Food goes bad after a certain point. It’s a way of life, and while you can extend the life of food through refrigeration and freezing, eventually, it will go bad.
This is where expiration dates come in. They are extremely useful and give people a vague idea of when food should be eaten, refrigerated, or frozen. Some foods last longer than others, so keep that in mind.
One popular burger topping/side people may wonder about going bad is pickles. In this article, you will learn if pickles can go bad, how long they can last, and other information that will help you make an informed decision.
Can Pickle Go Bad, and if So, How Long Do They Last?
One interesting thing about the pickling process is that it helps prolong the life of food. However, even pickled food can go bad, and this includes pickles.
Your pickles will typically go bad either past the expiration date or when they are improperly stored.
The length of time a pickle can last depends on whether the pickles are opened and how they are being stored.
If the jar of pickles is unopened, then they can last either two years or a year past the expiration date printed on the label.
Now, if the jar of pickles has been opened and has been put in the fridge, it can last for 2 to 4 months.
Be aware that the longer the opened pickles are left, the sourer they will be once you get to them. For some people, the sour the better, so they might enjoy it.
However, not everyone enjoys sour things, so if that sounds like you, it’s best to avoid leaving it in the fridge for the entire 4-month time frame.
So, pickles can go bad, but they are one of the foods that last a decent amount of time. However, sometimes, you’ll end up eating bad food despite your best intentions, which is what we’ll cover next.
What Happens if You Eat Bad Pickles?
Hey, we’ve all eaten bad food or food that has expired at one point or another.
Nothing to be ashamed of! Sometimes, it just happens, but you should know that if you end up eating bad pickles, there are going to be some consequences for your unintentional actions.
One of the biggest problems that can occur is digestive issues such as diarrhea, cramping, upset stomach, vomiting, and/or nausea. It’s not going to lead to you having any serious illnesses or side effects, but food poisoning is possible.
If you do end up with any of these issues, it’s best to rest as much as you can and stay hydrated. This is because diarrhea can dehydrate you.
Overall, you’ll come out unscathed if you eat bad pickles. Still, it’s best to avoid doing so because eating expired or spoiled food is never a good thing.
How To Tell if Pickles Are Bad
Now one way to avoid consuming bad pickles is by making sure you know what signs a pickle displays when it goes bad. These signs include:
- One simple way to tell is to see if there is mold on it. This is the most obvious sign of food going bad.
- Always look at not just the pickles but also the brine it’s stored in. Bad pickles will look brown or faded. For brine, it will be discolored or murky.
- Another simple way to tell is if you open the jar and get a bad smell.
- The last way to tell if pickles have gone bad is by checking out the jar. If the jar is bulging or if the brine is fizzing, then you need to toss it. When this happens, the fermentation process going on is out of control, to the point where it is no longer edible.
By looking for all of these signs, you’ll be able to catch one or more of them on your pickles. Should you see any of them on the pickles or the jar, then you need to just take it right over to the bin and toss it.
How to Safely Store Pickles
Besides looking out for signs of spoilage, you can also safely store your pickles, which will help prevent them from spoiling in the first place! What do these methods include?
- If you got your pickles from the refrigerated section, then they need to go straight to the fridge. It doesn’t matter if it’s opened or not.
- If you get your pickles from the shelf, then you can store them in a cabinet until you decide to open them.
- Shelf pickles that have been opened need to go straight to the fridge.
- While you can put pickles in the freezer, it’s best not to do it because the longer they are in the fridge, the more the quality will degrade once it’s frozen. The reason for this is that pickles are cucumbers which are veggies with high water content.
Overall, pickles can last a long time if they haven’t been opened. Again, this is because of the pickling process, which helps elongate the life of food.
Even once it’s opened, pickles can still last a decent amount of time. Hey, in the life of food, two to four months is a pretty long time compared to some other foods out there and how quickly they expire.
And there you go, all your pickle lovers out there! Pickles can indeed go and eventually go bad.
They do have a long shelf life due to how they are made, but even pickles will succumb to spoilage. It hits every food out there.
Eating bad pickles is not advised, but we know accidents can happen. By looking for signs of spoilage and properly storing the pickles in the first place, you can avoid eating pickles that have gone bad.
So, if you do have some pickles at home, don’t worry because they will last you a decent amount of time. This is great news because pickles are unbelievably delicious.
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