Do pickles expire?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “do pickles expire” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not pickles expire and different ways to spot bad pickle. Moreover, we are going to discuss how long do pickles last and tips to store pickles properly.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Do pickles expire?

No, doubt that pickles have a long shelf life and they linger for quite a long time in your kitchen but like all other food items they go bad after a certain time. So we can say that pickles expire after a certain time but you do not have to worry too much about it as you have quite a long time to eat them before they can go bad.

It is worth mentioning that when we say that pickles do expire after a certain time, we are not referring to the “expiration date” written on the bottle of a pickle but we are referring to the time when pickles begin to develop off-flavors and off-texture or even you can spot a mold on it if you have not stored your pickles properly.

How to tell if pickles have gone bad?

You should consider the appearance, color of brine, and smell to tell whether or not your pickles have gone bad.

Appearance

So when it comes to pickles, if you spot a mold in your pickles bottle (that can be seen only if some of the vegetables were not completely submerged in the brine and is a really rare phenomenon) then it is recommended to discard such pickles as it is an indication of bad pickles. 

Moreover, if you spot a mold in your bottle of pickles then you should refrain from smelling it, as the mold could have produced the mycotoxins in it and if you even inhale these mycotoxins they can mess up your gut flora and can weaken your immune system. 

Color

Pickling brine is pale amber in color so if you notice that the color of brine has changed significantly (turns more towards brown shade) then it is better to discard such pickles.

Smell

Moreover, pickles have that sour refreshing aroma associated with them so if you smell some off-smell or something that does not quite feel like the pickles themselves then it is better to discard such pickles and buy yourself a new bottle/jar of pickles.

It is worth mentioning that the white sediments that you notice lying at the bottom of your pickles bottle are completely natural and you do not have to worry too much about it.

Moreover, you should always remember that the “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the bottle of pickles refers to the quality rather than safety so pickles don’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. 

This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of pickles but you can still use pickles that are past this date as long as they were stored properly.

How long do pickles last?

When it comes to the pasteurized pickles they have a longer shelf life than their unpasteurized counterpart. 

Unopened pickles can last for about 1-2 years past the “best by” date printed on them but for best results and quality we are recommending that you use your unopened bottle of pickles within 3 months past the “best by” date. 

Moreover, you can store the unopened pasteurized pickles in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

On the other hand, once you open the bottle of your pickles then the clock starts ticking. Thus, the opened pickles last for about a year if they are stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. But again to enjoy the best quality of pickles we recommend you to use them within 3 months after you open them.

While talking about the unpasteurized pickles, then unopened unpasteurized pickles last for about 3 months past the “best by” date in the fridge but sometimes it may even last longer than this.

On the other hand, opened unpasteurized pickles last for 3 months or even more when they are stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of the pickles and it is the time during which you can enjoy its peak quality. Pickles can even last longer than this, provided that they are stored properly.

You can read how to make pickles here.

Tips to properly store pickles

  1. When it comes to the pasteurized unopened pickles you can easily store them in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
  1. But once you open the jar of your pickles then it is recommended to store it with its lid tightly closed in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  1. In the case of the unpasteurized pickles, it is recommended to store them in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “do pickles expire” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not pickles expire and different ways to spot bad pickle. Moreover, we discussed how long do pickles last and tips to store pickles properly.

Citations

https://www.doesitgobad.com/do-pickles-go-bad/

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/17980

https://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/do-pickles-go-bad-refrigerator-pickles-shelf-life

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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