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using pickle crisp instead of Alum

Posted by vschlaff (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 14, 10 at 9:12

I want to make Craven county sweet pickles and the recipe calls for an Alum soak. Here is the recipe.
day 1: slice cucumbers in a large container and cover with boiling water.
day 2: Drain off water and cover with fresh boiling water and pickling salt mixture. 1 1/2 cups of pickling salt to 1 gallon of boiling water.
day 3: Drain off water and cover with boiling water and alum mixture. 2 1/2 tablespoons of Alum to 1 gallon of boiling water.
day 4: drain off alum water, discard. boil together enouph cider vinegar and pickling spices to cover cucumber slices. 1 gallon cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons of pickling spices wrapped in cheese cloth.
After boiling together the cider vinegar and pickling spices, I dispose of the spice sack. I do not put the spices into my pickles. I an sure it would be okay if you did but I do not like having the spices in my pickles. ( per recipe)
poor cider vinegar over cucumbers.
Day 5, 6, 7 : Let stand either covered or uncovered.
day 8: Take cucumbers out of cider vinegar, discard cider vinegar. when ready to put into jars, mix 5 cups of cucumbers and two cups of sugar in a bowl. ( you want to thououghly cover the cucumbers as you would if you were flouring a piece of chicken to deep fry). Pack into jars.
when I pack the jars, I put maybe a jozen slices of pickles then a 1/4 cup of sugar spinkled around on the slices... then another dozen or so slices and another 1/4 cup of sugar until you have filled up the jar. you will end up with about 1 cup of sugar per quart jar.
As the sugar dissolves it "pulls out " the vinegar from the pickles and makes a sweet light syrup. When the sugar has dissloved if you do not have syrup high enough in the jar to cover all of the pickles just add more sugar. I like to let my pickles age for a week and then refrigerate... they are fantastic cold.
NOTE: The sugar sometimes does just sit on the bottom. I turn my jars upside down from time to time so the sugar will travel from the bottom to the top. As you do this the sugar will disolve and draw out more vinegar.
makes 35 pounds of cucumbers and yielded approx 18 quarts.

website is Craven county sweet pickles

I want to make this recipe, but I'm not sure how to add the pickle crisp granuales. Can I use it as a presoak like the alum and if so how much do I use? I could break down a gallon by quarts.
Thanks for any advice!!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: using pickle crisp instead of Alum

IF you really want to make this recipe, and that is a big IF, then I would suggest you follow it and use the alum. The use of alum is the least of its potential problems.

Personally I'd consider it an unacceptable recipe for several reasons, not the least of which is no processing, and wouldn't use it. Suggest you compare it to Linda Lou's Sweet Pickle Chunks recipe here and use it instead.

JMO but here is a link to the instructions if anyone wants to read them.


Here is a link that might be useful: How to make sweet pickles

RE: using pickle crisp instead of Alum

I agree with Dave, about his concerns. I make a 9 day Sweet Pickle similar to Linda's and have omitted the alum from the old recipe without crispness loss but,
from the ingredients you list, there are many safe recipes that will in my opinion get you the same results w/o using alum.

RE: using pickle crisp instead of Alum

thanks for the info. I was also wondering about the safety of this recipe. I have tried linda lou's and they are great. I haven't made many recipes, so I'm trying new ones.
I will skip this one.

RE: using pickle crisp instead of Alum

I use alum in my sweet pickles; I do make sure to rinse as carefully as I would lime. Extension services generally say it's no longer necessary, but used with the appropriate care and in the appropriate proportions there are no problems.

Assuming you were refrigerating your pickles throughout the process I would think the recipe would be OK. That vinegar soak is going to acidify the cucumber slices. The problem I see is with that sugar method, it doesn't appear there's a good way to introduce pickle crisp into the jars.

Maybe someone else has an idea on that.


RE: using pickle crisp instead of Alum

Yeah Carol I used Alum up to 2 seasons ago and found out it makes no differance in the end product for my sweet pickles. Plus I hated the smell. I don't use pickle crisp either and as long as the cukes are fresh, not seedy I have no problems with crispness.

The problem I do have is canning enough of them, everyone I know wants them and the last jar I opened that was almost a year old was superb, I think even more tasty than those at T-Day or Xmas. Served with a turkey I smoked and Indian plum dipping sauce I made from some plum jam.

RE: using pickle crisp instead of Alum

The problem is that i dont think these are refridgerator pickles. It uses all vinegar and sugar, so im not sure if they meet the 50- 50 ratio. The end product would be vinegar and sugar. Im also not sure if they are safe to store in the fridge. As for the pickle crisp, maybe a pickle crisp soak instead of the alum soak. But, there are plenty of safe recipes to try from this website!!!

RE: using pickle crisp instead of Alum

I make this recipe with great success and subsituted crisp per bottle instructions in place of the alum....what you can do to hot pack this is cover all your pickles in sugar in a large container after the vinegar soak and pour off....let the sugar go to a syrup and pack your cucumbers in your jars, heat the syrup up to a boil, pour over the cucumbers, add sugar if needed for your volume you need to cover, then seal and hot will not lose any crispness and they are sealed correctly......done....
i make this recipe and also one where you use lime in the recipe instead of alum and let the sugar go to a syrup, you just finish it the same way, pack, heat, seal and process...they are wonderful....add a cinnamon stick per jar, thats what makes them so good!!

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