Grandma’s Secret Dill Pickle Recipe: The 7 Secrets To Keeping Them Crunchy

Take a look at our list of the top pickle-making secrets and tricks and use them to make your pickles crispy and crunchy.

Pick small and firm cucumbers

This is the most critical component! If you start with a big ol’ soft cucumber, you’ll wind up with a big ol’ soft pickle. Always, always choose the smallest, firmest cucumbers for your pickle jar and discard the large, squishy ones.
Nothing will make your pickles crispy if you use gigantic, overgrown cucumbers. This is a natural law of sorts. While they are in the water bath canner, no matter how creative you are or how many prayers you say, they will all turn out the same.

Jar them as soon as you can after collecting

On pickle-picking day, I always try to make room in my schedule to can a batch right away, so that I don’t miss out on the best flavor.

However, I’ve had good luck with farmer’s market cucumbers, as long as I buy them firm and don’t leave them on the counter for days and days on end like some people do.

Another important tip: Pick your pickling cucumbers before 9 a.m. if you can. Early-morning harvests of vegetables have a higher sugar and crunch content than those harvested later in the day, when they have had more time to wilt in the intense sun.

Put cucumbers in an ice bath for at least two hours

After selecting the cucumbers or when I return home from the farmer’s market, putting them in a bowl of ice cold water can assist keep them firm and firmer for longer periods of time. Before canning, soak them for at least 30 minutes.

Put some tannins in the jar

Oak leaves, grape leaves, or black tea are examples of such ingredients.

To be honest, I’ve only had mixed results with this technique despite it being highly suggested. But, tossing in a few oak or grape leaves won’t harm, so keep some on hand. Alternatively, each jar can be infused with 1/2 tsp. loose black tea. However, it won’t miraculously transform cucumbers that are already mushy into crisp ones.

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