What Went Wrong with my Pickles?

Canning PicklesEver had something go so incredibly wrong when you’re canning or pickling? And it leaves you wondering, What Went Wrong with my Pickles?

Pickles and Pickled Cucumbers are delicious and relatively easy to make; but things can and will go wrong. Here are a few of the common problems and reasons they happened, so you can avoid it in the future

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What Went Wrong with my Pickles?

These questions, answers and tips are assuming you are using quart jars and the water bath canning method.

1. My Jar Broke

broken mason jar

While a jar can break for a multitude of reasons, it’s usually because the outside temperature of your jar was cooler than your canning water bath liquid. If you have boiling water in your canner, but cold liquid or mix in your jar, the jar will break upon contact with the boiling water.

In the photo above there was no liquid in the jar (easy to do when you get excited stuffing jars!). The temperature of the jar hadn’t been warmed by the liquid inside (there was none) and the contact with the boiling water burst out the bottom.

Another reason the jar would break is if there is a crack or chip in the glass- meaning it’s no longer suitable for use. This is why it’s always very important to check your jars carefully for chips and cracks before using.

2. My pickles are soft.

Typically soft pickles are a result of boiling them too long in your hot water bath canner or from having the water too hot.

The temperature for the hot water bath shouldn’t be higher than 185° F  (keep the temperature between 180F to 185F) or it may cause softening in your pickles. Processing the jars for any more than 15 min for cucumbers in a quart size jar will cook your cucumbers, which will also make them soft.

If it has been several months since you canned them then the softness could also be due to age- using alum or fresh grape leaves in your jar will help prevent this affect and they will keep longer.

3. My pickles are hollow.

If you wait several days from picking or purchasing to pickling/canning your cucumbers may have some hollow spots when you bite into them. It is best to pickle your cucumbers within 24 hours from when they were picked from the garden.

Other pickling specific conundrums and tips can be found here on Fresh Preserving.

4. My lids didn’t seal.

Wipe rims of jars

Sometimes stuff gets on the mouth of the jars, which make it hard to get a seal. Always make sure you clean off the mouth of your jars (above).

Also make sure to use new lids every time (you can purchase them direct from Ball right here). Screw the bands on tightly, but not too tightly, as this could make it difficult for air to escape as part of the sealinmetimes stuff gets on the edges of the jars, which make it hard to a complete seal to form.

Wondering what to pickle next? Tray making your own Dill Pickle Relish

Hope that helps answer your questions about What Went Wrong with my Pickles? Leave any additional comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them

For more canning related problems and possible solutions click here.

What Went Wrong with my recipe for these Pickles or water bath canning or why did my dill pickles turn out soft as I was making this pickling recipe?

2 Thoughts on “What Went Wrong with my Pickles?

  1. Pingback: Help! Why Do My Canning Jars Keep Breaking? – Reader Question

  2. I have some pickles that I made earlier this year. They turned out sweet, but I didn’t use any sugar at all in the recipe. Can anyone tell me why?

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