Do any of you who make pickles use pickling lime to keep cuke and watermelon rind pickles crisp? If so, where does one buy it? ;o)

I tried using alum, at the suggestion of a well-known preserving-food blogger/print writer, for the purpose of keeping my cucumber pickles nice and crisp. Blech! They tasted store bought. I've seen references to pickling lime, but cannot find it in the grocery stores here. Any suggestions? Thanks so much. ;o)



luvcookbooks November 6, 2012
Antonia James, I am searching for the ideal watermelon rind pickle. Can you comment about how this project came out? I agree about the alkaline pH and the pickling iime,although watermelon pickles have lots of sugar and some vinegar as well, so don't imagine they are high risk for botulism. Grape leaves are supposed to crisp pickles as well, also can use alum.
AntoniaJames June 15, 2012
Thanks, everyone. I suspect the fear of botulism arises from the increased pH, but the instructions I'm using (in "The Joy of Pickling," by Linda Ziedrich, which is excellent by the way) say you must rinse and soak several times after soaking in the lime. I see that the National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends the same procedure, and does not caution against it. Now, if I can just find a watermelon with a nice thick rind . . . (wish me luck!) ;o)
ChefOno June 14, 2012

You may wish to read about Firming Agents here:

One place you can find pickling lime in Mexican markets under the name "Cal" (short for calcium hydroxide).

An easier tack may be to use calcium chloride instead. It is sold under the name "Pickle Crisp" by Ball (the jar and lid makers).

HalfPint June 14, 2012
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HalfPint June 14, 2012

Meant to add this:

Did a little reading on pickling lime. It's no longer recommended for use. Something about it promoting botulism growth (?). Anyhoo, it's not longer recommended for pickling. I did find a recipe that uses an ice waterbath and, oddly, oak leaves.

She seemed to get good results and it's worth a try.
HalfPint June 14, 2012
Check hardware stores which often carry canning equipment and supplies.
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