How to Keep Pickles Crisp
If good quality ingredients are used in pickling and up-to-date methods are followed, lime and
alum are not needed for crisp pickles. Use the following tips:
- Soak cucumbers in ice water for 4 - 5 hours prior to pickling.
- Alum may be safely used to firm fermented pickles. Alum does not improve the firmness of quick -
- The calcium in lime may improve pickle firmness. If you choose to use lime, purchase food-grade
pickling lime, DO NOT USE AGRICULTURAL OR BURNT LIME. Food-grade lime may be used as lime-water solution for
soaking fresh cucumbers 12 to 24 hours before pickling them. Excess lime absorbed by the cucumbers must be removed
to make safe pickles. To remove excess lime, drain the lime-water solution, rinse, and then resoak the cucumbers
in fresh water for 1 hour. Repeat the rinsing and soaking steps two more times.
Source: USDA Complete Guide to
Susan Mills-Gray, Mills-GrayS@missouri.edu
Regional Specialist, Nutrition and Health Education
Cass County, Missouri
University of Missouri Extension