Turmeric Keeps Plastic-Packaged Dill Pickles Fresh

Pickled dills in plastic? Turmeric is the key to freshness.

Who knew that a spice used from ancient times as a coloring agent in foods could also keep plastic-packaged dill pickles fresh?

Unlike glass containers, plastic jars or pouches “breathe,” allowing oxygen and other gases to seep inside over time. This can eventually lead to oxidative off-flavors in pickled cucumbers.

Pickle packers would like to use more plastic packaging because it’s lighter and less breakable than glass jars—and can be easier to open.

Now research has shown that simply adding just the amount of turmeric currently used as a yellow coloring in some commercial pickles can prevent buildup of flavor-altering aldehydes and result in good quality fresh-pack dills.

Reference: Science Update, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, ARS.

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