Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600957


Alum may be safely used to firm fermented cucumbers.
However, it is unnecessary and is not included in the
recipes. The calcium in lime definitely improves pickle
firmness. Food-grade lime may be used as a lime-water
solution for soaking fresh cucumbers 12 to 24 hours before
pickling them. Excess lime absorbed by the cucumbers must
be removed to make safe pickles. To remove excess lime,
drain the lime-water solution, rinse, and then resoak the
cucumbers in fresh water for 1 hour. Repeat the rinsing and
soaking steps two more times. To further improve pickle
firmness, you may process cucumber pickles for 30 minutes in
water at 180 degrees Fahrenheit when indicated by the
procedure. This process also prevents spoilage, but the
water temperature should not fall below 180 degrees
Fahrenheit. Use a candy or jelly thermometer to check the
water temperature.

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