The Scoop on Pickle Crisp

From Linda Ziedrich — Blog by
November 24, 2009

I’d never heard of Pickle Crisp until a couple of weeks ago, when I was giving a radio interview and a caller mentioned the product. Pickle Crisp, I learned, is a trade name for calcium chloride, a common additive in commercial canning. Calcium chloride is used for several purposes, but in pickles it is mainly a firming agent.

On searching the Web for more information, I learned that Pickle Crisp had been marketed by Jarden, the company that makes Ball jars, but was no longer available.

To find out more, I contacted Lauren Devine at Jarden. The company sold Pickle Crisp for about two years. It was intended to replace pickling lime, which home picklers, particularly in the South, have long used to firm such pickles as bread-and-butters and pickled figs. But lime is troublesome to use: You must first soak the fruit or vegetable pieces in a mixture of lime and water, and then rinse and soak them repeatedly until the water is clear and the lime won’t affect the pickle’s pH much. Calcium chloride is easier to use: You add 1/8 teaspoon along with the fruit or vegetable pieces and the pickling liquid to a pint jar, or 1/4 teaspoon to a quart jar. (Jarden has tested Pickle Crisp only with fresh pickles, not with fermented ones.)

Unfortunately for Jarden, sales of Pickle Crisp were slow, and only upon removing the product from the market did Jarden realize that there was much demand for it. Jarden decided to bring the product back, but in improved form. The old Pickle Crisp was a powder that tended to dissolve into steam. The new version will have bigger grains.

The new Pickle Crisp should be in the home-canning sections of supermarkets and farm-supply stores next March or April. In the meantime, if you want to try pickling with calcium chloride you can order it by that name at www.bulkfood.com/calciumchloride.asp.

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1. by anonymous on Nov 27, 2009 at 11:03 PM PST

Thank you for the info! I was afraid they’d found something wrong with it...

2. by Buck Vanderburg on May 25, 2011 at 10:52 AM PDT

I find the new granules much more convenient to use and less time consuming that the previous version. Thank tha lord the old days of liming and rinsing are over. That was labor intensive if you have a lot of pickles to put up.

3. by Chris Malzahn on Jul 9, 2012 at 3:52 PM PDT

One time I forgot to use pickle crisp when canning bread and butter pickles. It lost that crispness associated with sweet pickles.

4. by Kandace Moore on Jun 21, 2013 at 5:53 PM PDT

Where did you find pickle crisp? Publix groceries and co-op never heard of it in huntsville alabama.

5. by Linda Ziedrich on Jul 1, 2013 at 5:09 PM PDT

I don’t know why more stores aren’t carrying Pickle Crisp; they can order it along with other Jarden products. But you can easily order Pickle Crisp yourself, direct from Jarden (www.freshpreserving.com) or from another website.

6. by anonymous on Aug 22, 2013 at 2:38 PM PDT

I bought it last year either at FleetFarm or Walmart.

7. by anonymous on Aug 24, 2013 at 11:02 AM PDT

I just bought it at walmart. it was with the canning jars.

8. by anonymous on Sep 11, 2013 at 5:32 PM PDT

Why do the instructions say not to use it if it absorbs moisture (gets hard)? And why is it packed so that it can?

9. by Linda Ziedrich on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:37 PM PDT

The plastic container should keep out moisture, but moisture could be absorbed if the container were left open. What would happen then I don’t know. Did your Pickle Crisp turn into one big rock?

10. by anonymous on Apr 14, 2014 at 7:45 PM PDT

can also order it in bulk as food grade calcium chloride. Much cheaper!

11. by anonymous on Apr 14, 2014 at 7:45 PM PDT

can also order it in bulk as food grade calcium chloride. Much cheaper!

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Linda Ziedrich

Linda Ziedrich — Blog

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