Water bath pickles

Asked September 8, 2018, 1:10 AM EDT

Do you have to water bath dill pickles? I have always water bathed my dill pickles and they're always soft. My neighbor said she does not water bath hers and they remain crunchy. After she pours in the hot brine, she waits for them to seal then puts them on the shelf. Is this safe?

Marion County Oregon food safety home food preservation

1 Response

Hello,

Thank you for your question. Yes, it is recommended to water bath can dill pickles for safety.

There are a few tips for keeping pickles crisp. Make pickles as soon as possible after the cucumbers are picked (pick in the morning when it is cool). Cut off the blossom end; it may contain enzymes that soften pickles. Use a tested recipe, such as the one in our "Pickling Vegetables" publication available at this link: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/pnw355

For cucumber pickles, you can use the "low temperature pasteurization". Many people find it keeps the pickles crisper than boiling water process. The low temperature pasteurization process is described on page 7 of the pickling vegetables publication:
1. Place filled jars on a rack in a canner half-filled with warm water (120-140 degrees). Add hot water to a level of 1 inch above jars.
2. Heat water to 180-185 degrees. Start timer once 180-185 degrees is reached. Process for 30 minutes, chekcing with a candy or jelly thermometer to make sure the water temperature stays at least 180 degrees.
3. Immediately remove jars from the canner at the end of the 30 minutes.
4. Using a jar lifter, remove th ejars, being careful not to tilt them. PUt jars on a rack or heavy towel so air can move freely around them. Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool for 12-24 hours. Do not tighten the screw bands or press down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jars are completely cool.

Our food preservation and safety hotline is open till October 12. Please feel free to call them at 1-800-354-7319 if you'd like to discuss further.

Best wishes,
Tonya