• Select fresh, firm, high quality vegetables and fruits for pickling.
• Use varieties of cucumbers designed for pickling. Wax –coated cucumbers bought from the supermarket are not suitable for pickling because of varietal qualities, and because the picling solution cannot penetrate the wax coating.
• Softened water is recommended for making pickles and relishes.
• Use a commercial vinegar that is standardized at a five percent acetic acid content.
• Purchase canning and pickling salt – which is pure granulated salt. This salt does not contain anti-caking agents or iodine.
• Never alter the salt concentrations in fermented pickles. Proper fermentation depends on correct proportions of salt and other ingredients.
• Most pickle recipes call for whole spices for fresher and more concentrated flavor than ground spices.
• A recommended method for making crisp pickles is to soak cucumbers in ice water for four to five hours before pickling. Some pickle recipes call for putting cucumbers on ice for a few hours before adding a brine and processing.