Are you pickle challenged? I was.
I will fully admit to being pickle challenged. In fact, I did not make dill pickles for many years. This came as a result of a frustrating experience.
I made dill pickles using the pickle recipe from the Ball Blue Book. They were tasty, but soft and soggy. My family resisted eating them, and the jars were a year and a half old. They were not spoiled, and I could have saved them longer, but I realized they were never going to be eaten. So I threw them out.
I vowed to NEVER make pickles again. All that work down the drain, or actually out to the chickens. The chickens loved them!
Here are some tips I discovered to keep dill pickles crisp.
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Crunchy Dill Pickles with Pickle Crisp
I next tried a product called Pickle Crisp, and I did get some fairly nice pickles. It is a granule that you add to each jar.
Put out by Ball, you can usually find it where you buy canning supplies.
Pickle Crisp can be found at Amazon here.
But I don’t want to always count on this product being available. (That self-reliant part of me goes deep!)
I found my solution! I learned how to can pickles using the low-temperature process that I saw on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, and it works for me.
The trick with this pickle recipe method is that it uses a lower temperature process. The caution is that you must carefully monitor the temperature.
If you want to do this, use a thermometer and time things carefully. In addition, use this processing method ONLY with a tested recipe that specifically says low-temperature pasteurization treatment.
Here is the pickle recipe and directions I used.
Guess what? It worked. I am now happily filling my jars and ending up with nice, crunchy dill pickles. I’m happy. My family is happy! Give it a try!
Here is a brief explanation of the process.
Remember to use a thermometer and monitor your time carefully. And remember, only use this with a pickle recipe that specifically states that it is compatible with this method.
Have your canner ready and half full of warm water, about 120 to 140 degrees F. Also have a kettle or other pot of hot water ready.
Place your filled jars in the half-full canner. Now add hot water to 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Turn on your heat and warm water to 180 to 185 degrees. Use your thermometer and be sure this is maintained for 30 minutes. This is longer than the time indicated in the regular water bath processing instructions.
When 30 minutes is done, turn off your heat and remove your jars to a counter to cool. Check the seals after the jars are completely cooled. I usually leave mine until the next day and check, label, and store them.
Quick Dill Pickles Tip: Mind the Water!
When I shared this article on my Facebook page, several people made comments about different types of water influencing the texture of dill pickles.
“I have never cut off blossom ends & they are fine. I haven’t proven it, but sometimes I think the treated water from a tap is sometimes the culprit. I had better success when I used private well water. Just a thought!” -Cathy S.
“yes the water does make a difference. When my mom would make her pickles, she would have me bring her water from my well. She said it made a difference.” -Sandy L.
“Good water is so important for sure. I don’t know if the chlorine and fluoride are a problem in pickling but it makes sense. I have had trouble when making jelly and using reverse osmosis water. I made syrup instead of jelly. I switched to using just filtered water from a water vending machine instead of the reverse osmosis machine and haven’t made syrup again.” -Si B.
“Cathy, if you are in an area with a lot of limestone, well water contains a lot of minerals including calcium – You soak cucumbers in lime water to make them stay firm. Lime is limestone, that is heated, then slacked with water.. so I can see how well water would work better.” -Robert W.
Tired of soggy pickles? This easy dill pickle recipe produces crunchy pickles…finally! Learn the trick at SimplyCanning.com
Dilly beans (AKA pickled beans) give you some variety in the pantry. Learn how to make and preserve dilly beans with this recipe.
The acidic environment in pickling prevents bacterial growth and thus makes the food safe to process in a water bath canner. Find pickling recipes for lots of different veggies here!
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Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation
Page last updated: 5/1/2021