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pickles?

topic posted Thu, May 18, 2006 - 10:45 AM by  Kate
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Okay, how long do pickles keep? And, how do you tell if they've "gone bad"? Can they go bad?

Here's the story. An acquaintance of mine asked me "do you like pickles?". I said yes. He then dropped off a 5 GALLON container of big dill pickle chips, the kind where one covers a whole hamburger. It's one of those 5 gallon buckets, it appears to never have been opened, and according to him, it's 3 or 4 years old, somebody gave it to *him*. I'm collecting smaller containers to put them in, because the way I was raised, once you open pickles, you need to refrigerate them. I don't have room to refrigerate 5 gallons of pickles, so I was going to pass the smaller containers around to friends. But I don't want to poison anybody, either. I considered just digging a hole and burying them, but pickles are often full of salt. Bad for the surrounding plant life, right?

So, now I'm responsible for these pickles, and I suppose I could just let the bucket sit out in my garage forever, but that doesn't feel right, either.

Any suggestions? (outside of NEVER saying yes to that acquaintance again, that is...)

Kate
posted by:
Kate
SF Bay Area
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    Re: pickles?

    Thu, May 18, 2006 - 3:18 PM
    Give the jar lid a poke, if it's tight and doesn't buckle under slight pressure, then the seal hasn't been broken and the pickles are probably fine. If the top is puffed up or moves under your fingers, it has been opened before and, while probably still edible, might have an off taste.
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    Re: pickles?

    Thu, May 18, 2006 - 3:21 PM
    PICKLEING was a major pre-refrigeration method of food preservstion. last year i ate my last jar that we put up in 1975 . they were fine... crisp still. pickled ANYTHING ( correctly) will last a VERY LONG TIME. they used to have pickel barrels in ole time stores. no refrigeration then. so if they say to refrigerate after opening they must have something in them now that they didn't have back then or vice versa. my ole lady says because when you pickeled the old way it was heavily salted and stored in thier own brine. NOT so now.
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    Re: pickles?

    Tue, August 22, 2006 - 5:17 PM
    A friend makes pickes all the time. Your pickles are "old school" and will last a long, long time. No need to refrigerate. Don't bury them! Eat them. Just keep them covered until ready to eat.
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      Re: pickles?

      Tue, August 22, 2006 - 10:06 PM
      We just put up several dozen quarts of dill, sweet, and pickled squash and various other veggies just this weekend. Since most of our stuff gets eaten within 36 months, I can't say for certain how long they can stay edible. While they might lose some flavor after 24 months, our oldest pickling and pressure canned foods tasted fine into their third year.
      If the liquid looks milky, you probably have an air opening in the seal, and the food has gone bad. If it smells bad, and you CAN tell over the smell of vinegar or brine, it IS bad. Another issue is the vinegar will begin to eat away the lids eventually. It takes a long time, up to four years, but it can happen, especially if the lid is constantly being hit with outside moisture. So keep the jars dry!
      I'd like to plug the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. It is the virtual bible for folks who do their own preserving. My wife uses it as a text book when she teach preserving and canning classes.
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        Re: pickles?

        Fri, August 25, 2006 - 10:32 PM
        what is the nutritional value on food that you pickle?

        on the topic of salt, sometimes i go to the oriental markets. salted meats, esp fish. last a long time without special packaging. just soak and re rinse to remove alot of the salt.
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          Re: pickles?

          Sat, August 26, 2006 - 10:17 PM
          I have no idea. But I come from the central valley. I'm middle aged. We lived on home canned foods during the winter months and early spring. We never had scurvy or any sort of vitamin deficenicy.
          Of course we ate other food along with it. Pickled veggies, canned veggies, salsa, and the occasional preserved venison. I'd give anything to have Uncle Ernie's recipe for pickled venison.

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