April 28, 2017

Do Pickles Go Bad? Everything You Need to Know About Its Lifespan

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Pickles are a crunchy and delicious addition to any meal. Sometimes, you can even eat it alone as a snack! Whether it's for your burger, salads, or even a sandwich spread, the pickled cucumber brings a healthy and low-calorie taste. But do pickles go bad just like other vegetables?

You might have bought a jar of pickles before and left it in your fridge for a few weeks now. And just like a lot of food items, you'll want to make sure that what you're eating is still safe! To help out, I'll be writing about what you need to know about pickles and its lifespan.

Do Pickles Go Bad?​

There are many types of pickles, but in the end, they have all been through a process where the pickles immerse in BOILED brine water and vinegar. Once cooked, place it in a jar and seal it for a few days or so. The longer you let it stay sealed, the tastier!

Because of the fermentation process, the pickles will taste better through preserving the right bacteria before the bad ones invade and rot the cucumbers. The brine, with the vinegar, helps in fermenting the pickles without causing it to rot.​

Through fermenting the pickles under the acidic solution, the good bacteria increases while the pH levels decrease below 4.6, which is acidic enough to preserve the pickle for years!

In a nutshell, pickles do not go bad compared to other vegetables. It doesn't matter what type of pickle you consume. As long as it went through the efficient and proper fermentation, then the standard lifespan would be a few months. But it can also take up to years before it spoils! However, its lifespan depends on its living conditions, which I'll explain later on.

Read moreDoes Mustard Go Bad: Shelf Life and Storage Technique

How Long Do Pickles Last?​

Now that you know about its fermentation process and how the pickles preserve, the next question is: How long do they last?​

You might think that pickles are spoiled once it reaches its expiration date. That isn't true! A lot of food expiration dates aren't accurate, so don't waste good food and throw it out yet.

All types of pickles would last for one or two years AFTER its expiration date, so that's a lot of time to polish off the jar. The date is suitable for BOTH opened or unopened jars, as long as you handle the former correctly.​

You might compromise its expiration date (and make it shorter!) if you handle your pickles poorly. If you use your fingers instead of a clean fork to get the pickles, then it may soften its lifespan.​

To make your pickles last, leave it in an unopened jar at room temperature. If it's already open, store it in the fridge and keep it sealed in its original jar. Practice proper hygiene when getting pickles to serve.

How Will I Know If My Pickles Are Spoiled?​

​While pickles won't go bad for years, even after its expiry date, they do end up spoiling one way or another. It's pickled, but from environmental factors and other reasons, the pickles might end up unsafe to consume.

So how will you know if your pickles are bad?​

  • Check the label. Yes, it can last for longer than that, but if the date hasn't come yet, then that's a sign that it isn't expired yet. If it's past its expiration date, use your senses.
  • You'll see it immediately. If you see that the pickles don't look as bright and crunchy as before, then throw it out. Feel the pickles to detect sogginess or mold. If so, then that means it's spoiled.
  • You can also smell the pickles as well. Pickles usually smell a bit sour, but if the odor is off and seems to repulse, then it's not safe to consume.
  • If you aren't sure about the pickles' lifespan despite what you see or smell, you can give it a tiny bite, enough to taste it. If the pickle feels slimy, soggy, or tastes disgusting (the "spoiled" kind of taste), then it's expired. Rinse your mouth and drink water after to avoid the consumed pickle from causing stomachaches.

In Conclusion

​If you're planning on buying a jar of pickles, or you already have one stored in your fridge, then it's crucial to know its expiry date! Fortunately, they do not go bad for a very long time, but make sure you take a look at the pickles before you consume it!

I hope that this article answers your question: "Do pickles go bad?" Now, you'll be able to enjoy your pickles and the many benefits it has to offer for both mind and body.​

If you enjoyed the article or would like to add more on the topic "do pickles go bad?", Then comment down below. All thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Claire J. Ruiz

    I'm Claire, and my passion is cooking. I believe that food is what actually unites people and the dining table is where we set aside our differences. When we eat we become vulnerable because enjoying food requires a different level of trust and surrender to the person preparing your food. Sharing and enjoying food is one of the most intimate experiences in life.​