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Old 06/22/11, 03:26 AM
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Exclamation Signs of dill pickles gone bad

Have a friend who is quite good at preserving foods, keeps an impeccable kitchen, and is an excellent nutritionist; the only person I know who's pie crust I don't question for transfats.

She made some very tasty dill pickles from Persian cucumbers (pared the outside straight off) last August that we all shared in September. But the jar I took home and opened yesterday made me sick as a dog. I only had two little bites - terrible headache after a couple hours, sick feeling afternoon, vomiting in the night, more headache and finally I'm OK - just.

I should have noted that the liquid was a bit low in the jar. It seemed to be sealed ok. (Also it was a Kerr lid, not Ball -I've seen ancient lids side by side and the rubber on Kerr had changed, the Ball lids looked like new.) There was no cloudiness, they just tasted kinda yucky compared to what I remembered. I never suspected pickles, even after tasting these I didn't think they were spoiled, just not yummy.

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Old 06/22/11, 12:19 PM
 
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Are you sure she processed them or did she just do "open kettle" ? Even pickles need processing in a boiling water bath. Did she use an old recipe with not enough vinegar ? Those old recipes were based on much higher acidity vinegar than we now have. Many of the old recipes I see have 3 qts. water and 1 qt. vinegar. Not nearly enough to prevent possible botulism. Cucumbers are low acid foods and must have enough vinegar to make them safe.
Perhaps she needs to update her recipes and methods.
Sorry to hear you got so ill. However, this is a good way to share that safe canning is so important.

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  #3  
Old 06/22/11, 12:24 PM
 
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PS. that is the thing if there is ever botulism, you cannot see, taste or smell. It shows no signs of spoilage.

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Old 06/22/11, 01:17 PM
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Thanks Lucy, it really was a close call - I could have easily flopped the pickels into a salad and fed up a small crew. That would have been at least 10 times the dose I got - I still feel it today.

I know all the rest of the pickles from that summer were gone by Thanksgiving; I'm going to ask for my friend's recipe to see if that's where things went wrong. She does water bath. (I still will never use Kerr lids instead of Ball - the jar was subjected to a couple of transports, maybe sudden temperature changes?)

Do you know when vinegar was higher than 5% acidity? I'm doing some historical work, and that would really be significant. Vinegar deserves as much research as salt; it's rare to see it discussed.

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Old 06/22/11, 02:09 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Are you sure it was the pickles that made you sick? And not anything else you ate?

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Old 06/22/11, 11:31 PM
 
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I never have problems with Kerr lids. They are all made by the same company, but I do know they have different components to them.
I got 2,300 bulk ones this year. Have no idea what they are for sure, but they look like Kerr lids.

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  #7  
Old 06/23/11, 02:20 AM
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Yeah, I only had coffee, Kashi Puffs cereal, milk and banana for breakfast, then the pickle bites before I ate a grilled cheese sandwich and an apple. Fruit, milk, butter and cheese were fresh and I've had more of the same since. I took my temperature a couple of times too, it was normal. Night before I had salad, from stuff I had eaten from before and since. The bread was the same, sliced multigrain I keep in the freezer. I got my organic produce from a grocer and am pretty methodical about washing it, good kitchen hygiene. Use a ceramic filter cone and grind beans for coffee. Only my own well water from the tap.

I could tell the pickles were changed in quality, but I thought they were just too old.

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