In a pickle about preserving vegetables? Answers to common canning questions.

Pickles-in-7-easy-steps-(cropped)I’ve received quite a few questions about pickles and pickling (more than just cucumbers).  Rather than post each one individually, I thought it might be best to list them all in one place.

And, of course, if you have more questions, let me know on my Facebook page or by sending your question to me via my website.  I’m always happy to reply back (by email when possible) and post the questions and answers here on my blog.

Now, on to the questions …

Q. I made Kosher pickles using one of your quick process mixes.  I had left over solution, I reheated it to a boil, and pickled cauliflower and cocktail sized onions. They were processed in a hot water bath for five minutes.  Is this the proper procedure and will it be a safe modification?

I have asked the normal Mrs. Wages hotline but all I get is a canned answer.  I am hoping for a practical one from you.

A. I wouldn’t recommend varying the vegetables with the Mrs. Wages mix because it hasn’t been tested. The cauliflower water content is different from cukes, so I can’t guarantee it’s a safe product.

Q. Can I use Mrs. Wages Dill pickle seasoning to can okra?

A. There are recipes for pickled okra. The problem with pickled okra or any okra, it’s makeup is different and it can be slimy when canned. There are recipes for pickled okra and I suggest you follow those.

Q. How to make dill pickle crisp?

A.  Soft pickles can be a common problem when canning pickles. Crisping agents such as alum may help, but when you apply heat to a cucumber, it’s going to naturally soften.

Other tips to keep them crisp: soak the cukes in ice water before you put them in the jars or you may have to use a long brining process.  Cucumbers should also be processed immediately after picking.

Q. I have a question about pickle mixes.  Can I use the kosher dill pickle mix or the polish dill pickle mix to pickle green beans in addition to my baby cucumbers?  I suspect that the polish will be just a bit spicier than the kosher dill.

A. We don’t recommend substituting different vegetables for these pickle mixes. Mrs. Wages does offer a Dilled Green Bean Refrigerator or Canning Mix.

Q. I ran out of juice while canning the cucumber lime pickles.  Do I need to add 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of sugar?

A. All I would do is bring vinegar to boil and add to the jar. Hopefully you have the same amount of brine in each jar, so just top it off with plain vinegar that has been brought to boiling.

Q. If so do I need to boil it and add pickling spices to it?

A. No, just plain vinegar. The spices need to be in the original brine.

Q. I am making pickles using the recipe on the lime bag. It says to soak the cukes overnight in the lime /water mixture. My question is will it hurt to soak more than 24 hours? Can they soak 48 hours?

A. Follow the recipe exactly. Improper soaking could result in an unsafe product.

Q. When I use Mrs. Wages dill pickle mix, what is the shelf life of the pickles?

A. If stored in a cool, dry, dark place, home preserved food is good for one year or maybe longer.

Q. I want to use zucchini instead of cucumbers in the Zesty Bread & Butter Pickles Medium pkg mix. Will this work? First timer at using your mixes.

A. We don’t recommend substituting different vegetables for these pickle mixes as they have not been tested for safety. You need to follow a specific zucchini-pickling recipe for the safe result.

Q. May I replace the sugar in your bread and butter pickles with stevia?  I  have the pure stevia with the recommended conversions.

A. No, we don’t recommend making substitutions.

Q. We have a small garden and do not get enough cucumbers at one time to make a full run of pickles.  Can I store the unused Mrs. Wages pickling mix in the refrigerator and do a couple of jars at a time by heating it back up and processing as directed?

A. Yes, that’s fine.

6 thoughts on “In a pickle about preserving vegetables? Answers to common canning questions.

  1. When you can whole pickles how do you keep from having to much empty space after you process the jars in a hot water bath?

  2. From Shirley (who’s computer has been sick all week and is unable to answer these questions directly) …

    “Pickles tend to shrink when they are processed in the vinegar. Make sure you remove the air bubbles before you put the lids on and use the proper headspace noted in the recipe. Pack them as tightly as you can.”

    “Enjoy your pickles!”

  3. I JUST made some Mrs. Wages Sweet Pickle Relish using ZUCCHINI instead of cucumbers as there are none available here this early. I am so impressed, it canned beautifully, stayed far more crisp than I expected, and everyone loves it.

    MY version is made with Splenda for a reduced carb product.

    NOTE, While I canned this with care (and a good food thermometer) I am not going to keep it. I let it stand 36 hours on the counter, then refrigerate it, and gave it all away for immediate consumption except for a jar I’m eating.

    Mrs Wages wins again.

  4. What is the reason for leaving kosher dills in the water bath for 5 minutes after the processing. I noticed that you don’t do this for Polish or Dills just kosher.

  5. Help! My family asked for dill pickle relish. Can I use Mrs. Wages Kosher dill pickle package and work it like her sweet relish package?

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