We made about 13 gallons of homemade dill pickles last summer. These are made with vinegar, not the fermented type. Water bathed for 15 minutes in quart jars.

We kept the whole cucumbers on ice over night to chill them down. The next day we made spears and processed those. With the after bits, we cut them up into chips and processed the same way. The spears came out great but the chips were mushy and we wont eat them.

How can I fix this next time? Should I use less time in the water bath or should I have placed the left over bits in the fridge until I get to them or both? Maybe another trick I'm not thinking of?

  • Are you trying to fix the current batch or prevent it from occurring again? – Catija Feb 10 '16 at 20:16
  • Prevent it from happening again. We obviously did something wrong just not sure what to do next time. Will edit to make more clear. – NKY Homesteading Feb 10 '16 at 20:18
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    Great! We get a lot of people hoping we can "fix" something after it's already messed up. The clarification is helpful. :) – Catija Feb 10 '16 at 20:19
  • I've seen Calcium Chloride used to make pickles crisper by adding the calcium to firm up pectin. I don't know when it might be necessary. I'm interested to hear what experiences people have had. – Sobachatina Feb 10 '16 at 20:26
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    Leaves of the cherry tree, one of which I happen to have, are recommended in the settlement cookbook (1920's ed). They worked for me when I tossed them into my pickle jars. – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 11 '16 at 0:10

Keeping vegetables directly on ice tends to create damage on a cellular level, leading to softness once the vegetables are processed. Next time, instead of using ice, consider a cold brine bath, with or without added vinegar, for your cucumbers and/or slices. If you have room in the fridge, you can store them there overnight. If not, put them in a non-aluminum pot, wrap it twice with bubble wrap to prevent direct contact with ice, and store the pot in a bucket or a larger pot filled with ice.

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