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Canning -- Pickled and Fermented Foods

Can lemon juice be substituted for vinegar in a pickling recipe?

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Yes. Vinegar and lemon juice are the most commonly used acids in home canning. Lemon juice tends to be more acidic than vinegar. It also has less effect on the flavor of the products it is used to pickle. Only use bottled lemon juice or vinegar that is at least 5% acid. Equal amounts of lemon juice can be substituted for vinegar. However, vinegar cannot be substituted for lemon juice unless a specific substitution is listed for the particular lemon juice (see below). Because lemon juice is more acidic than vinegar, this substitution will result in a less acidic and potentially unsafe pickled product.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University. (August 2004)

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