YOU ARE GOING TO TEST THE SOLIDS, NOT JUST THE LIQUID
It’s pretty clear that if a liquid put inside of a jar of dill pickles made with a tested recipe was pure vinegar, that the pH of that liquid has a pretty good chance of being fine. But what you don’t know is, did enough of that vinegar make it into the centre of the cucumber pieces to make them safe all the way through?
For this reason, we want to test it all, even inside the bits. This is called testing the “equilibrium pH.”
Equilibrium pH is the pH of a food product after the added acid has reached throughout the food; the pH of the acid brine and the food have equilibrated (terrible verb, but that’s what they say.) When you monitor pH as part of process monitoring, it is the equilibrium pH that you are measuring.
The best way to do this is to purée up a slurry of the solids and liquid in the jar.
You can test the pH of one jar after the acid in the liquid has equilibrated with the vegetables or fruit — that is, after the acidity has become consistent throughout the ingredients of the jar. This takes about three weeks. To test the pH of fresh or fermented pickles before they’re stored suggests Kenneth Hall, professor emeritus of food science at the University of Connecticut, puree the contents of one jar in a blender. For both fresh and fermented pickles, the pH should be no higher than 4.0…
We recommend the more accurate pH meters available from merchants who specialize in scientific instruments.
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