Are Pickles Safe To Eat Past The Expiration Date?
To put it simply, pickles are known to have quite a long shelf life and can last up to one to two years after the expiration date, and can be consumed safely too. However, this is only possible if they have been stored properly, either in a pantry or refrigerator with proper sealing.
You simply have to make sure that your pickles are stored correctly if you are going to consume them that far past their recommended shelf life. An unopened pickle jar can last up to two years beyond its recommended expiration date when stored at room temperature (i.e., the pantry). A jar of pickles, when left in the pantry, for example, may last for up to 2 years beyond its printed date. In short, if you open the pickle jars and properly store them (in sealed jars, in a fridge), you can store pickles up to two years.
Pickles do spoil, but if you keep your pickles refrigerated and stored in the jar, they will last about 2 years. Once opened, the pickles stay fresh for about as long as you keep them refrigerated in a tightly sealed container. The shelf life of pickles really is not affected if you keep them in the countertop fridge, either. Instead, pickles have so many uses that it is unlikely that you would keep them for longer than one year in a fridge.
While some people like pickles and others despise them, if the can is damaged, you are better off throwing them out. Remember, you should throw out pickles that have changed their smell, taste, or that are starting to develop mold within the jar. The same goes for if you discover your pickle can has a broken seal, do not put your pickles in it. The presence of bulging lids in your storage shed indicates a risk, as the pickles stored in such a jar are already contaminated.
If you’re interested in Can Pickles Go Bad If Left Out, then check out my other article.
If the lids on top of jars are rounded, domed shapes rather than flat on top, then it is very possible that the pickles are bad, likely because the jars were improperly sealed. If you see bubbles in the canning jars, and nobody has shook it, that is a red flag for the way of telling if the pickles are bad.
If you get a foul odor from your pickle jars, do not try eating them while the foul odor is present. Fermented pickles are hazardous for your health, so you should throw away any jars that smell foul.
|Pickles||In the pantry (60-68°F)||In the refrigerator (32-34°F)|
|Sealed jar of pickles||2 years||2 years|
|Opened pickles||1-2 days||2-3 months|
If the jar is not sealed properly, be sure to not keep it, and eat the pickles before the 24-hour period is up. When making home-made pickles, you are encouraged to keep your jars on the counter, since it will accelerate the pickling process. While the jar is preferred when making pickles, any freezer-safe container will work for the occasion. An unopened pickle can is considered shelf-stable, meaning that it does not need to be refrigerated, and instead it can be stored in a cool, dry location, like your root cellar, pantry, or within your cupboard.
Unopened, unpasteurized pickles are still safe to eat, even three months past their “best by” date. In other words, pickles stay safe to eat for an extremely long period, no matter what its best by date says. Pickles really go bad, but according to research, you can keep a pickle in your food supply long after it has passed the best by date, just by not opening the can. Pickles, as long as they are sealed correctly and there is no evidence of any swelling on the jar lid, will stay safe for eating for at least 2 years, and in some cases far beyond that date printed on the top of the lid, on the bottom of the jar, or anywhere on the label.
Overall, pickles will not last forever, but it is not as though they are going to spoil any time soon after that labeled date. Some producers advise eating their pickles within two months ([RP]), and others claim that they last as long as you eat them ([RD]). Even if the pickles can last for an extended period, eating them ASAP is still recommended. Pickles can be stored in a fridge for up to one year, and they will still be delicious as long as they are handled carefully and carefully.
Check out my other article on whether you need to keep pickles in the fridge next.
Opened pickles will still be tasty in 1-2 months, provided they are kept refrigerated, but they are probably good enough for eating another month or two. Open, pasteurized, or unpasteurized pickles are safe for eating and keep the best-quality opened pickles in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, provided that the can is sealed and the pickles are immersed in the brine.
For best quality, finish your pickles within one year from the date they were purchased, or within 3-4 months after you opened the jar. Unopened pickles will maintain their quality for approximately 2 years after they were picked (or one year after their date on the label). Because of this, assume that the label date is the best quality, and the longer the pickles are kept, the more acidic they become. Labeling means that, even though the shelf life of the can is often exceedingly long, the pickles purchased at a store eventually expire the way they are listed on the label.
For pasteurized, unopened pickles, shelf life is three months added to the “best by” date printed on the products label. Typically, a pickles best-by date is printed on its packaging, with a white film at the top of the can designating the pickle as pasteurized. Pickles, including sauerkraut, may be good for one to two years past its printed manufacturing date, for both opened and unopened pickle jars.
However, pickles are particularly tough, and are likely to remain fresh in both your pantry and your refrigerator for a year or two after that (misguided) expiration date, as long as they are sealed correctly, experts from Healthy Canning tell us. The truth is, there is no single timeline that everyone agrees on when it comes to unopened pickles as well as opened ones. For starters, there is no reason why you would need to spend two years going through a single jar of pickles–unless, say, you have never liked them in the first place, and bought them on a random occasion.
To keep the pickles for as long as possible, avoid pulling them from the jar with your hands (by doing that, you could easily be passing germs from your fingers into the brine) and use a handy lanyard or a fork.
Do open pickles need to be refrigerated?
When the jar is opened and tightly wrapped, store the pickles in the refrigerator. Unpasteurized pickles are always offered for sale in refrigerators. That’s because the fermentation process is still active, and the bacteria in the jar are still alive. So the jar needs to be chilled to slow down the process.
How do you get pickle poisoning?
The deadly food poisoning botulism may be brought on by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum found in canned and pickled foods. The majority of fresh food surfaces contain botulinum spores, but only in the ideal conditions—moist, low-acid food; temperatures between 40° and 120°F; and less than 2% oxygen—can they generate a lethal toxin.