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Published: 16 years ago
This is a reply to # 388,007


I'm no grandma, but was fortunate to have one who taught me to make pickles as a child. Yep, she used pickling lime...soaked the cukes in it overnight. But THEN what did she do? She washed them and then soaked them in plain water for hours, and then drained them and soaked them again and drained them and soaked them yet again and then finally drained them for the last time. I remember thinking that pickle-making was no fun because it took so long before you ever got to eating the pickles. I much preferred the cake baking lesson with homemade cocoa frosting!

If you look at more recent pickle recipes (probably written by some of those 'modern day baffoons' to which you referred) you will see either one of two things: an emphasis on carefully rinsing and soaking the limed pickles or using alternative safer ingredients to produce crisper pickles.

"You may remember Grandma soaking cucumbers in lime or alum before pickling. This is no longer recommended and, indeed, it isn’t necessary if you use freshly picked cucumbers, follow an up-to-date tested recipe, and heat process pickles for the correct length of time. Your pickles will turn out crisp and you won’t need to add firming agents. For a quick and easy way to help ensure crisp pickles: soak cucumbers in ice water for 4 to 5 hours before pickling. This is a safer method for making crisp pickles. Using lime, or calcium hydroxide, in solution for soaking cucumbers changes the amount of acid in the cucumber tissue. If too much lime is used, or if the cucumbers aren’t rinsed properly, then the acid in the recipe might not be sufficient to counteract the effect of the lime and an unsafe product may result."

*BTW...I am not engaging you in debate. I am simply sharing my personal experience and siting reference information just as you did. Anyone is free to use pickling lime/calcium hydroxide as they choose...but it should be a fully-informed choice.

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