Canning pickles without salt #397819

Asked May 04, 2017, 3:35 PM EDT

My husband must be on a low sodium diet, therefore I am trying to find out if it is safe to use a regular water bath pickle canning recipe, but without any sodium added to it. I know it works for refrigerator pickles, but can it be done by just using a regular recipe, perhaps adding some citric acid for the salty taste and then processed in my steam canner (I'm old and can't lift the water bath) and will it be safe? Thank you very much. Gwen Butler, Eugene

Lane County Oregon

Expert Response

It is safe to make and can pickles without salt as long as there is at least a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water in the recipe. The flavor and crispness of the pickles might not be top quality but they would be safe. Do not make fermented pickles without the right amount of salt.

If you go the the FCH Food Preservation website: we have two publications you might be interested in.

Under vegetables:  SP 50-553 Low Salt pickles you will find some tested recipes

Also SP50-1004 Guidelines for using Atmospheric Canners is a newly released publication with up to date research on using steam canners.

Thanks for using Ask an Expert

Nellie Oehler

Nellie Oehler Replied May 05, 2017, 2:40 PM EDT
Thank you so much, Nellie! I replied to your email before I saw the note to not reply there. You and I went to Camp Myrtlewood together, many years ago. Glad to know that you are still involved with the Extension Service. Thanks again, Gwen Panter Butler
The Question Asker Replied May 05, 2017, 4:57 PM EDT
What a small world Gwen.   Camp Myrtlewood is still going strong.  Went by there last year on my way to Coos County Fair to judge.  Brought back many fond memories. 

Yes still working with the Master Food Preserver Program in Lane County, even though I am suppose to be retired.  We have a wonderful group of volunteers so love my job. 

Hope you enjoy the pickles. 

Nellie Oehler
Nellie Oehler Replied May 07, 2017, 9:33 AM EDT

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