Do you have to refrigerate Pickles?

  • So last weekend the wife and I got a huge jar of pickles at Costco. The thing is bigger than a gallon of milk (the wife really loves her pickles). There really isn't any room for it in the fridge, but no where on the jar does it say 'refrigerate after opening', but I've always kept them in the fridge (and so does everyone else I know).

    I know that pickles use to be kept out of refrigeration in barrels and I realize that the salt in the brine should keep anything bad from happening, but does anyone actually keep their pickles at room temp? Are there downsides to this?

    Thanks

    Can't put this as an answer since it's just anecdotal heresay, but when I go to the local convenience store, they have a giant vat of unrefrigerated pickles that's probably been there for years, if that helps. If it was dangerous I'd think the health inspector would shut them down.

  • Bob

    Bob Correct answer

    10 years ago

    Traditional fermented pickles were kept in barrels, but they're not the kind that you buy in a big jar at Costco. Those pickles have been briefly cooked in a brine, and should be refrigerated after you open the jar. The salt and vinegar should keep them safe for a while, but they will likely go bad at room temperature before you finish eating the whole jar.

    As an anecdotal note, an office I used to work in kept one of these large jars of pickles around. After being open for a few years, they were clearly spoiled, and nobody would touch them.

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