Preventing pickling problems

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Preparation Time:
10 Min
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---------------------PROBLEM PREVENTION--------------------------

There are so many factors involved in pickling -- weather and growing
conditions, type of salt, acidity of vinegar, storage temperature,
time from gathering to pickling, processing -- that sometimes things
go wrong. Here are some common problems and causes.

1. SOFT OR SLIPPERY PICKLES: Could result from not removing the scum
from the surface of the brine; from not keeping the cucumbers
submerged in the brine; from using too weak of brine or vinegar,
using hard water, or not removing the blossom end of a cucumber; from
not sealing each jar as it is filled; from not heating long enough to
destroy microorganisms; or from storing in too warm a spot. Check
jars carefully for signs of spoilage.

2. SHRIVELED PICKLES: May be the result of too strong brine, vinegar,
syrup, or pickling solution, or may mean cucumbers didn't travel from
the field to the kitchen fast enough.

3. HOLLOW PICKLES: Could result from too long a time between pickling
and processing, from improper curing or too high a temperature during
fermentation, or from bad growing conditions. Don't use any
cucumbers that float as you wash them.

4. DARK PICKLES: Indicate iron in the water or cooking utensil, ground
spices or whole spices left in jars, cooking too long with spices, or
hard water.

5. FADED, DULL PICKLES: Result from poor growing conditions or too
mature cucumbers.

6. WHITE SEDIMENT IN THE BOTTOM OF JARS: It isn't harmful. It could
come from not using pure granulated salt, or could be the result of
fermentation. Check jars carefully for signs of spoilage.

7. SPOILED PICKLES: Means you didn't process them properly; that you
used old ingredients, nonstandard jars, or old lids; or that the
pickling solution wasn't boiling hot, or you filled too many jars
before sealing them. In other words, you didn't follow directions!
Check jars carefully for signs of spoilage.

Source Vegetable Gardening Encyclopedia Typos by Dorothy Flatman 1995
Submitted By DOROTHY FLATMAN On 10-04-95

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