Preparing homemade pickles is fairly easy and very satisfying. It provides an easy way of using up a glut of vegetables and storing them for when they are out of season. They make wonderful hostess gifts too!
While the main ingredients for pickles are simple–your chosen vegetable such as cucumbers, vinegar, sugar, and spices, many beginners struggle to create a balanced flavor and end up making the pickles too sweet. This is a common mistake made in an attempt to tone down the acidity of the vinegar.
If your pickles have turned out too sweet, don’t despair as we have 3 quick fixes for you to try!
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How To Fix Pickles That Are Too Sweet
1. Soak the pickles in water
This fix is best done with a few pickles at a time, as you need them. Remove the required number of pickles from the jar and put them into a clean bowl. Cover them with fresh, cold water. Chilled water is preferable.
Warm or hot water will spoil the pickles’ crispness. Soak them for about 10 minutes then drain and use as desired. Do not soak them for longer than 30 minutes or the flavor will be spoilt.
2. Add vinegar
The second very effective method that you can try is to add some extra vinegar to the pickle jars. Here, rather than removing the sweetness, you are simply diluting and balancing it.
Open the pickle jars and remove about a third of the pickling liquid. Now, bring some vinegar to a boil, adding some pickling spices if desired. Pour it into the pickle jars and reseal them.
Shake gently once or twice to mix the liquids. Store in the refrigerator for a couple of days to let the flavors soak in. This should mellow the sweetness perfectly.
Because you have now opened the jars, we suggest storing them in a refrigerator to prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
3. Add lemon juice
Another method is to use lemon juice in the pickle jar instead of adding more vinegar. That’s because the sour flavor of the lemon juice will be able to overcome the sweetness and balance the flavors.
Lemon juice is readily available in the market in bottled form but you can always squeeze fresh lemons to prepare the juice. If you use fresh lemons, strain any pulp out carefully.
Be sure to add just a little lemon juice to the jar at the start then taste it before adding more until you achieve the desired flavor.
Further tips when making and bottling your own pickles
- You should not use the iodized table salt that’s usually available in grocery stores.
Instead, purchase proper pickling salt or canning salt. Both these salt varieties don’t contain anti-caking ingredients or iodine. These tend to make the pickling brine or vinegar cloudy and can discolor the pickles.
In addition, canning salt and pickling salt have a fine texture, which promises quick dissolving. If you cannot find either of these, use sea salt or kosher salt
- When pickling cucumbers, make sure that you don’t use cucumbers that are too big.
This is because bigger cucumbers contain more water, which makes it challenging to achieve a crunchy texture. So, always use firm, small cucumbers for pickling. These are readily available at grocery stores.
- Always be careful about boiling the vegetables because some of them need boiling while some don’t.
For instance, cucumbers and zucchini should not be boiled as they lose their crispy, crunchy texture. On other hand, okra and carrots need to be simmered before pickling to achieve the correct slightly softened texture.
These tips should help you achieve a well-balanced flavor in your pickles that are too sweet. Remember to adjust the sugar quantities on your recipe for next time!