Refrigerator pickles and vacuum sealing

Asked December 20, 2020, 6:40 PM EST

I made refrigerator pickled beets and refrigerator pickled peppers. (Separately) They were both hot packed and the lids happened to suck down and seal while they were cooling. Are they still safe to store in the refrigerator? Or will the seal somehow promote bacteria growth? How long will they be safe to eat in the refrigerator?

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

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The jars sealed because the ingredients were hot when you put them in the jars and capped them with the lid and ring. (This "false seal" will not prevent some risks of food spoilage. Only boiling water canning, safe, up-to-date, tested recipes can do that). You can store them in the refrigerator if the ratio of vinegar to water was at least 1 to 1. Some recipes have vinegar, only (likely with a little sugar added) and that is safe, too. Do not store the jars at room temperature. Unsealing all of the jars now will be added measure of safety.

Without a recipe, and more details on your methods it is hard to say how long they might last in the refrigerator. It could be 2 weeks to 6 months or longer. Use your senses to detect spoilage (usually mold) and don't eat if you find spoilage has occurred.

If you want to discuss your recipe, leave a message at the OSU Extension Food Safety and Preservation Hotline at 1-800-354-7319.