Are one-year-old pickles safe to eat?
September 30, 2012 6:25 PM   Subscribe

A question about a jar of pickled onions I found in my fridge: will it be the cause of my untimely demise?

I pickled these pearl onions in Dec. 2011, put them in the fridge and totally forgot about them. I found them today and on inspection, they look perfect, pretty even. They are not mushy or smelly, perfectly firm and totally white, only translucent.

Is it safe to eat them? They have been swimming in vinegar, but I did not process the jar. they were simply submerged.
posted by Tarumba to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would eat them, for sure, if they look, smell, and taste fine. Pickling was invented for preservation, after all! The maturation period has probably improved them if anything.

(Disclaimer: I personally tend to be pretty gung-ho in these situations, and so far it has never made me ill. I am just telling you what I would do. I am not a food scientist or pickled onion expert.)
posted by pont at 6:32 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I distinctly remember reading, in a recent article on pickling, that pickled vegetables are responsible for 0.0% of U.S. annual food-poisoning deaths.
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:34 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: On the other hand, sometimes I distinctly remember things that I later realize must have been dreams.

Pickled vegetables can indeed be fatal.
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:37 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Not much grows in acetic acid, even the relatively weak cooking-grade stuff. Assuming that the onions and the jar were nice and clean when you pickled them, and that they've been under refrigeration and unopened since, I would think nothing of eating them 10 months later.

Eat those pickled onions and don't look back.
posted by Scientist at 7:10 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm assuming that not processing the jar means you didn't go through the canning process. My answer is based on this.

Restaurant 5 gallon buckets of pickles last for a long time. Which leads me to think that A) having them sit around for a while isn't really an issue considering that they're sitting in a liquid that pretty much stops bacterial growth and B) restaurants wouldn't buy 5 gallon buckets of pickles if they couldn't go through them fast enough, and those things come with a crap ton of pickles in there.

My general rule with food is that I won't eat it if it feels or smells wrong. And if you're right in that they smell fine, you should be fine to eat them.

Except for the part where pearl onions aren't really that good. But that's a whole nother issue.
posted by theichibun at 9:06 PM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: As someone who lives in a house where pickled onions are a THING, I've found them to be pretty deathless. You pickle something for a reason, if they smell or taste funky toss but I'd be more worried they're mushy.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 PM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: I would eat them without question.
posted by h00py at 7:31 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a pickler, and I approve their consumption.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:10 PM on October 1, 2012

Response by poster: This is me typing from beyond.....

just kidding, they were yummy.
posted by Tarumba at 3:15 PM on October 1, 2012

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