Adding Grape Leaves to Pickle Jars - to make them Crisp?

kathy_in_washington(Zone 8 Sequim,WA)September 7, 2009

While searching Craigslist I found a listing that mentioned adding two grape leaves to each jar when making your pickles ... to make the pickles crisp. That seemed odd, so I googled, and found more information saying the same thing. I even found it at the PickYourOwn.Org website. (If you haven't ever looked there, you might want to check the site out -- lots of information, recipes, and photos.)

Have any of you ever done that? Does it help? I'm curious.

Here is a link that might be useful: PickYourOwn.Org's pickle instructions with reference to Grape Leaves

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes it is commonly related old time trick that generally isn't used today as much better methods are available. It reportedly worked by inhibiting the enzymes in the cukes that make them go soft. But as explained in the FAQ on pickling at NCHFP, removing the blossom end of the cuke (strongly recommended anyway) accomplishes the same thing as the blossom end is the source of those enzymes.

And since the advent of using calcium chloride in pickling (many discussions here about it) that was sold for awhile as Pickle Crisp, using grape leaves fell out of favor. ;)

But you can try it if you wish as it doesn't pose a safety problem.

While I agree that PickYourOwn's website has some good info, it too comes up for discussion here now and again, please note that many of the canning instructions and recipes posted there do not conform to the current safety guidelines so use the canning info/recipes with care. NCHFP is the most reliable source of info.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 9:53PM
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joybugaloo(z4 NY)

I think it adds a little flavor, too...but that may just be in my head. And it makes the jar prettier!

Here is a link that might be useful: Lindsey's Luscious (my cooking blog)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 11:09PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Didn't do a darned thing for me!
I persuaded one of our many local wineries to give me some fresh grape leaves, drove out of my way to pick them up and still had soft pickles. Phtooie!
Chase's Dills, posted here, crisp every time!!!
Here's the recipe, the water vinegar ratio should be adjusted to a 50/50 ratio to meet current guidelines. I make mine as written, but will NOT recommend that as safe! My risk factor alone.

Chase's Dills
You can usually count on between 6-8 dills (cukes) per 1 quart jar, depending on size.
Use 3" to 4" cukes that have just been picked.
Place the cukes in ice cold water (I use my bath tub!!) and add a bag or two of
ice to the water. The cukes should stay in the ice water for a minimum of 2
hours but no more than 8. Refresh the ice as required.
I make the brine in great big batches using this ratio:
2 cups white vinegar
6 cups water
1/3 cup coarse pickling salt
For each jar of dills you will need 2 nice size garlic cloves peeled and cut in
half (4 pieces) and two dill heads. Leave the cukes whole.
I sterilize my jars using the sani cycle of the dishwasher (you could
boil the jars instead) When they are really hot, almost at the end of
the cycle I place them in a oven at 150 degrees to keep them good and
Make the brine and bring the brine to a full and rolling boil.
Place the rings and lids in a large saucepan with water and bring them
almost to the boil. Then turn down but keep them hot.
Place the cukes, garlic and dill in the hot jars. I do garlic, dill,
cukes, garlic, dill. Pour brine over the cukes. Only do 2 jars at a
time, leave the rest in the oven to keep them hot.
Wipe the rim really well, this is critical to sealing, and place lid
and ring on and screw to finger tight. Let sit 6-8 weeks before eating!

And, yes, I know the vinegar/water ratio isn't "approved". My choice to use the recipe ('nuff said??? LOL).


    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 12:46AM
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kathy_in_washington(Zone 8 Sequim,WA)

Thanks for the comments. As I said, I hadn't heard about that before. I've made pickles often -- both dill and B&Bs which I enjoy.

I'm doing a happy dance, though, because yesterday when I was rearranging a drawer in our canning kitchen I found three boxes of Pickle Crisp. Obviously, I haven't made pickles in the past two or three years -- but I'm set for now.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 1:36AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

They claim it does help, but I have not seen any difference and used two concord grape leaves packed in each jar. The Calcium Chloride works much better and will help to retain a crisper pickle. I also prefer to use full strength vinegar and reduce the processing time a little. Heat is usually what makes the cukes very soft in the beginning, but salt and vinegar act on them too.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 1:37AM
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