Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600611


1. Dark (gray or brown) Pickles                             
Darkness in pickles may be caused by:                       

Use of ground spices or too much spice.                     

Packing  whole spices in jars with pickles.   Whole  cloves,
allspice,  cinnamon  should  only  be  used  to  flavor  the
pickling liquid.                                            

Iodized salt.                                               

Corrosion of metal lids.                                    

Minerals in the water, especially iron.                     

A  silver fork is recommended for piercing brined  cucumbers
to  desalt  them.   While an iron fork should not  be  used,
stainless steel is acceptable.                              

Darkened  pickles  are not attractive but they are  safe  to

2. Blue Garlic                                              
     Pickle recipes sometimes call for several cloves of raw
garlic.   Raw  garlic contains an active enzyme system  that
may  remain  active  if jars are sealed  without  processing
(processing  is  recommended  for  ALL  shelf  stable canned
goods).  Garlic  also  contains  sulfur  compounds.  In  the
presence of a little  copper,  the  enzymes  may  catalyze a
reaction between the  copper  and  the sulfur to form copper
sulfate,  a  blue compound.   The  amount of copper required
for  this reaction  is  very  low and is frequently found in
normal water sources. It is  unlikely that any health hazard
is involved.                                                

3. Green Garlic                                             
     If garlic is not fully mature or thoroughly dry, it may
turn green.  This discoloration is due to a reaction between
the acid in the vinegar and the pigment in the  garlic.   It
is harmless.                                                

4. Red Brine                                                
     Rust often causes red brine.  Determine if  the  water 
lines had  been  flushed  out shortly  before  the  pickles 
were made.   If  so,  there is  a  possibility  that  water 
containing a little rust was used for the brine.  Store the 
pickles,  undisturbed for  a few months; the red color will 
usually disappear.                                          

5. Pink or Red Dill                                         
     Pink  discoloration in dill is due to a change  in  the
structure of pigment compounds which are normally colorless.
It is harmless.                                             

6. Pink of Gray Cauliflower                                 
     Pink discoloration in cauliflower is due to a change in
the  structure  of  pigment  compounds  which  are  normally
colorless.   In  the presence of a little iron these pigment
compounds may be converted to forms which are  gray.   Avoid
iron  contamination  during all stages of preparing  pickled
cauliflower.  Pink or gray discoloration may be minimized by
blanching  the  florets  for  3  minutes  in  boiling  water
containing  2  to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice  per  gallon.
These discolorations are harmless.                          

7. Dark Pickled Cauliflower, Onions, Pears, etc.            
     Cider   vinegar  may  darken  white  or   light-colored
vegetables and fruits.  White distilled vinegar is desirable
when light color is important.  The darkening is harmless.  

8. Pink or Dark Sauerkraut                                  
     Undesirable color, off-odors  and soft texture indicate
spoilage in sauerkraut.  DO NOT USE THE SAUERKRAUT.         

9. Dirty Pinkish Gray Sauerkraut Made From Red Cabbage      
     Unless  iron contamination is completely  avoided  (and
for  all practical purposes this is impossible in the home),
sauerkraut  made from red cabbage will turn a dirty  pinkish
gray.   The  kraut is unattractive but safe to eat  provided
that  there is no evidence of spoilage  (e.g. soft  texture,
off-odors, off-flavors, mold growth).                       

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