Do You Have to Water Bath Pickles

Do You Have to Water Bath Pickles? [6 Step to Do it]

Well, taking a bath isn’t important for us humans only. Ermm… it’s important for pickles too. Scratching your head?

You see, the water bath lets you store your pickle’s fresh flavors for a long period. But the process of this can be quite confusing. 

So, do you have to water bath pickles?

YES! Water bathing your pickles is considered safe and it also prevents spoilage. You’ll need some easily accessible and inexpensive equipment to do so. Fill the jars with the ingredients then place the lids and tighten the bands. Next, fill a pot with water and put the jars in then boil it. 

You might need to know more in detail. Worry not! This complete guide will take you through the whole process step-by-step!

So, what’s the wait for? Hop right on!

Why is a Water Bath Needed for Your Pickles?

A water bath is a great way to prevent food spoilage and increase shelf life. Because canning pickles without boiling water bath can be a bad idea. 

Only highly acidic food should be canned in a water bath. Tomatoes, cherries, fruit, sauerkraut, and pickled veggies are all on the menu.

Well, water-bath preserving is used to make jams, jellies, and pickled vegetables. Like canned pineapples can be bathed in water. 

If you’re wondering how long to water bath pickles, then don’t worry! Because it doesn’t take that long.

Their inherent acidity, along with times in a water bath, helps preserve them securely. It does it without using high pressure.

However, some steps must still be taken. Also, low temperature pasteurization pickles can be viable for some recipes.

On the other hand, meats, fish, chicken, beans, grain, and other low-acid veggies can’t be water bathed. Because a higher temperature will be needed to increase the inside temperature of the jar.

It won’t be high enough to kill the bacteria inside. So pressure canning is the way to go for low-acid foods.

In this case, you can vacuum-seal this low acidic food. Then store them in the fridge. But you’d need a vacuum sealer here. 

I can mention the vacuum sealer machine I use currently. And the other one I’ve been eying for so long. Hopefully, I’ll buy it next week. So, let’s take a look at the names-

Also, can you can without a water bath? Of course! But a water bath brings a lot of benefits to the table.

You can watch the following video to learn how to preserve pickle without a water bath

So how do we water bath the pickles? Let’s find out in the next part-

Water Bathing the Pickles

If you’re asking yourself how to can pickles, then sit down and relax. The whole process of canning pickles isn’t that complicated.

Water bathing your pickles is also easy and can be done in a few simple steps. You just need to strictly follow the instructions to get the best possible result from the process.

This also requires a bunch of equipment to complete the process properly. Let’s gather them first-

Required Equipment for Water Bath

A lot of small equipment is needed to complete this process. But don’t worry, they are easily accessible and also inexpensive.

The required equipment is listed below only for you-

Have all these in your hand? Now let’s move on to the step-by-step segment of water bathing your pickles.

Step-by-Step Process of Water Bath

Wash all the equipment you have gathered with a dishwasher or hot soapy water. You may be thinking what happens if you don’t sterilize canning jars.

It can contribute heavily to spoiling your pickle after canning them. So, water bath canning can be a very good way to do that. Now let’s check out the steps.

Step 1: Boil the Jars

Firstly, you need to boil jars for pickling. Place the jars in a large pot. So that the jars can be submerged in water. Boil it for 10 minutes after filling it with water. 

This is because your jars need to be hot before filling them with hot stuff. 

Thinking if you can use your oven for this process? So, how to sterilize jars for pickling in oven? 

Put the jars for 10 minutes in 180°F heat in the oven and you have it.

Step 2: Fill in the Jars with Pickles 

Take out the jars carefully and dry them out. Fill them with your prepared pickle. Make sure you fill in while the jar is still heated. 

Use a funnel and a ladle to easily fill the food inside the jar. Keep ¼ inch of free space at the top of the jar.

Gently swirl the inside of the jar using a jar spatula to release trapped air bubbles. Use a wet cloth to wipe and clean the rims of the jar. Look for any food residue left on the inside of the rim. 

Carefully place the lids on the jars and tighten the band. Tighten the jar until the band is completely tight. 

Step 3: Put the Jars on the Canner

Take the sealed jars and put them on the rack of the canner using a jar lifter. Don’t let the jars touch each other. Cover the jars with 1-2 inches of hot water.

Turn the heat on. Get the water inside the canner to boil. Even though every recipe will require a different amount of time, usually 10 minutes is ideal.

Step 4: Remove the Canner Lid

Turn off the heat then remove the canner lid. Let the steam go away and let the jars rest for 5-10 minutes.

Place the jars on a cooling rack or a towel. However, you can get any of the cooling racks from the list below. Because it’s the safest option to cool down food or other stuff.

Afterward, a “ping” sound should be heard that will indicate the sealing process has been completed.

Step 5: Cool Down the Jars

Let the jars cool down for at least 12-24 hours. Don’t try to re-tighten the bands as it may hinder the process of sealing.

Step 6: Check the Jars Seals and Store it in the Refrigerator 

Check the seals carefully after the jars are cooled down. Remove the bands and softly press on the lids of the jar. 

If the lids pop off then the sealing process was a failure. If it doesn’t then it has been sealed properly.

Store the jars in your refrigerator. You can store it for up to even a year.


What is the shelf life of pickles without a water bath?

You can always skip the water bathing process but it will drastically reduce the shelf time. You can only refrigerate it for three months. Whereas a water bath will let you store it for a year. 

Can I seal my jar with the lid without a water bath?

Yes, you can seal a jar with a lid without a water bath. But make sure the lids and jars are clean. It will ensure preservation safety for your food. You can store them away for an extended period. 

Can I overcook the pickle by boiling it for too long?

No, you can’t overcook the pickle by boiling it for too long. Even if you boil it for too long the temperature will not rise enough to overcook. In fact, the boiling temperature will kill bacteria.


We come to an end with our guide. Hopefully, you got the answer to the question: do you have to water bath pickles? 

Since a lot of boiling is done throughout the process, be careful about your safety.

Hope to see you in the next guide. Good luck and goodbye!

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