If you’ve ever bought a jar of pickles then you might have seen the label that says, “Refrigerate after opening.” But does that apply to all pickles? Do refrigerated pickles keep longer than unrefrigerated ones?
Do Pickles Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, that is the truth. After opening, dill cucumbers need to be stored in the fridge. Pickles, such as dill, bread and butter, kosher dill, and others, should typically be kept in the refrigerator once they have been opened.
Pickles should be kept in the refrigerator for the same reason you should store all foods that contain vinegar. Doing so will maintain an acidic environment and makes it less likely for bacteria and mold to develop.
Pickles are immune to bacteria that could cause food poisoning because they are salted. Even though they are safe to consume at ambient temperature, if left out too long they can develop mold.
Transfer any pickles that are still in the original jar of dill pickles into another jar to keep them fresh for as long as feasible.
What About Fermented Pickles?
Fermented pickles are a delicious alternative to the classic cucumber pickle. They’re tangier, and they’re full of probiotics that are good for your gut.
The benefit of fermenting without refrigeration is that it produces a tangier flavor and a softer texture than pickles that are fermented with refrigeration. You also get a live product that’s full of probiotics, which can help make sure your gut stays healthy.
It is advisable to ferment your pickles in the refrigerator if you want the flavor and texture of conventional pickles. In addition, it will last much longer than fermenting them out of the fridge.
Pickles that have undergone refrigeration-assisted fermentation have a sharper texture, making them perfect for consumption on their own as opposed to as a component of a dish.
What About Homemade Pickles?
They don’t need to be refrigerated if you make your own pickles at home and can them in jars using the canning process.
You may eliminate the germs that cause food to rot by putting the pickles in an airtight jar. Since harmful bacteria are not able to get into the jar, pickles are shelf-stable.
To make your canned food safe to keep on the shelf and in your pantry, these bacteria must be removed throughout the canning process.
What About Quick Pickles?
Quick pickles are preserved differently than regular dill pickles, and more importantly, they’re made with different ingredients. Quick pickles are typically made with vinegar and spices, but no salt. That means that quick pickles aren’t actually “pickled,” and they should be treated like any other vegetable.
If you have a jar of quick pickles that’s been opened, you’ll need to refrigerate it. Quick-pickled vegetables will last up to a month in the fridge when stored properly.
How To Tell When Pickles Go Bad
You know what they say: When pickles go bad, they go really bad.
But how can you tell when they’re just starting to get a little rotten?
Here are some of the signs that your favorite jar of pickles is about to turn.
1. It smells like a swamp. Your nose knows. If it smells like a swamp, it’s time to toss it.
2. The color has changed from a deep green to an off-yellow-green or even brown color. Pickles are all about the green, so if it’s not green anymore… well, you know the drill.
3. There’s mold growing on it. If you find fuzzy green spots or white patches on your pickle, time to get rid of it. But make sure you check the whole jar—sometimes mold grows in just one spot, and throwing out the whole thing would be unnecessarily wasteful!
Can You Eat Expired Pickles?
You shouldn’t consume pickles that are over their expiration date owing to the possibility of botulism.
Consuming food contaminated with the botulinum toxin can cause the rare but serious disease of botulism. The toxin is formed when food is improperly canned or preserved. Eating it can cause paralysis and even death.
Pickles are typically preserved in vinegar, which should prevent any botulinum bacteria from growing and producing toxins.
However, if your pickles were improperly stored or kept out at room temperature for a long time, you should not eat them. There’s a high risk that it make be contaminated.
In conclusion, it is important to refrigerate pickles once they have been opened to prevent spoilage and maintain their quality.
Kate has been in the food business for over 20 years. Worked as a cook at several buffets which include Old Country Buffet, Five Star Buffet, and Ichiban Buffet. Now, I’m mostly at home cooking for my family, caring for chickens and ducks, and tending the garden.