pickles and hard water?

Discussion in 'Preserving the Harvest' started by ne prairiemama, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. ne prairiemama

    ne prairiemama Planting the garden Supporter

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    My mil said that hard water can cause pickles to be mushy instead of crispy. Is there any way around that? distilled water? I've never canned or pickled a thing but I want to learn this year and we LOVE pickles! :)
     
  2. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Member

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    http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can6b_pickle.html
    That is a good link for safe, current recipes and methods.
    If you want to have water for pickles, boil it, then let it sit overnight.
    Hard water might also cause cloudiness. If soft water is not available, boil the hard water and let it sit undisturbed overnight. Pour off the top portion and use it in the pickling solution.

    If you want them crisp, then you may consider using Pickle Crisp. It is the same thing the commercial industry uses. Then, be sure to cut off the blossom end as it will cause soft pickles. Alum will not work unless you ferment foods. It will make regular quick pack pickles soft as they sit. It is an old wives tale that it works. Plus, alum can cause stomach upsets.
    I will let you read the rest in the info I sent the link to.
     

  3. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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  4. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Member

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    Some people are more sensitive to the alum as others.
    This is what is said about alum from a well known food safety scientist:
    How much alum should I add to my pickling solution to be sure my pickles will be crisp?


    Alum may safely be used to firm fermented pickles, however it is unnecessary and is not included in University Extension publications. Alum does not improve the firmness of quick-process (fresh-packed) pickles. If you decide to use alum, use it sparingly. Use no more than one-fourth teaspoon of alum per quart of pickling solution. Too much alum will give a bitter flavor and may cause stomach upset.

    Barbara Willenberg, Nutritional Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
     
  5. jkhs

    jkhs Well-Known Member

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    Where I live I have very hard water. The first year I made pickles I didn't realize what hard water could do and ended up with pickles that weren't crisp and were so cloudy that my family refused to eat them-they thought they'd die, LOL. Anyways, after that I started using distilled water. I just buy a jug or two at the store when I'm picking up my other supplies.
     
  6. mekasmom

    mekasmom Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I buy alum at the amish grocery, and simply soak the cucumber slices in it overnight, then rinse and pickle. I've never used distilled water, but just the regular well water here which is hard. The pickles still end up crisp.
     
  7. majik

    majik Well-Known Member

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    I ahve hard water and make nice pickles. I don't use alum, but I do put grape leaves in the jars. Not sure if they help keep the water from being cloudy, but mine look fine. And they taste yummy!
     
  8. ne prairiemama

    ne prairiemama Planting the garden Supporter

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    Thanks everyone! I'll take a look at the link too :)
     
  9. Ms.Lilly

    Ms.Lilly Well-Known Member

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    I have hard water and yes it does make your pickles mushy. Learned that one from experience. I went and bought a water filter to put on my faucet and it really helped. Not perrfect, but helped.