As the summer is slowly starting to make way for autumn, those who like to keep a taste of summer around all year long are starting to think about canning or pickling their harvest. But before you pull out grandma’s canning recipes from 1940, the Clemson Extension Home & Garden Information Center wants to tell you to say “No!” to old pickle recipes.
Older pickle recipes usually do not contain a high enough ratio of vinegar to water, which creates breeding grounds for bacteria, yeast or mold in the jar. Cucumbers contain low amounts of acid and cannot combat the bacteria on their own; when combined with low amounts of vinegar, the resulting pickles can lead to muscle paralysis, dry mouth or constipation. According to the Clemson Extension website, clostridium botulinum can grow in improperly canned, pickled foods with a pH higher than 4.6, which makes using scientifically tested pickle recipes a must.
For more information on updated pickle recipes and other tips for pickling wisely in the modern age, visit the Clemson Extension’s Carolina Canning Program website, which also has details on classes held around the state.