Botch in the Batch

I did a large batch of fermented pickles this year – large for me. In the twenty jars, I had only one botch. Thankfully it was the smallest jar. You can tell by the gunk at the top, when I open it, it will smell throw-uppy.

Since I’ve been taking some canning classes, I have become more concerned about food safety. My pickle recipe, which is my grandma’s, passed on to me by an aunt – is definitely not a food safe method. I have been doing them this way for years, so has my aunt and my grandma long before her. We’ve all had failures of course, but no one has ever died. So far.

Now that I’ve been schooled in food safe methods, I am a little more concerned about killing people. So here’s the pickle I’m in: how to dispose of the jar and pukey contents? As some of you already know, I am an avid composter and recycler. Actually rabid might be a better descriptor. But, I do not want my fastidious waste managing of this jar to result in an outbreak of botulism.

Do I throw out the jar full of the pickles then and have it be preserved in the landfill forever and a day? Do I dump the pickles into a plastic bag and put them in the garbage (again to be preserved in the landfill), then recycle the jar? Could I compost the cukes? If I pour the liquid down the drain first, could the entire water supply be contaminated? And the jar, how do I make sure it’s free of botulinal toxin before recycling? Ignorance was bliss.

What would you do?


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