Do pickles have to be refrigerated after opening?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “do pickles have to be refrigerated after opening” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not pickles need to be refrigerated. Moreover, we are going to discuss the shelf life of pickles and the proper way to store pickles.

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

Do pickles have to be refrigerated after opening?

Do pickles need to be refrigerated after opening? 

Once opened, pickles must be refrigerated. This is because, after opening, room temperature promotes enzymatic activity and will cause the pickles to deteriorate sooner. Keep them in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for optimum shelf life.

Once you have opened the bottle of pickles, it is recommended to refrigerate it to preserve its freshness and flavor for a long time. Moreover, in the case of homemade pickles, it is also recommended to store them in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the shelf life of pickles?

Pickles have different shelf life depending upon whether they are commercially processed or homemade and if they are pasteurized or unpasteurized.

Pasteurized pickles

When it comes to the pasteurized pickles they have a longer shelf life than their unpasteurized counterpart. Pasteurized pickles are often sold unrefrigerated. 

Unopened pasteurized pickles can last for about 1-2 years past the “best by” date printed on them but for best flavor 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 jar of your pasteurized 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.

You can read more about the process of pasteurization in pickles here.

Unpasteurized pickles

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.

Homemade pickles

Homemade pickles last for about 2 months if they are stored properly in an air-tight container or jar in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They can even last longer than this but with time the vegetables used in the pickles start to lose their crunch.

Are pickles safe to use after the best-before date?

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.

Other FAQs about Pickles which you may be interested in.

Can pickles go bad if left out?

Can pickles go bad?

Do you have to refrigerate pickles?

How to spot bad pickles?

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. 

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.

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.

How 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.
  1. Homemade pickles can also preserve their freshness and flavor for a long time when they are stored in the refrigerator. Therefore it is recommended to refrigerate them.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “do pickles have to be refrigerated after opening” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not pickles need to be refrigerated. Moreover, we discussed the shelf life of pickles and the proper way to store pickles.

Citations

Do Pickles Go Bad?

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

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/11698/do-you-have-to-refrigerate-pickles

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.