Dill pickles are too soft,,,why?

Discussion in 'Canning' started by bnew17, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. bnew17

    bnew17 Smoke Blower

    Me and the wife have been putting up some pickles and i noticed that some of the pickles are soft. We put up our first 4 quarts the other day. knowing we would be eating some immediately i didnt process but 3 in the water bath,,, i then put the jar we were planning on eating in the fridge. Well i let it sit for a few days and then we opened it up and they were as crunch as can be. We ate up the jar in no time. Well about a week later we opened up the other jars that we had put in the water bath and they were extremely soft, great flavor but unappetizing with the texture. This is what ihave been doing,,, maybe some more experienced canners can chime in if im doing something wrong.

    We use Mrs Wages dill pickle mix, well water, table salt, and a brine for the pickles to sit in over night the day before we p ack them. It consists of table salt, and water. After doing some research i saw where some people advised on using "distilled water" instead of regular tap  water,,,and to use "kosher" salt instead of table salt? Im also re-using lids that i used last year. If that makes a difference.

  2. It could be several things.

    I would definitely use non-iodized  pickling salt instead of table salt.

    Follow the directions exactly and make sure your measurements are accurate.

    Don't over process.

    Cut off the tip of the blossom end of the cucumber (1/16 to 1/8 of an inch), there's an enzyme there that can soften your pickles.


    Heres a recipie we have used with great  


     results . A couple of things might be making your pickles soft .To long of a hot bath or your water.We have well water here and it's the best and for some reason it's the best for making pickles.We have tried to put up picks at other places and "soft " pickles. Ours just snap. another reason might be old cukes, get fresh as you can. Some folks put a dash of a spice called Alm in each jar something like 1/8 tsp. Another trick old timers use is a grape leaf in each jar. And when you say reusing lids do you mean rings? you should only use new lids and follow the directions of heating them in boiling water first to soften them.you will here them "click" when the form a seal.I would say the biggest thing for great pickles is your water that's used .Good luck Bill  


    Maggie’s POLISH DILLS -

    4 QT WATER









    Season for two weeks 
  4. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It is a good A to Z for pickles



    i fund it informative
  5. bnew17

    bnew17 Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the information everyone. Bill i am reusing the rings and lids. However i am not boiling or heating up the lids beforehand like you mentioned. Should i do that? Im processing my quarts for 10 min and pints for a little over 7. I hear them "ping" every so often so i know they are sealing. Putting a grape leaf into the jar is interesting. I will try it. I have a vineyard of muscadines in my backyard ...i will try their leaves.

    Do you heat up the lids , put them on the jars and let them they sit and seal on their own,,,or do you heat up the lids , apply to jars, and then water bath?
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  6. The lids are heated to soften the seal and sterilize. Then the hot bath helps seal everything I think. This pickle recipe  we entered in Minnesota's state fair didn't win but got a showing in the display case.
  7. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I have had great luck with fermenting sour dill pickles and having them stay crunchy. It is a very different technique than what most use but the results, in my opinion, are incredible. Here is a link to the recipe and instructions I use in case you are interested.

  8. I like that recipe SY. The cukes never get heated just like a Claussen. My wife's family makes pickled corn basically the same way. Without all the spices. I bet there is a empty crock in Lenoir somewhere.
  9. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I fermented jalapeno slices pretty much the same way last year and months later they were still crunchy and tasted fresh. I used the same ratio of salt and water but added a few cloves of garlic as well. It took about a month for the garlic to get into the jalapenos but well worth it.
  10. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A product called Pickle Crisp works really well. That's what is in those fancy shmancy Claussen (sp?) pickles. It is nothing more than calcium chloride. I get it at Wally World. The one I use is made by Ball. Good stuff.
  11. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    And,there you go
  12. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    To add to the confusion, Harold McGee states:

    The use of unrefined sea salt improves the crispness thanks to its calcium and magnesium impurities,which help cross-link and reinforce cell-wall pectins.  Especially crisp cucumber and watermelon-rind pickles are made by adding alum (aluminum hydroxide), whose aluminum ions cross-link cell-wall pectins, or by presoaking the raw materials in a solution of "pickling lime" or calcium hydroxide whose calcium ions do the same. (Lime is strongly alkaline and its excess must be washed from the ingredients before pickling to avoid neutralizing the pickles' acidity.)

    Good luck and good smoking.
  13. I have been told and had good crunch by placing a grape leaf if the bottom of each jar.
  14. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    doesn't aluminum contribute to Alzheimer's?
  15. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer Fire Starter

    Add a 1/4 tsp of calcium chloride to each pint of solution, you may want to cut back on the salt a tad since calcium has a salty flavor.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  16. You need Tannin (Keeps the pickles super crisp) Now the easiest form of Tannin (without buying it) is Grape leaves. When I can pickles I go down to my Aunts and she has a Grape Harvard and gives me all the leaves I want. Usually the grapes are almost done anyway by canning season around here. Add a leave to each jar in the bottom before the pickles are in. Can as per your directions and you'll get the most Crisp pickles in the world. I'm here if you need me Chefrc
  17. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just saw this, and I realize it's an old post that was dug up. But for future reference my Mom soaks her pickles over night in pickling lime ice water. she has never had a soft pickle that I am aware of. 
  18. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer Fire Starter

    Calcium chloride is the key to crisp pickles.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2
  19. killngrill

    killngrill Newbie

    Been doin pickles for many years and mine will stay crisp for a year or more . The key is to trim off the blossom end of the pickle as it contains enzymes that contribute to softness and I also put in a grape leave or two to each jar . Do NOT reuse the lids from the old jars , spring for new lids .Good Luck

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