There is nothing better than a good jar of homemade pickles. Far better than the storebought stuff. But, do homemade pickles need to be refrigerated?
Homemade pickles do need to be refrigerated. This is because, unlike most store-bought pickles, homemade pickles are not pasteurized (cooked in the jar/can), which makes it easier for bacteria to breed if they are not kept cool.
On this page, we’ll give you more information about refrigerating homemade pickles. We’ll let you know why you need to do it, and how you can tell if your homemade pickles have gone bad.
Outside of a couple of brands of pickles (Claussen Pickles being the big one), most pickles that you buy from a store are pasteurized. This means that when once they have been canned, they are heated up. This kills all the bacteria around the pickles. As a result, you can store them long-term. In fact, an unopened jar of normal pickles will last a couple of years without any major issues.
When you make homemade pickles, you don’t do this. Most homemade pickle recipes require you to pickle in the fridge (pretty much the same way Claussen Pickles are made). Since you are not warming up the pickles, the bacteria doesn’t get killed off.
This means that if you make homemade pickles, you need to keep them refrigerated. If you do not, then the bacteria will start to grow. Eventually, eating unrefrigerated homemade pickles would probably make you quite sick.
That being said, bacteria won’t form as quickly in a jar of homemade pickles as they would in other foods. The brine is a very inhospitable environment for bacteria. This means that even if the jar wasn’t in the fridge, the bacteria would grow at a very slow rate. So, don’t worry if you leave the jar out overnight. It should still be edible. Just make sure that you refrigerate it again as soon as possible.
This is a tough question to answer since we don’t know the exact recipe that you’re following. Each pickle recipe will use different ingredients, and some will preserve the pickles a little bit better. What we can do, however, is give you a guideline for how long you have to eat your pickles.
We estimate that you should be fine with the pickles in the fridge for 2-3 weeks after they have properly pickled. So, at the most, you should be getting about a month of life from your them. Although, you’ll still need to keep an eye on them to ensure that they are in ‘good’ condition.
Remember, the longer you take to eat them, the less of a benefit there is from making them at home. Most people love the crunchiness of homemade pickles. But, after a week or so, that crunchiness will start to disappear. They’ll become very soggy and slimy.
If you insist on not putting them in the fridge, then you’ll probably get a couple of days out of them before they need to be thrown away. Under absolutely no circumstances should you eat them if they have been left out of the fridge for more than 24 hours. Bacteria will have started to grow and it could make you sick.
How Do You Know If Your Homemade Pickles Have Gone Bad?
It’s quite tough to tell if your homemade pickles have gone bad. This is because they do keep ‘fresh’ for a decent length of time. However, there are a few things that you can keep an eye out for.
If you notice white spots (or any color spot) start to form in the jar, then throw them away. This could be mold, or it could be some of the ingredients breaking down.
You may also notice a slightly off-smell, or there will be a major color change in the jar. Although, this is something that normally happens a long while after they have become inedible.
As we said, the longer you go without eating the pickles, the less of a crunch they have. If you notice that they become very soft (almost mushy) or slimy, then we recommend that you throw them away. It’s not worth eating them at that point.
Our website has a number of interesting articles for you to read How Long Do Hemp Seeds Last In The Fridge?, Do Greenies Pill Pockets Need To Be Refrigerated?, Do Grape Tomatoes Need To Be Refrigerated?, and Do Green Olives Need To Be Refrigerated?
Do homemade pickles need to be refrigerated? Yes. Unlike store-bought products, you won’t be pasteurizing your homemade pickles. This does mean that they retain a good amount of the cucumber crunchiness, but they will constantly need refrigeration. It is fine if you leave them at room temperature for a few hours. But, if they are out of the fridge for more than a day or so, we recommend that you throw them away. It could make you sick if you ate them.