Do Pickles Expire
Homemade pickles can stay fresh for a few weeks or longer when kept in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that pickles are particularly resilient and, as long as they are properly sealed, should remain edible in both the pantry and the refrigerator for one to two years after their expiration date.
Pickles are a tasty and healthful addition to sandwiches, burgers, or even simply as a quick snack. But have you ever eaten a pickle that didn’t taste quite right? I scoured the internet for answers to find out if pickles go bad, and how to make sure you’re storing them correctly so they don’t spoil prematurely.
How long do unopened pickles last?
Unopened pickles keep their quality about 2 years after they were picked (or one year after the date on the label). An unopened pickle jar can last at room temperature (i.e., the pantry) or be kept refrigerated for up to two years beyond expiration. If you keep pickles correctly, opened pickle jars can remain good for months, while unopened ones can last years. Pickles can spoil, but if you keep pickles refrigerated and stored in a jar, they last about 2 years. Your pickle jars will last at least three months; after that, it is important to watch your pickles closely to ensure that they are not going bad.
From the time pickles are packed and sealed into the jar, and up until their expiration date, pickles can last years. If you store your sealed pickles in their original jars, they should keep tasting great in your pantry for up to 18 months, provided temperatures are kept under about 75 degrees F. If you keep pickles in an unopened cupboard (with a temperature under 75 degrees), you can expect a jar’s shelf life to extend far past its use-by date (usually by 1 -2 years).
If you want to know if pickles can go bad, click on this link for more information.
In conclusion, whether or not you have opened an unopened pickle jar under the right conditions, an opened pickle jar may take one or two years to reach its indicated shelf life. You may still be able to use it even after the indicated expiry date on the jar has passed as long as you are practicing proper storage, or as long as the jar is unbroken and you do not have signs that it is spoiled. To properly store your pickle jar, keep it at the back of your pantry, somewhere cooler and where there is no light that could affect it. If a jar has not sealed properly, be sure to not keep it, and to instead consume the pickle before the 24-hour period is up.
Does the expiration date on a pickle jar mean anything?
Note that, your pickle jar will display an expiration date, but this does not necessarily mean the pickles are spoilt. One of the ways you can tell whether a pickle is bad is by looking at the expiration date, and manufacturers always state an accurate date.
The shelf life of pickles really is not affected, even if you keep them in the countertop fridge. Pickles have an extremely long shelf life, so they will last for years on grocery store shelves and in your pantry. Overall, pickles will not last forever, but it is not as though they will spoil quickly once you put a label date on them. Pickles last from a few months to a couple years when stored properly, whether or not they are pasteurized.
If you’re wondering if you have to refrigerate pickles, read this other article.
As long as you keep them out of the sun and out of the heat, you will be able to store pasteurized pickles at room temperature in their unopened jars. As with most foods, you are probably better off keeping your pickles in the pantry or refrigerator (depending, once again, whether or not they are pasteurized). If you keep pickles without pasteurization, with its living bacteria, in a pantry, your pickles will keep fermenting and will eventually go bad. While your pickles may keep a good amount of time when stored correctly, they will eventually become sour if they are not consumed.
Different storage methods for pickles
Thawed pickles will last for roughly the same time that normal, non-pasteurized pickles will last in your refrigerator, but you will notice the decline in quality after approximately one to two months. Pickles tossed into the freezer will keep up to one year; keep in mind, though, that the longer you store most foods in the freezer, the greater the chance of food degradation. Opened pickles taste best 1-2 months after they are refrigerated, but they are probably still pretty good for eating for another month or two. For best quality, finish your dill pickles within one year from the date they were bought, or within 3 to 4 months after opening the can.
Opened pickles, pasteurized or not, are safe to eat, and you can store opened pickles for the best quality for up to 3 months in your refrigerator, provided that the jar is sealed and that the pickles are immersed in the brine. Pickles, as long as properly sealed and there is no evidence of any swelling of the jar lid, remain safe to eat for at least 2 years, and in some cases far beyond the “Best By” date printed on the top of the lid, bottom of the jar, or anywhere on the label. Pickles are particularly tough, however, and are likely to remain fresh in both your pantry and your refrigerator for a year to two beyond their best-by dates, assuming they are sealed correctly, experts from Healthy Canning tell us.
Fermented pickles are hazardous to your health, so you should toss any jars that have an off-flavor. In case, you get a foul smell from pickle jars, do not try eating it while the unpleasant smell is present. If you open up the pickle jars and you can see the pickles are getting softer or starting to wrinkle (or they seem wrinkled), you can still eat them, but the crunch will go away.
How to tell if the pickles have gone bad
Your senses will alert you fairly quickly after opening a jar of pickles if it has gone bad, so you won’t have to make a guess. To determine whether your pickles are safe to eat, watch out for the following indicators of spoilage:
- Pickles with spoilage will have an unpleasant sour odor in the jar. The jar is awful if the fragrance makes you gag or is offensive.
- Pickles or brine that are discolored: Brine is used to preserve all pickles. Both the pickles and the brine will be discolored and/or hazy if the pickles have gone bad. Pickles that have a murky-looking brine or are drab, brown, or faded should not be consumed.
- Pickles with visible mold: Pickles that have visible mold or those that have mold floating in the brine are no longer safe to eat.
- Bulging jars or fizzing brine are indications of unstable or uncontrolled fermentation, which suggests the pickles are dangerous to eat. Throw away the pickles if the jar or the lid has inflated. Equally true if the liquid fizzles.
How to store pickles
According to the USDA, pickles should be refrigerated after being opened and soaked in brine to keep them fresh for at least three months. Jarred foods are frequently kept on a shelf inside the refrigerator door, but keeping them inside the refrigerator, where you can make sure they stay cold, may be preferable. If you have the space, you can store unopened pickle jars in the refrigerator, but it’s not required. The pantry will do just fine. Also, you have the option of freezing your pickles if you are unable to consume them all before they go bad in the refrigerator.
How long do pickles last once opened?
Homemade or store-bought pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two years after being opened. Keep your fridge set at a temperature between 34degF and 40degF and properly seal the jar after each use to guarantee they stay fresh and don’t spoil.