I have been putting up Kirby cucumbers following Grandma's recipe for over 30 years using just 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, garlic, spices, dill, alum and water (NO VINEGAR). I'm using dishwasher-cleaned wide-mouth Ball Quart jars stuffed with the ingredients above.

After boiling new lids and rings, my husband sealed them as tight as he could and we immediately put them in a crawl space for 6 weeks to 10 months before opening each jar.

This worked like a charm in the midwest. Since moving into an apartment in CA we have struggled to find a basement or crawl space to store opened jars, so I put all 26 quarts in my second refrigerator.

It's been a couple of weeks now, and I'm worried about fermentation and storage for the rest of the "pickling time." Will my cucumbers still "pickle" in the refrigerator (turned up to 46 degrees?)
Can I remove them to store in an above-ground dark closet or above-ground crawl-space at friends after having been in refrigerator for these weeks or longer?
Note that we're having a heat wave right now.

  • 4
    What was the temperature of your crawlspace? Fermentation will happen, albeit more slowly, in the refrigerator. Why not allow the process to begin at room temp, then move your jars to the refrigerator for longer term storage?
    – moscafj
    Aug 2, 2018 at 22:32
  • 3
    I have edited your wall of text. Please make your questions readable, that is in your interest.
    – user34961
    Aug 3, 2018 at 6:30
  • "we have struggled to find a basement or crawl space to store opened jars": opened should always be kept in the fridge. Is this a typo and are you talking about unopened jars? If yes: do you have a garden?
    – Fabby
    Aug 4, 2018 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


Pickles will ferment at around 65 - 72F The temperature can go lower overnight but needs to rise during the day. Get a thermometer to test places like cupboards, kitchen for the temperature range you need. This worked for me. I keep a strip thermometer with my stash.


Like the other response said, keep your jars out in a warm spot in your home. I am in California too. Ferments do really well at 72 degrees and over. The colder your temperature, your ferment will take longer. Like CA winters can be cold, relatively, and my pickles and green tomatoes take a over month and a half for full sour. In the summers, I can turn out full sours in three weeks. Placing ferments in a refrigerator will slow fermentation down tremendously. Ferment at room temp, on counter, not in direct light, preferably covered so the light does not get through. Lastly, I cant see how you stored these jars for so long without tending to them by releasing the gases created from the ferment. I know for me, within the 3 day to 7 Day time you have a lot of gases being produced and they may need to be burped. Once you have tasted a pickle from your jar and determined it is ready to eat, place as many as you can in the refrigerator to slow ferment. Embrace the warmth its what your yeast enjoys !

  • I know for sourdoughs at least keeping your starter in the fridge will result in a more sour bread because the lactobacilius does better at cold temperatures-- any parallels with ferments? Will the room temperature pickles be less sour?
    – Dugan
    Nov 22, 2019 at 19:20

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