Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 20, 2010 04:54 AM

Cloudy pickling liquid--contents still okay?

This morning I pickled the first of my hot hungarian wax peppers (very small batch, actually less than the half-pint jar I used). I sliced the peppers into rings, added the boiled white vinegar/distilled water liquid, processed for about 10 minutes (might have been 11 or 12), and removed from the water bath. The pickling liquid is cloudy, which I haven't had before . I did make a few mistakes--forgot to wipe the rim with a clean, damp cloth before putting on the lid, forgot to take the lid off the canner for its 5-minute rest period before I removed the jar. I don't think this is food spoilage, as the liquid was cloudy immediately. But I am wondering if some impurities got into the jar or were perhaps on the peppers (even though I did rinse them). I have very hard water, so I used distilled water in my liquid. And I did hear that satisfying "pop" sound about 5 minutes after I removed the jar from the water bath. I'll test the seal tomorrow morning, but I wonder if the contents are likely to be safe.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. oh, I also added a smashed clove of garlic--could that possibly be a culprit? I did 4 pints of dilly beans last night, with halved cloves, and my liquid was (and still is) clear.

    ETA: And I noticed that the band was loose after I took it out (even though I'm pretty sure it was fingertip-tight when it went in).

    6 Replies
    1. re: nofunlatte

      It could have been the garlic but I've not seen that happen. Was there any salt involved? That's usually the culprit in cloudy pickles. Using table salt instead of kosher or pickling salt can do that. Sea salt might do it depending on what minerals it contains. Possibly there was some kind of residue on the peppers, but if you don't use any nasty sprays in your garden I don't think I'd worry about that. Not wiping the rim might have endangered your seal but it sounds like your seal is good. A few minutes in timing won't make that kind of difference (I never let my jars rest for the 5 minute period in the canner- bad me!). The peppers are probably ok, just not very aesthetically pleasing. But since it's a small amount and you have more peppers coming on, toss them if you're not comfortable with them.

      Don't worry about the loose ring. They often do that in the water bath.

      1. re: morwen

        Impurities in salt is what I was going to suggest too. I always use kosher salt since I've never found pickling salt.

        1. re: morwen

          I didn't use any salt in the pickling liquid (I used the hot pepper recipe in the Ball Blue Book, scaled down to 1/10th of the recipe!) If the problem is just aesthetics, then I'[m fine with it--I wasn't going to give these away. Mostly, I was eager to pickle something from my own (small) garden. I did use pickling salt in the dilly beans recipe (used my own dill heads!) and the liquid was clear. Thanks morwen (and rainey!)

          1. re: nofunlatte

            nofunlatte, you may or may not have resolved the reason for the cloudiness in your pickle brine (I've also had it happen with pickled peppers, maybe it was the garlic I used or I added grated horseradish, mostly likely the culprit) but I wanted to ease your mind about spoilage; you've got a high acid environment and a viable seal, and spoilage would only occur after a period of time, not right out of the canner.

            The loose ring thing you'll find occurs sometimes. No problem.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Thanks--I'm new to canning, so I'm being rather cautious. It is good to find out what's normal, what happens sometimes, and what is a serious concern.

              Maybe more peach jam tonight! This canning is a strange addiction!