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Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
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I recently canned pickles 2 mos ago and just opened the first

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I recently canned pickles 2 mos ago and just opened the first jar. Flavor is great but the center flesh is soft. Same for both quartered spears and slices. What could be the reasons?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.

Some additional information will help me to answer your question.

Did the recipes call for pickling lime?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No they did not. Sorry so long to reply.
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
That's quite all right. Thank you for getting back to me. I'm working on your answer, and will post it as soon as it is typed up. I appreciate your patience.

Please don't reply to this post as that can lock me out so I won't be able to post your answer.

I'll be back in a few minutes.

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for waiting. Home canned pickles almost always get soft without the use of a chemical to keep them crisp. For years, pickling lime (calcium hydroxide) was the most popular method. The cucumbers had to be soaked overnight in a solution of pickling lime, and then rinsed thoroughly. Pickling lime fell out of favor because it is caustic. If not handled carefully, it can damage surfaces such as stainless steel, and burn the skin. If handled according to directions, it does not result in any danger to the final food product. Mrs. Wages still sells it. You can buy it here:

If you use it, you must follow the recipe on the package. However, there is a newer product out that also produces crisp pickles and doesn't require the soaking or all the precautions. It is called Pickle Crisp (calcium chloride). Many people report good results with it, but you do sometimes need to experiment with amounts to get the desired crispness. It is actually what is now used in commercial pickles. Here is where you can get it:

While some home canners report crisp pickles without using one of these agents, most find the pickles will get soft if they don't use one. If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY.

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