Saturday, August 16, 2008

Battle of the Bulge

Whenever My Fabulous Aunt comes to visit, we usually have an exchange of some sort, passing along things we've saved up for each other in the past months.

At this time of year, of course, food is high on that list. She brought a large quantity of peaches from one of her local farmers, and I had set aside two pints of the family recipe hot dill pickles for her.

But when I pulled the jars from their storage space, I had an unpleasant surprise.

It may be difficult to tell from this photo (I couldn't get a better view), but the jar on the bottom, formerly sealed, has in the past few weeks UNsealed. The "button" in the middle of the lid has popped up, compared to the pulled-in button on the top jar's lid, and there's a definite aroma of dill pickle coming from the box.

And of the dozen pints of pickles I put up, two had bulging lids, meaning they had managed to come unsealed.

I'm baffled. I know that they sealed fine after the boiling water bath, and they were still sealed when I packed them in a box and stored them in a closet. But since I put the box away two or three weeks ago and I don't know when the jars unsealed, I had to dump the contents.

Had the jars not sealed to begin with, I could have salvaged them by storing them in the refrigerator and using them promptly. But since I don't know how long the contents might have been exposed to warm air, I'm not willing to risk the health of any of my family or friends.

So here's a lesson for everyone practicing home food preservation (and yes, that means me, too!): check your preserved items on a regular basis. You might even keep a log as to when you've checked the seals. Use your preserved foods in good time (you can find helpful charts as to how long things should be stored), and be prepared for potential loss.

And keep a lid on it!

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At 8/19/2008 12:12 AM, Anonymous Janet said...

What a disappointment. Another excuse for me to avoid canning. ;-)

At 8/19/2008 7:19 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Not an acceptable excuse, Janet. That's when you find a recipe for refrigerator pickles. :-)


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