Pickles are delicious. They make for a delightful snack whether you eat them as they or place them in your sandwiches or burgers.
I am tempted to say that pickles are my favorite toppings on cheeseburgers. They add a mildly sour and spicy flavor to the burger thus enhancing its flavor significantly.
I don’t know about you, but I always stock up on pickles. My family loves them, and they snack on them any chance they get. Generally, pickles don’t require any special storage conditions, unless the manufacturer specifically indicates the same on the package.
Therefore, you must read the instructions on the pickle jar before deciding on the storage method.
If you have stocked up on pickles and don’t have enough storage space in your refrigerator, you may wonder: can you keep unopened pickles at room temperature? The answer is yes.
As long as you have not opened the jar, you can store it at room temperature for an extended time. However, you should know that if you store the pickles at room temperature for longer than two years, the pickles may ferment and the brine will turn cloudy.
Additionally, the pickles may darken and stop being crunchy. If this happens, discard the pickles for quality reasons.
This article discusses important information about pickles. We will discuss how they are manufactured, their shelf life, and their storage.
Additionally, we will look at what happens when you don’t refrigerate pickles after opening the jar and the various signs of spoilage you should look out for if you have stored pickles for an extended time.
What are they?
Simply put, pickles are cucumbers that have been preserved in a solution known as brine. Normally, manufacturers make the brine using various ingredients including vinegar, special seasonings, and salt.
The first pickles were made approximately 2000 years ago. The pickling process is somewhat complicated, but it quickly gained popularity over the years. With the advancement in technology, various companies are making large amounts of pickles each year.
The main ingredient in pickles is cucumbers. Manufacturers add vinegar or acetic acid to the cucumbers, hence the sour flavor.
Some manufacturers add artificial sweeteners or sugar to the cucumbers to enhance their flavor further and neutralize the flavor of vinegar. With time, the cucumbers transform into pickles.
Most manufacturers add other ingredients to the pickles to give them specific flavors. Some popular ingredients they add are; dill weed, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, allspice, and black pepper.
Additionally, they use stabilizers and preservatives to lengthen the pickles’ shelf life.
Do they go bad?
Pickles can go bad. However, the chances of them going bad before you eat them are relatively low.
Generally, pickles have a long shelf life. Although they come with a best by or expiry date, they will be safe to eat for several months past the date.
Note that the best by date is merely an estimate of how long the pickles will retain their peak quality, and not how long the pickles will be safe to consume.
Pickles shelf life
When the jar is unopened and stored at room temperature or inside the refrigerator, it will last for up to two years past the best-by date.
Once you open the jar, you should refrigerate it. The pickles will also last for up to two years past the best-by date as long as the container they are in remains tightly sealed after every use.
How to store pickles
If you have not opened the jar, you can store it at room temperature. The pickles will retain their quality for up to two years past the best by the date that is on the package.
Once you open the jar, you should store it in the refrigerator. Always ensure that the container is tightly sealed for the pickles to retain their freshness.
If you want your pickles to last for a long time, always use clean utensils to get the pickles from the jar. Do not dip your fingers into the jar because your fingers may introduce bacteria into the jar.
What will happen if you don’t refrigerate pickles once you open the jar?
Once you open the pickle jar, it is prone to contamination. Therefore, mold, bacteria, and yeast will grow if you don’t refrigerate the pickles.
Placing the pickles in the refrigerator prevents the growth of mold, bacteria, and yeast. Consequently, their shelf life is extended.
Signs that pickles have gone bad
The chances of pickles going bad are minimal, but they don’t last forever either. If you stocked up on pickles and are unsure of whether they are still in good condition, you should check for signs of spoilage.
Here are a few signs that your pickles are no longer safe to eat.
Mold is an indication that the pickles have gone bad. Discard them if you see any mold on the pickles or the neck of the jar.
- Unpleasant smell.
Generally, pickles have a pleasant aroma. If you notice they have an unpleasant odor the chances are that they have gone bad.
- Bulging lid.
If the lid of your pickle jar is bulging out, the pickles have gone bad and are no longer safe to consume.
Note that when you store pickles for an extended time, there may be some slight changes in the flavor and texture.
As long as the pickles do not have any of the three signs we have discussed above, they are safe to consume. However, they may not taste as good as they should.
Pickles are amazing whether you eat as they are or put them in your sandwich. Their crunch combined with the sour, salty flavor is to die for.
You can store unopened pickles at room temperature or inside the refrigerator. However, once you open the jar, you must refrigerate the pickles to prevent mold, yeast, and bacterial growth.
If you store pickles for an extended time and are unsure of whether it is still safe to consume, check for any signs of spoilage as discussed above. If the pickles appear or smell spoiled, discard them.