Soft, Slippery Pickle: Causes
Too little salt was used. Be sure to measure accurately
Cucumbers were not fully covered with brine during fermentation allowing bacteria to grow.
Blossom end of cucumbers left on and enzymes in them caused softening. Be sure to trim end before pickling.
Cucumbers at too high a temperature during fermentation. Limit is 74 degrees F. Use a cooler and blue ice blocks to keep below 75 degrees.
Cukes were not fresh. Best success is very fresh cucumbers or hydroponic cucumbers.
Cukes were cut before fermenting. Leave whole and cut after fermentation is complete.
TIPS FOR FIRMER CUKES:
Use a few oak or grape leaves (tannic acid helps keep them firmer) during fermentation.
Presoak uncut cucumbers in a strong brine of 1/3 cup regular table salt with 1 quart water. Soak for 30 minutes, then rinse. Discard this brine and proceed to recipe instruction.
Too much time elapsed between harvesting and pickling. Hollow cucumbers float during washing and should be reserved for relishes or "chunk" style pickles. Too strong or too weak brine during fermentation. Temperature too high during fermentation. Recommended temperature 64°F - 74°F (24°C).
Shriveled, Tough Pickles
Too much salt was used. Too much time elapsed between gathering and pickling. Water contains too much calcium.
Iron or sulfur compounds in hard water may cause darkening. Using ground spices can discolor pickles. Using iodized table instead of pickling salt may cause darkening.
Too much spice. Cucumbers had a dry growing season. Moldy Pickles-Discard. Produce not washed properly. Fermenting temperature too warm.