Pickling Lime (Calcium Hydroxide)
About This Item
Food grade calcium hydroxide with no additives or preservatives. It has many common names, including hydrated lime, slack lime, pickling lime and “Cal” in Spanish.
It is sometimes used during the pickling process to give pickles an extra crunch. Traditional canning recipes usually suggest soaking freshly sliced cucumbers or other vegetables in pickling lime for 10 to 24 hours before canning them. During this step, the calcium in pickling lime binds to pectin, making it firmer.
It is commonly used in the production of corn tortillas. When you soak the corn in calcium hydroxide, a highly alkaline compound, it significantly increases the bioavailability of niacin in the corn, helps bind the masa together, and makes the tortillas tastier and easier to digest. It’s used in a similar fashion when making hominy grits.