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Canning -- Pickled and Fermented Foods

What causes cloudiness in pickles?

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In fermented pickles, the brine will be cloudy from the lactic acid bacteria growth during the fermentation period. If a non-cloudy appearance is desired, a fresh brine can be used to pack the pickles when they are ready for processing. In non-fermented pickles (fresh pack), cloudiness indicates spoilage. Ask the questions: Were the pickles processed? Was a standard reliable recipe followed? Are there other signs of spoilage such as mold or soft pickles? The fillers (anti-caking agents) in regular table salt may cause slight cloudiness - use pickling salt. Hard water may cause cloudiness. If soft water is not available, boil the hard water and let it sit undisturbed overnight and pour off the top portion only to use in the pickling solution.

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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