This Is How You Should Be Storing Pickles

Pickles are wildly popular, sometimes even eliciting a fanatical devotion. Typically not much more than pickled veggies, pickles are vibrant, acid-forward, and a super-satisfying bite. They also evade almost all dietary restrictions, so they're a very popular snack or sandwich addition. Many seem to wonder, though — how long do pickles last before going bad? Furthermore, how should they be stored to ensure the longest (and safest) long-term enjoyment? Read ahead to learn!

As with so many foods, it all depends on the type of pickle — homemade vs. store-bought, pasteurized vs. unpasteurized, and so on. Does It Go Bad defines pickles as fermented vegetables that are made with a pickling liquid usually consisting of water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. Some pickles are pasteurized and others aren't. It makes a difference; pasteurized can be stored at room temperature when unopened, whereas unpasteurized are sold refrigerated.

There is also a vast difference between store-bought and homemade. Some store-bought pickles may only last for about three-four months, whereas some homemade, canned pickles can be stored unopened for as long as two years, says Thrillist. Websites Epicurious and The Kitchn also note that homemade, canned pickles should last for about a year unopened, but once opened and refrigerated, they will only be good for a few weeks.

How do I know if my pickles have gone bad?

Overall, most pickles last about three months once opened, whether they're pasteurized or not. Of course, most pickles will lose their snap or crunch as the weeks go by. Obviously, if you see mold, those pickles are past their prime and should be thrown out. Also be mindful of any overt changes in odor.

Some additional, general pickle tips: It's best to store your jarred pickles in a dark, cool area away from sunlight and heat. Always keep the jar sealed tightly, and keep the veggies as submerged in the brine as possible in order to lengthen their freshness.

Now that you're armed with this knowledge, you'll be able to snack on pickles, add them to sandwiches, and mix chopped pickles into sauces all year 'round. Just keep all these tips in mind and you're bound to enjoy your pickles for at least three to four months — or maybe even longer!