Dill pickles are some of the best snacks nature has to offer. They go with so many different foods as accompaniments, and yet, they can be enjoyed totally on their own as well. That being said, there has been some confusion about the answer to the question: “Do dill pickles need to be refrigerated?”
According to Pure Wow’s experts, dill pickles that have been stored in a refrigerated section in a grocery store or elsewhere will need to remain in a refrigerated state. However, if they are in an airtight container that has not been opened or refrigerated, they can be stored in a dark, room-temperature location without going bad for two years.
In this article, we will work to clear up the confusion surrounding the question “Do dill pickles need to be refrigerated?” We’ll explain when dill pickles should be refrigerated. We’ll also go over how they should be safely stored to be enjoyed later, and go into a few Frequently Asked Questions, too.
In general, pickles can stay healthy and edible without going bad for long, long periods of time. As previously mentioned, it is true that dill pickles, when stored only in an airtight container and kept from cold temperatures and light, can last for up to two years!
This should not be surprising if you remember what dill pickles are: they are cucumbers that have been put through a pickling process. A pickling process is used to preserve food: with an acidic brine, cucumbers are placed inside and kept from oxygen. They then take on some of the flavors of this brine, but do not go bad. The pickling protects it from bad bacteria.
Some dill pickles are created in a brine of lemon juice, or salt water, or simple vinegar: regardless of their brine, the fact is, dill pickles can last for a very long time.
However, it is still possible for dill pickles to go bad and be unsafe for consumption. So, when do they need to be refrigerated?
Dill pickles need to be refrigerated if they have, at any point, already been kept in a cold space, such as a grocery store’s refrigeration section. More importantly, once dill pickles’ containers, such as a jar or a can, are opened, they need to be stored in a refrigerator.
That is because airborne bacteria colonizers can get into the dill pickles as soon as the jar is open. However, cold temperatures can protect the pickles from the harmful effects of this.
How to Tell if Dill Pickles Are Bad
Now that you’ve realized that there are some circumstances in which your favorite dill pickle snack can go bad, it is important to know how to tell when this misfortune has befallen you.
Below, we’ve provided you with some evidence that your dill pickles are bad, and should not be eaten.
- Mold is Present – If you notice any kind of discoloration on your pickles, but especially a white spot or fuzz, it has begun to grow mold. You’ll be better served just throwing these pickles away and purchasing a new, well-sealed jar.
- Lid is Compromised – How can you tell if your lid is compromised? Well, if the jar’s lid is bulging upward, it is a good sign that the lid is no longer airtight. This means that your pickles may have been exposed, for a long period of time, to bad bacteria.
- Unpleasant Odor – The smell of pickles is already pretty strong and distinct, thanks to the pickling brine. However, if you smell something that is not consistent with your usual favorite pickle smell, you should definitely assume the pickles are bad.
Now that we know what makes a pickle go bad and how to tell, it’s time to move on to protecting your favorite pickle snack: how to store them properly!
As was mentioned above, any pickles that are in an unopened jar or can do not have to go in the refrigerator to maintain their flavor and characteristics. Instead, all you need to do is place them in a room-temperature location. This should keep them free from any unpleasant side-effects like the ones mentioned earlier.
It is also a good idea to keep the pickles away from any light, especially if they are in transparent jars. A dark pantry, away from warming appliances, is your best bet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s go over some frequently asked questions.
How long can you leave dill pickles unrefrigerated?
As previously mentioned, you can leave dill pickles unrefrigerated for up to two years; as long as it has not been exposed to radical temperatures, air, or sunlight, the pickles’ brine will keep it safe to eat for a long time.
Do Farmer’s Market pickles need to be refrigerated?
Farmer’s market pickles may not have been kept in airtight containers or pickled in the same standards as store-bought pickles, so it is a good idea to store them in the refrigerator just to be safe.
We have a number of articles you might find interesting on our website Can You Freeze Crumbl Cookies?, Can You Freeze Bologna?, Do Cupcakes With Buttercream Frosting Need To Be Refrigerated?, and Do Custard Donuts Need To Be Refrigerated?
In conclusion, dill pickles do not need to be refrigerated unless their jar or can has been opened and exposed to air and sunlight. This is because the very brine that pickles them also keeps them preserved without the use of cold temperatures. If your dill pickles smell strange, are discolored, or the seal of their container is broken, it is a sign they have gone bad.
Otherwise, dill pickles can be enjoyed without refrigeration!