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Royiah
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Can you compost pickeled veggies?

Well the subject pretty much says it all. I've ended up with about 10 jars of pickels of different veggies that got forgetten about while open. (If something is left in frige for more then 3 months open I throw it.) I don't really want them to go to waste so I was wondering if it was ok to compost them? :?:

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rainbowgardener
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Sure, no problem... It will be acidifying when it first goes in, but by the time it is composted, that will all be balanced out.
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Royiah
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Ok! Thanks tons! :D

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ElizabethB
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IDK - I generally avoid putting any cooked or processed products in my compost bin.
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Royiah
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Why? Is there a reason I shouldnt?

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ElizabethB
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No - you can always try and see how it works. My aversion to cooked and processed foods in my compost is just me. Let this forum know how it works.

LOL
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Royiah
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Oh ok I will! And anyways it was stuff I canned myself so I doubt It'll cause much harm if there is any. :)

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rainbowgardener
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I don't know of any reason not to put cooked things in the compost, I do all the time. It just breaks down faster because already softened up.

It seems like some people are sort of afraid of their compost piles. There are all these lists out there of what not to put in your compost: acidic foods like citrus and pickles, dairy, meat, bread, grains, cooked vegetables. Of those the only one I pay attention to is meat and since I'm vegetarian, that is not hard.

The reason given about the acidic foods is it can kill the bacteria in the pile. That would be true if you have 10 gallons of pickles. If you have a jar of them it will be absorbed by everything else and as I said will get balanced out as it breaks down.

All the other stuff, the only reason given is that it can attract critters to your pile. That is true, but it is probably true of ANY kitchen scraps you would put in your pile. I do have trouble with raccoons and other critters. If they can get into my pile they will. So I just keep it in a critter-proof enclosure that has a lid.

In general, we say no more than 10% of the pile should be any one ingredient. As long as you keep to that rule with your pickles, you should be fine. (One ingredient does not mean "kitchen scraps" or "leaves," it means pickles or oak leaves.)
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I've put cooked dried beans into my compost. When I next looked into the Bio-Stack, there were no traces of the beans--a mixture of kidney beans and pink beans, I think--or their cooking liquid.

Granted, they weren't pickled, but they were cooked. My original plan, to make chili, was delayed, then I forgot about the beans...until they became a science experiment in the fridge! DH wanted to throw them out! (silly man; he's lived with me how long?! and wanted to throw them into the garbage?!?!?! :roll: ) I said, No; just put them into the compost--here's a spatula to be sure it all goes into the compost. I don't want it back....

While I continued to look for any other science experiments that might have gotten away from me during a particularly intense patch of work/dog care this fall (lost another doggie, as readers of my sig have noticed :( ).

I've also put cooked rice, every now and then, into the compost. But that was a l-o-n-g time ago, before we had dogs. Now, if there's left-over rice, we have fourfoots to help out! :D

Other cooked items that've made it into the Bio-Stack.... I'm just trying to remember what-all may have gone to feed compost rather than us in the approx. 25+ years that I've had the bin and I've been cooking, gardening, etc.

--the beans (not just the would-be chili beans, but refritos gone bad)
--the rice
--skin from cooked pumpkin (and cooked pumpkin that went bad in the fridge)
--skin from blanched stone fruit, e.g., nectarines and peaches
--stale or molded bread (it was already baked when we brought it home)
--canned tomato paste (salt-free...)
--corn cobs (left-overs from eating cooked corn on the cob)

Quite a variety! With no ill effects to my compost. In fact, I would have wasted a lot of food without the compost pile. ("Waste" in this sense meaning "of no use to anyone.") If DH and I or the dogs or even the cats can't eat the food in its current form, the "compost critters" definitely can; later, that compost will help us grow new berries, veggies, and leafy greens, including herbs.

It's extremely rare that I need to actually throw out foodstuffs--although if something (e.g., flour) has become infested with crawly things, it's transferred immediately into double plastic bags and walked to the outdoor compost. It doesn't sit around waiting for the next "compost run." :shock:

Foodstuffs that hit the garbage can are cooked chicken/turkey/meat bones. Cheeses that get away from us. The fats from meat that either cook out into the pan or can be cut off with a knife are deposited into a glass jar with a lid; when the jar is full or almost full, it goes into the garbage. This helps prevent clogged plumbing! (Yes; household tips are an additional benefit here at THG. :lol: )

I hope my experience helps others relax about putting cooked items into their compost piles, bins, heaps, etc. :)

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I think home "canned" old(?) pickles are perfectly fine to put in the compost pile. One instance I do wonder about is if you suspect butulus contamination? Would that be a cause to NOT add to the compost pile especially when it's a cooler/warm pile and not assured of a hot run?

Good home made pickle juice is not to be wasted and I use it fresh for drinking or salad dressing and older for cooking, etc.

Commercial pickles with their preservatives -- read that compost microbe killers -- and artificial colors are another story. I send those down the drain....

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ElizabethB
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My concern is that you mentioned 10 jars. The vinegar may kill the necessary microbes. IDK. Just my opinion.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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Royiah
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Im draining all the liquid.

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rainbowgardener
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See also this discussion about composting lemons, which I think is very relevant:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=279416#279416
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toxcrusadr
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I was going to suggest draining the liquid, since there is very little nutrition there for the compost anyway, just a lot of salt and vinegar.

I put all kinds of cooked stuff into the compost.

Botulism is a bacteria that lives in the soil naturally, and I can't imagine that the botulinium toxin that's given off when it grows in food will survive the composting process, or hurt the garden or your produce. It doesn't live in acid anyway, which is why we pickle in the first place. PS don't eat the compost, always a good rule of thumb. :P
Tox

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!potatoes!
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i'd be more concerned about the salt from multiple jars of pickles than the pH anyway.

estorms
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I put all the kitchen scraps in the compost except meat and grease. I don't want to attract undesireable varmits. We have bears, bobcats, and cyotes in the neighborhood. I would rather not be on a personal basis with them. My neighbors chickens scratch through it on a regular basis. I can't beleive how much it shrinks! It can be overflowing one day and half full the next.

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