Do Pickles Go Bad? How Long Do Pickles Last?

Pickles are the perfect addition to a bland sandwich with its irresistible tang and savoury flavor.  Pickles are also known to be one of the few foods which can fully satisfy the cravings of pregnant women.

We can make pickles out of any vegetable through the process of fermentation like kimchi. However, most pickles we get in stores are unfermented. Soaking vegetables in brine or vinegar can turn them into pickles effortlessly.

The process of fermentation is usually long, and the pickle is in itself older than fresh veggies. A question arises then; do pickles go bad? Surely pickles must have an expiry date, but how long can they stay edible before becoming unsafe to eat?

Eating expired pickles have the same effect as eating any other expired edible: food poisoning. If you want to know more about the shelf life of pickles and how to tell if pickles have gone bad, please continue reading.

How Long Do Pickles Last? Do Pickles Go Bad?

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Pickles do go bad, but according to studies, pickles can remain edible for a long time even after passing its expiry date as long as you don’t open the jar. They say that even after opening the jar, pickles do not go bad very quickly as long as they remain submerged in the brine.

For unopened pasteurized pickles, the shelf life is three months added to the “best by” date printed on the label of the product. You can store unopened pasteurized pickles in the pantry. Once opened, you should store it in the fridge and consume the pickles before three months.

You should always store unpasteurized pickles in the fridge. Unopened unpasteurized pickles remain safe to eat even after three months beyond its “best by” date. After opening, the pickles go bad after three months.

Pickles, including sauerkraut, can last for one to two years after the printed manufacture date, for both opened and unopened pickle jars. We should keep in mind that these time durations are factual only for well-stored pickles in the fridge.

If you add pickles as an ingredient to a dish, it will last only up till the first expiring ingredient stays edible. For a pickle sandwich, LeitesCulinaria instructs us to consume it within three days of preparation, which means that the pickle, once added to the sandwich, will last only for three days before it goes bad.

How to Tell If Pickles are Bad? Pickles Shelf Life!

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Eating pickles that have gone bad will harm your health. Identifying if a pickle is still safe to eat can be quite challenging because of its already sour and acidic taste. So how can we know for sure that a pickle is still edible? When do we know it is expired?

You can use your sight to know if pickles have gone bad:

  • If the lid is dome-shaped and not flat anymore, the contents of the jar have likely gone bad.
  • Anything brown or black, besides the spices, on the pickles also means that it is no longer safe for ingestion.
  • A tip to identify bad pickles is to check for organic growth within the jar and look out for pickles without crunchiness. Tasting is the last resort of checking if it has gone bad. The soft texture does not mean that the pickles have expired; it only means that they will expire soon.
  • To avoid ingesting expired pickles, make sure you eat only brine-submerged pickles. Discard the pickles on the top because they are usually not submerged in the brine.

Conclusion

Pickles have benefits like controlling blood sugar, providing antioxidants, and treating muscle cramps. Even without these benefits, pickles are delicious and a perfect side dish and ingredient.

The process of making pickles is easy with simple ingredients. You can easily make pickles with any vegetable by fermenting or by soaking in a brine. Pickles generally last for a long time before turning unfit for consumption.

We cannot rely on taste to figure out if pickles have gone bad. However, it is easy to figure this out by sight. Unfamiliar colors and condition of the jar is the key to identifying this problem.

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