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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Canning, Preserving and Dehydrating / Help for next season: better pickles
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    Help for next season: better pickles

    Smilyn
    Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:41 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Hi all!
    I'm a novice canner, picking up lots of basics including jams, relishes, and pickles. I'm at a loss with my pickles and it's very discouraging. Two years ago, I made b&b pickles and some turned good and another batch turned awful. This last year seems the same. Some turn black at the top (which I do not obviously eat) and some have no crunch even though I use Ball's calcium stuff.

    I really liked the pickles that did turn out decent, but I want them to last on the shelf for more than a couple of months.

    I do buy "pickling cucumbers" and I read in another post that maybe my brine isn't salty enough. I'm hoping this year I can perfect them with a crispy fresh tasting b&b pickle.

    Please help!
    Thanks!
    Molly53
    Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:02 pm
    Forum Host
    Smilyn wrote:
    Hi all!
    I'm a novice canner, picking up lots of basics including jams, relishes, and pickles. I'm at a loss with my pickles and it's very discouraging. Two years ago, I made b&b pickles and some turned good and another batch turned awful. This last year seems the same. Some turn black at the top (which I do not obviously eat) and some have no crunch even though I use Ball's calcium stuff.

    I really liked the pickles that did turn out decent, but I want them to last on the shelf for more than a couple of months.

    I do buy "pickling cucumbers" and I read in another post that maybe my brine isn't salty enough. I'm hoping this year I can perfect them with a crispy fresh tasting b&b pickle.

    Please help!
    Thanks!
    Well. Normally, bread and butter pickles are never crispy, Smilyn. What recipe are you using?

    Darkness may be caused by used of ground spices, too much spice, leaving the spices in the pickling solution when packed for processing (especially cinnamon, allspice, cloves), iodized salt, corrosion of the lid after long storage, minerals in water (especially iron), using iron utensils, using a dark vinegar (cider). These make the appearance undesirable but the products are edible.

    A likely cause of black pickles 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.

    I can recommend THIS RECIPE (link). Properly processed and stored, home-canned goods are edible nearly indefinitely but will maintain their peak flavor, appearance and nutrition for something like two years.
    Smilyn
    Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:12 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I'm using My Wonderful Bread and Butter Pickles!!!, I like it because it has good flavor. I'm not really sure about my pans, I suppose they are aluminum or stainless steel - Calphalon heavy pots.

    I could definitely try a new recipe because this is really the only one I'm using.

    I did not know b&b's were naturally not crispy. This kinda explains it.

    Do you think I should keep them salted longer?
    Smilyn
    Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:14 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Should I use bottled water next go around?
    Molly53
    Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:06 pm
    Forum Host
    Bottled water might be an interesting experiment for the next time you make pickles, Smilyn. You'll have to let us know how things turn out! icon_smile.gif
    dianegrapegrower
    Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:55 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I find many B&B pickles too sweet, but I've made and enjoyed Heritage Bread and Butter Pickle - Pickled Cucumber and Onions by French Tart.

    Diane
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