So, I have been experimenting with pickles this summer and I have had limited success, mostly because they have not been very crisp. Doing some research, I see grape leaves and horseradish leaves are suggested for tannins that may help inhibit some enzymes that break down the pickle. Oak leaves (rounded leaf kind) are also added but some reports say that they add too much tannin.
Then I was looking at a valassic pickle jar and noticed calcium chloride is added, did not see that ingredient listed on a competitor's "mushier" style pickle. So I am going to try that and see if it works.
A couple other ideas: What about that powdered wine tannin? Oak cubes? I wonder if that would work in lieu of leaves? Also, is it necessary to add the water to the pickles hot? Seems like hot water would only cook them, even at 185. I was thinking about heating up the brine and adding it when it is cooled off after ice soaking the cukes for several hours and scrubbing them clean. Heck, maybe even a star-san dunk if microbial concerns are what the hot brine is for, though, that doesn't seem necessary for excellent sauerkraut - it goes straight into the crock with only a lightwash.
What say the forum?