also turned black.

The probable cause is the formation of a ferrous sulfide complex. The iron and sulfur necessary to form this complex could be present in the water. Water used in pickling should be low in iron and gypsum (Ca S04). Iron cookware could also be a source of iron. It is not recommended for use in pickling. This defect is also favored by low acidity of the brine. Another cause of black pickles is growth of a black-pigmented bacteria, Bacillus nigrificans. Don't eat black pickles. 


Source: Personal communication with Dr. Gerald Kuhn, Food Scientist, Penn State University, June 1989 and W.C. Frazier, et al: Food Microbiology, 1978.





Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009



University of Missouri logo links to

Site Administrator:
Copyright  ADA  Equal Opportunity

MissouriFamilies is produced by the College of Human Environmental Sciences,
Extension Division, University of Missouri