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Do Pickles Go Bad? Will They Expire?

Quick Answer: Do Pickles Go Bad? If you have a jar of opened pickles sitting in the refrigerator, they won’t actually ever go bad. Instead, they will turn very sour due to sitting in an acidic environment for a very long time. This will make them unsuitable to eat. However, if they are without brine, then they will only last for about a week.

In this quick guide we shall take a look at the reasons pickles may go bad.

So, let’s get to it!

Do Pickles Go Bad? Will They Expire?

Do Pickles Actually Go Bad?

If you have found a jar of unopened pickles in the pantry, or realized you haven’t finished those pickles that were opened a couple of months ago which you have just found at the back of the refrigerator, you might be wondering whether they are still safe to eat.

You also might have seen that said pickles are past their expiration date. So, do pickles actually go bad?

Well, yes and no. It all depends on whether the jar was opened, if they have brine covering them, and where they were stored.

All of these factors play a role in determining whether you should just throw them away, or give them another chance.

So, let’s take a look at how you can tell if pickles are best to throw away, or are safe to eat.

How To Tell If Pickles Have Gone Bad?

Sometimes just by looking at a jar of pickles it is difficult to tell if they have gone bad.

That’s because pickles can generally last a long time. However, there are tell tale signs that shouldn’t be ignored.

So, how can you tell pickles have gone bad?

They Have Soured

The reason pickles don’t always go bad is because of what the little cucumbers sit in: brine.

However, this stuff can actually cause pickles to become too sour to eat.

This can be down to a number of things, from being left for too long sitting in the brine (which you should keep them in, by the way), to them being stored in the wrong temperature.

When they become too sour, they are fine to eat because nothing has happened to their makeup in such a way that you should avoid the pickles.

However, they won’t taste very nice, and this means that they have become spoiled. 

Mold Has Appeared

Once mold has appeared on any type of food, it is time to throw it away.

When pickles are not put in any brine, or not much of it, then they have the possibility of becoming covered in mold. 

Putting them in the fridge will slow this process down, but it does mean that you cannot keep pickles which have little or no brine for very long. 

So, if you are looking to store pickles for a while, then always buy it fully submerged in brine snuggled up in a jar. 

What About If Pickles Taste Or Look Different – Have They Gone Bad?

Do Pickles Go Bad? Will They Expire?

Just because the pickles might show some signs of being bad, doesn’t mean that they have actually turned unsafe to eat or spoiled.

There are a few natural things that happen to pickles which people might see as the pickles are turning bad.

Texture And Taste Has Changed From Previous Pickle Jar?

Because pickles are classed as something that is living, then it isn’t surprising that you may find pickles vary from jar to jar.

Sometimes these changes include the color, taste and texture of each pickle.

These things can also change due to how you store the pickles too, and for how long for.

However, usually if you buy a fresh jar of pickles and they seem different, then it is likely down to the batch and type that they are. 

Hear A Fizzing Noise When Pickle Jar Was Opened?

It is completely normal to hear a fizzing sound when it comes to opening a jar of pickles.

When they are put into the brine they begin fermenting.

Once the lid is opened, a fizz noise may be heard, and this is because the pickles slow down with the fermenting process, but it still carries on regardless. 

How Long Can You Keep Pickles For?

Unsurprisingly, pickles don’t actually last forever – no food item really does.

If you have an unopened jar of pickles, then they will be at their best for around 2 years.

If the expiration date has already been, then you are looking at the pickles lasting for another year after that date before the quality drops. 

If the jar has been opened and put into the fridge, then the pickles will last for around 4 months, but this will be even longer for those who love sour tastes.

However, if you have bought a bag of pickles which do not contain any brine, you are looking at them lasting for around a week, so eat ‘em up!

Remember, that if you do love sour tasting pickles, then you can leave them even longer.

Whilst they won’t really ever go bad, they will at some point become way too acidic to eat. When it gets too sour, you will know about it!

With all this in mind, it means that the amount of time pickles are okay to eat comes down to the person eating them and their preference for taste.

So, for that reason, when it comes to the expiration date, always assume it is for the quality rather than when to eat them by.

What Is The Best Way To Store Pickles?

Do Pickles Go Bad? Will They Expire?

When you first buy pickles, you will want to keep the unopened jar in a cool, dark place that is dry.

The top options are either the cupboard or a pantry, though some prefer to put them straight into the fridge.

However, if you have left the jar in a cupboard or pantry, once opened you will want to move them into the refrigerator with the lid shut tight.

If you find that the pickles you picked up were stored in a refrigerator at the store, then do the same once you get home.

Unopened pickles actually do not need to be put in the fridge, however, if they have been bought pickles that are open from somewhere like a farmers market, then you may find that the best option will be to put them into the fridge.

This way, they will last a little longer, but you can leave them out of the fridge if you want to.

These won’t last long either way, but keeping them cold will add another day or two onto their life before growing mold.

Keep the uncovered pickles in either a bag or tightly sealed inside a container.

Always check their status before planning ahead to use them, as mold can grow quite quickly on these once a week has passed.

If the pickles are sitting in brine, every time you take some and put the jar back, make sure every single pickle is slathered in brine.

If they are not, it may start to grow mold.

If you find one has begun to spoil (as in darken, not necessarily going moldy) then feel free to remove just the one. 

Do Pickles Spoil After Being Left Out For A Few Hours?

Leaving pickles out at room temperature speeds up the fermentation process which means that they will turn sour quicker.

If you like that, then go have at them, but if you don’t want them to sour up within a matter of a couple of weeks, fridge them.

However, if you do keep them out for a couple of hours for a party, or accidentally leave them outside of the fridge for a little while, they will be fine to still eat, and you can put them back into the fridge.

Jess Smith


Friday 2nd of September 2022

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