Canning pickles

Asked August 29, 2019, 1:15 PM EDT

Don’t have enough for a full canner can I keep jars ready to can in refrigerator until I have a full load

Deschutes County Oregon food safety home food preservation

1 Response

Thanks for contacting Ask an Expert.

It is best to follow the recipe directions and get the jars right into the canner while the brine is very hot. I can understand not wanting to heat up a large canner for just a few jars. It can be very heavy, time consuming and you use a lot of fuel to heat all the water.

Processing pickles in small batches on the same day the produce is picked makes the best final products.

Did you know you can make your own smaller boiling water canner so you are able to can small batches when needed? You need a pot tall enough to submerge a few jars on a small metal tray or rack or silicone trivet on the bottom and also allows 1 to 2 inches of water above the tallest jar. Water needs to circulate freely all around the jars for proper heat penetration. A smaller, 12-quart stock pot works well. You may have other options on hand. It is much lighter and takes less time and energy to heat up.

Cooling, chilling and then reheating your pickles could cause softening in cucumber pickles. Putting cooled jars into hot water can cause breakage. There may be other quality issues.

That said, yes, you can hold them, but you will need to empty the jars, heat the jars, and reheat the pickle mixture if it was hot pack (like bread and butter pickles) or if it is raw pack, you will need to repack the cucumbers when they reach room temperature, loosely, heat the brine or liquid again and add it to the jars and then process them. The quality may suffer, especially if they are cucumber pickles. If you don't repack them to the recipe directions, the processing time will be insufficient for a safe product.

OSU Extension has pickling resources for you free, online at https://extension.oregonstate.edu/mfp/publications. Scroll to the Pickling link.