FoodWhy your homemade pickles are soft: Secrets from your grandma's kitchens

Why your homemade pickles are soft: Secrets from your grandma's kitchens

Grandma’s recipe for pickled cucumbers
Grandma’s recipe for pickled cucumbers
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Александра Ермоленко

4:37 PM EDT, June 15, 2024

Cucumbers are crunchy, aromatic, and perfect as an addition to sandwiches, salads, or as a standalone snack. However, their preparation can sometimes be challenging. Sometimes, cucumbers, instead of being crunchy, become soft or hollow inside. What is the reason for this? Often, the wrong recipe is to blame.

Nothing is better than homemade preserves, especially when we can enjoy the taste of crunchy pickled cucumbers. However, many of us have experienced the moment of disappointment when opening a jar, only to find that the cucumbers are soft or hollow. The reason may be an improper recipe. That’s why it’s worth using tried-and-true recipes that have been a guarantee of success for generations. In this article, I'll share my grandmother's secret for exceptionally crunchy pickled cucumbers – the key element is the right leaves.

The secret to crunchy pickled cucumbers

One of the most essential steps to achieve crunchy pickled cucumbers is to add currant and cherry leaves to the jar. Often overlooked today, these additions play a crucial role in the pickling process. Cherry leaves have properties that prevent cucumbers from softening and neutralize unwanted flavors. Meanwhile, currant leaves add incredible crunch and aroma to the preserves.

It's worth not giving up these natural additions. Grandma always emphasized that cucumbers don’t have that unique character without them. The combination of cherry and currant leaves makes our pickled cucumbers tastier and more durable.

Recipe for pickled cucumbers with currant and cherry leaves

Here is a recipe that will help you prepare perfect pickled cucumbers just like my grandmother made. Using currant and cherry leaves is key to success, so make sure you have them on hand.


  • 1 quart of water
  • 1.5 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 pounds of field cucumbers
  • 2 large pieces of horseradish and horseradish leaves
  • 2 large dill heads with umbrellas
  • 1 sprig of red currant
  • 3 young cherry leaves
  • 5 cloves of garlic


  1. Prepare a 2-quart jar – sterilize and dry it.
  2. Thoroughly rinse the cucumbers.
  3. Place some currant, cherry leaves, and horseradish pieces at the jar's bottom.
  4. Add horseradish leaves and garlic cloves.
  5. Pack the cucumbers tightly to fill the jar well.
  6. Stuff dill, leaves, garlic cloves, and horseradish between the cucumbers.
  7. Cover the top of the preserve with cherry, horseradish, currant leaves, and additional dill.
  8. Prepare the brine: add salt to a quart of warm water and mix thoroughly.
  9. Pour the brine into the jar, ensuring all ingredients are covered.
  10. Seal the jar and set it aside for two days. After this time, you will have lightly pickled cucumbers. To get fully pickled cucumbers, wait a week.

This recipe is not only tested but also extremely simple to execute. Using currant and cherry leaves, your cucumbers will have a fantastic crunch and aroma that will remind you of the flavors of childhood.

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