How do you keep your homemade pickles crispy?

I am canning pickles (using pickling cucumbers) but last year they got soggy and weren't crisp at all. Any tricks of the trade?

  • Posted by: Beth
  • July 21, 2015


Daryl S. November 12, 2019
I have soft pickles after canning a few months ago, can i add alum to them after opening to get crunch back?
AntoniaJames November 12, 2019
I wouldn't do that, as alum has a noticeable flavor, plus I have no reason to believe that it would work.

I have heard however that it might work to drain off the brine and soak the pickles in a solution of water + dissolved sugar. According to food chemistry wonks, the sugar draws some of the liquid out, which makes the pickles less soft, if not actually crunchy.

I've never tried it though, so this is strictly hearsay. ;o)
Beth July 22, 2015
Thank you everyone! I really appreciate it.
AntoniaJames July 22, 2015
Brine the cucumbers for at least 12 hours before pickling.
Cut off the blossom end.
Process in a hot water bath, not boiling water. Generally, at normal altitudes, process for 30 minutes once the temperature reaches 185 degrees. It needs to remain at 180 - 185 degrees during the 30 minute processing time.
Hope this helps. ;o)
AntoniaJames July 22, 2015
Brine ratio is 3/4 cup kosher salt to 2 gallons cold water. ;o)
Midge July 22, 2015
I recently subbed black tea for alum in sweet pickles (, which discolored the pickles a bit but worked fine. I'm also fermenting sour pickles at the moment and added a few fig leaves to the crock. Will let you know how it turns out.
SusanKP July 21, 2015
Add some black tea leaves to the brine. I used about 5 tea bags to 3 liters of pickles. If you have them try some grape leaves or horseradish leaves.
hardlikearmour July 21, 2015
My parents would always add a grape leaf to the jar.
Nan July 22, 2015
Do you have a recipe for pickles with the grape leaf
kimhw July 21, 2015
Pickle them the same day you pick them.

Voted the Best Reply!

Matthew B. July 21, 2015
This is not a complete fix, but if you add about 1/8g of Alum per quart--which you can find in most baking or spice sections of your local grocery--it helps to maintain the nice snap for longer.
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