I have just wrapped up my pickling season for this year having made 35 - 1.5L jars using Company's Coming recipe for many years. I carefully adjust the calculations so I can make more jars at one time. The lids all pop which is what I like to hear however, after several days I check each jar to see that the brine is still clear. Each day has unfolded 2-3 jars that have white sediment on the bottom....I immediately put them in the fridge which has saved many a jar over the years. I can't understand why some jars stay clear and some start going cloudy...I secure the lids very tightly to make sure I get a good seal, sometimes getting my husband to help me. I just want to make sure that these pickles are safe to eat! I usually rinse them off before eating them and they are still crisp and taste great, just not so attractive looking that I can give them to my family for a treat...I have to get an answer so I can either change what I am doing to fix this to ensure that they are safe to eat or I'm going to "pack it in" It's a lot of work to go bad...I call it a labour of love and "I" love to see my family all enjoying them! Here is what I do:
I sterilize all my jars using my dishwasher.
I soak all my little cucumbers in a sink of cold water and make sure they are clean and cut off the little vine ends on those that have them.
I prepare the brine in a large white enamel pot, which was my Mom's, and it does have two really tiny little chips out of the bottom (which might be a problem after what I have read...)
Original Recipe: I increase to these amounts to make 12 jars:
1 1/2 cups of water 24 cups of water
1/2 cup white vinegar 8 cups of vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Coarse (pickling) salt 24 Tbsp. Coarse (pickling) salt
I put all the Snap lids into a pot of shallow water and heat them.
Once the dishwasher cycle is finished (including the heated dry cycle) I remove the jars and:
2 heads of dill, per quart 2-3 heads of dill per 1.5L jar
1-2 cloves of garlic 3-4 cloves of garlic (cut into 3 pieces)
Then I stuff the jars with the little cucumbers as tightly as I can.
Once the brine comes to full rolling boil I reduce the heat a bit and using a Tupperware 2 cup measuring cup, fill the jars to 1/4 inch from the top, put one of the hot lids on top using my tongs and seal it tightly with the screw bands tightening them as much as I can. They are usually VERY hard to get off. I check to see if all lids have popped and then store them downstairs on my preserve shelving.
This recipe says to place jars in a canner filled half way with warm water and then add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars, using a candy thermometer to make sure temps don't go higher than 185 degrees F or might cause softening of pickles.....I have never proceeded with this canning step and have had success for many years, only finding the odd jar that has developed cloudy brine, stored them in the fridge and eaten them first....but this year? Out of 35 jars I have had to move TWENTY jars into the basement fridge...
I also made 12 jars of Cherry Leaf Dill Pickles...
16 cups water
2 cups vineagar
2 cups salt
Pin Cherry Leaves (on bottom, middle and top of jar)
2 Heads of Dill per jar
Out of those, NINE have gone cloudy so I have them in my sister's basement fridge...the 3 that are not compromised "yet" are the ones in the 1-5L jars with the smaller tops.
Once the weather gets colder I can move these into my fruit cellar and free up my fridge in time for Christmas...
I let both these recipes stand for at least 6 weeks before eating.
Can someone please give me some insight into what I am doing wrong? What causes this to happen to some and not all? and MOST OF ALL....are they safe to eat if they are kept refrigerated?
I look forward to hearing from you with any help you can offer a "Pickling Mother/Sister/Aunt/Granny" and I apologize for the length of this post!