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The Pueblo County Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in five main areas: Agriculture, Horticulture, Family and Consumer Science, Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Programs.

Pickling   arrow

person slicing cucumbers Cucumbers. There are specific varieties of pickling cucumbers, that will work best.  When you process them, it is recommended to remove 1/16” of the blossom ends.  This is where the ripening enzymes are located and can cause over ripening and soften the pickles.
jar of vinegarVinegar. Vinegars used for pickling should be commercially produced with an acidity of at least 5%.  You should not use a homemade vinegar, as the acidity cannot be confirmed to be above 5%.  You can use any type of vinegar depending on preference including: cider vinegar, white vinegar, wine vinegar or malt vinegar.  Some of the darker colored vinegars may alter the color of the vegetables or brine. 
salt and sugarSalt & Sugar. White granulated sugar, brown sugar or beet sugar may be used to flavor pickles.  Sugar substitutes are not advisable as they may change the texture and become more bitter over time.  “Pickling” or “Canning” salt should be used for all types of canning that requires salt.  Table salt contains iodine and anti-caking agents which can cloud the brine and interfere with the fermentation process.
crisping agentCrisping Agents. Crisping agents are an unnecessary addition as long as good quality, fresh ingredients are used and up-to-date method is followed.  If you wish to use a crisping agent, choose one that contains calcium, which helps to bind the pectin in cucumber cell walls.  Examples include: calcium hydroxide or calcium chloride.  Alum is no longer a recommended crisping agent, as it has been found potentially linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
gallon of waterWater.  Hard water may cause cloudy brine, off-flavors and discoloration.  It is best to used distilled water for canning processes.  If you’d like to use tap water, boil it hard for 15 minutes and then let it sit (covered) for 24 hours.  Filter out any sediment left behind before use.