Pickles - When Things Go Wrong

Pickling is a fantastic way to use up those extra vegetables. If you have any issues with your pickles, take a look at our list of common problems and how to solve them.

1. Soft Pickles

If your pickles are soft when you come to eat them this may be down to using vinegar with low acidity or not enough salt. Make sure to measure salt carefully and choose vinegar which has 5-7% acid content. Another cause for soft pickles is storing them in a place which is too warm. Make sure to store pickles in a cool, dry and dark place.

2. Tough Pickles

Whereas too little salt causes soft pickles, too much salt causes tough pickles so take care to measure the correct amount as indicated by your recipe. Tough pickles can also occur by processing them for too long so be sure to time correctly.

3. Dark Coloured Pickles

Pickles can become dark if ground spices are used instead of whole spices. Darkening can also occur if table salt is used as it contains anti-caking agents which cause discolouration. It is always advisable to use pickling or kosher salt. Finally, the water used to make the brine may be hard; the ideal water for making the brine is soft or distilled water.

4. Mouldy Pickles

If your pickles are mouldy when you come to eat them you must discard them immediately as they are not edible. The next time you pickle be sure to take extra care over sterilisation of jars and lids or seals and make sure a good airtight seal has formed. Also make sure you wash each vegetable thoroughly before processing. Unlike preserves these vegetables are not cooked so washing them is important.

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