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Ratio of water to vinegar question

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

so i just made my first pickles and tried this yesterday (7.5 weeks after) and they taste good...but i would say that they are a little to vinegary.  i did alot of reading on here prior to making them and decided on 3 cups water to 2 3/4 cups vinegar.  so i think next time ii'm going to use less vinegar and more water to even that flavor out.


my question is this...what is the minimum amount of vinegar i can use to properly pickle things? is there a golden rule for this? will less vinegar still pick but take longer?

post #2 of 6
Are you making refrigerator pickles or canned pickles?

You can get away with less vinegar in refrigerator pickles.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

umm "canning" i guess...boiled the jar to seal the and left them in my pantry for 7-8 weeks.

post #4 of 6
If you're boiling water bath canning it's imperative that you follow the guidelines, If the ph of your pickles is too high (acid level too low) they may be unsafe.

Edited by SausageBoy - 1/30/12 at 9:51am
post #5 of 6

Ugh. If you follow all the 'terrified' advice online then yes, you should stick to the 1:1 ratio because that's what the USDA says. 


Keep in mind that if what the USDA says is correct then most of our ancestors and the entire continent of Europe should be dead.  Essentially the USDA is trying to prevent natural selection from increasing the intelligence of the population.


I agree that 1:1 is horrible for pickles.  Using that ratio you could pickle plastic and it would taste the same.


I use 2:3 vinegar to water.  If you still don't like the sourness then add 1-5tbsp of sugar to taste.  Just be smart when you can things:  clean your sink and counters well before you start, use boiling water to sterilize your jars/lids and any utensils beforehand, cut a small slice off each end of cukes before using, and use the hot water bath if you are nervous (but even if I do, I never do this for as long as 'required').


I don't even use 'mason' type jars sometimes but I don't recommend that unless you know what you are doing. 


Having said that, I won't touch canned tomatoes (except chili sauce, etc. that has added vinegar). Once I found out that botulina is not visible and has no taste, it scared the hell out of me (botulism is not something you should wish on your worst enemy).


So, somehow in the past 40+ years, no one of the half dozen of us in my family that preserves has managed to get others sick from it.  If you aren't half intelligent though, maybe just follow the USDA guidelines.  They are there to keep dump people alive after all.

post #6 of 6

My Ball book of canning says that for plain old pickled peppers (which is what I made today)  you should use 6 cups of vinegar and 2 cups of water.....that would make it 3:1 using 5% acidity vinegar. I've been making them that way for years and they have always been perfect.

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