Greek/Middle-Eastern Cuisine/Proper Marination


Hi Dina,

I'd like to marinate cucumbers, onions, plus jalapeno, green, banana, & red peppers in some vinegar and spices contained in a jar.

Do I need to boil the jar and lid first? I plan on just using a couple of empty jars that contained store-bought pickles. Or, would I need to use those canning jars, (Mason), with the special rubber seal or will the vinegar be enough to keep bacteria from growing in the vinegar solution in the refrigerator in those empty pickle jars?

How long might this product keep in the refrigerator and could one even leave this in a non-refrigerated cabinet since the vinegar might prevent bacterial growth? Just not sure.

Also, would it be a wise idea to add any oil in the vinegar? I'm afraid the oil might dilute the vinegar's bacteria killing effect if I plan on leaving it in the fridge for awhile.

Thank you very much.


Mike E.

Dear Mike,

I do not really know the answer to your question.  However, I can share some experience with you.

I pickle fresh anchovies every winter in a plastic jar (non sterilized).  I use ample salt and a ratio of 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water along with lemon and various spices.  Have never had a problem, though they never last more than a month!

I have done the same with beetroot using a similar ratio, ample garlic but no salt.  They last for several months in this manner.  Refrigeration is a must with both.

I do agree with you about avoiding the oil. I'm not big on sterilization but it certainly cannot hurt to do so in your initial experiments.

Good luck!
Dina Street

Greek/Middle-Eastern Cuisine

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Dina Street


I can answer questions relating to the history of the Turkish cuisine, specific recipes for home cooking and traditional methods of preparation and serving.


I am half Turkish and have spent the last 17 years in Turkey, having operated two businesses in the food catering industry.

Regular restaurant reviewer and food writer for the Bodrum Observer newspaper

B.A. Near Eastern Studies (UC Berkeley) specializing in Turkish language and literature

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