What causes pickles to shrivel?
Shriveling usually results from using too strong a sugar or vinegar solution at the start of the pickling process. To avoid problems with shriveled sweet pickles, use small cucumbers (1 to 2 inches in length) or cucumber slices. Shriveling of fresh pack dill pickles or other whole cucumber pickles may result from using too strong a salt solution at the start of the pickling process.
Other possible causes of shriveling include:
- Using cucumber varieties not suited to pickling.
- Holding cucumbers too long before pickling.
- Using cucumbers from diseased or poorly nourished plants.
- Overcooking or over-processing.
- Unusually wet or dry growing season.
Barbara Willenberg, Nutritional Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009