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Jan 28, 2009 11:36 AM

Lid didn't pop-is it still good?


I just opened a jar of National Brand Mixed Pickle (I believe it is Pakistani). The jar lid was sealed with a plastic strip, with no leakage noted. However, I did not hear that familiar, comforting "pop" sound when I unscrewed the lid and I know better than to assume something is safe to eat just because it "looks ok." This happened before with other chutneys/pickles and I threw them away.

As a matter of fact I once opened a jar of "Coriander Chutney"--I believe it was a brand made in India that is widely available in the international foods aisle at general grocery stores. There was no pop, and then the chutney began to flow out of the jar like lava out of a volcano! It's like it had a life of its own.

Any advice? Or reason why this seems to happen often with Indian or Pakistani brand condiments?



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  1. Not sure on this one. One fool proof way to tell is whether or not the lid's popper is still in the down position before you open it... assuming it even had that feature. The process of opening the jar might make more noise than a "seal break" would if you slid it on the counter as the top was twisted, etc. Pickles usually means vinegar and that's pretty hard to ruin so my guess is that you're OK, but who knows. If there is any positive pressure (Like when you open up a beer or soda) coming out of the jar, that's when you should worry.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HaagenDazs

      I'm usualy in the "chance it" column of the "use or toss" debate and normally I'd agree with HD about the vinegar, but here's what happened to me once: I brought home a large plastic bag of pickling cucumbers and left them that way overnight on the porch. It got cool, then hot, and the next day after I'd boiled my jars and divvied up the onion, dill, and garlic into them, I opened the bag and saw that mold was growing on the cukes. I rinsed them off, sliced, and put them in the jars, covering them with a boiling brine of vinegar, sugar, and water. Vinegar would keep them safe, I thought. These pickles are not hot-water processed after the boiling brine goes in. Normally I didn't refrigerate unopened jars, which often did form a vacuum as they cooled anyway. This time, when I looked a day or two later, mold was growing. I pitched that batch, of course, and since then have stored unopened jars in the fridge.