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Alum pickle

I have always used alum pickle because it’s cheap, easy to get at
the pharmacy, and, I assumed, safer than other pickles. the
question is; is it any safer? and is it as good as any other pickle
(for silver) thanks, Polly.

I have heard that one of the very best pickles for silver is boiling
phosphoric acid. However it is expensive.

Jeffrey Everett

I too have used Alum for a ling time, and it most certainly is a
healthier alternative, as it is what they make pickles with. it is
also what the old blacksmiths used to use.

— david thorp

Alum is a very effective pickle when warm and I have never had any
issues with having to use bi carb to neutrilize any acid effects as
with sparex, sulphuric etc. As I understand Alum is a floculant
which is used to purify water and grab hold of any impurities that
are suspended in water. I am unsure of the science but it works very
effectively in removing flux and I will continue to use it unless
an Orchidian expert out there points out that I am using something
that is deterimental to my Customers and my health. By the way I
heat my Alum in a slow cooker and when it cools I can grow some very
awesome crystals. Best regards Terence M Dillon

Hello Orchidians!

In searching for safe and/or eco-friendly alternatives to sparex
pickle, one of my teachers told me about Alum pickle but I didn’t
hape any recipe to go with it. Now that the subject is on the table,
does anyone has a pickle recipe using Alum? Thank you all!

Benoit Hamel

Now that the subject is on the table, does anyone has a pickle
recipe using Alum? 
1.  Obtain Alum at the grocery store.

2.  Dissolve in water obtained from your tap. 

3.  Heat it up, and try it.

4.  If it's too slow for you, add more alum.

5.  It's saturated if, upon cooling, some crystallizes back out,

and then you know it’s as strong as it can get. If you need faster
pickle than it will be at this point, go back to sodium bisulphate.

Geez. Do we really need a recipe for this?

sorry. Not to be rude or anything. But what ever happened to just
trying something without being afraid of screwing it up? I can see
wanting instructions for complex things. But pickle? Am I missing
something here? After all. We’re talking about mixing two food grade
materials here. one is alum, an additive in pickling, and therefore
essentially edible, in small quantities, and water, which is
hopefully also drinkable in your location…


Now that the subject is on the table, does anyone has a pickle
recipe using Alum? 

Med. to lg. cucumbers, whole or cut in halves or spears

3 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. pickling salt
1/4 tsp. alum
Garlic cloves (optional)
Hot pepper pods (optional)
Heads of fresh dill weed

Put vinegar, pickling salt, alum, dill and garlic or pepper pods,
(if wanted) on bottom of quart jar. Pack cucumbers in jar and set in
bright sun for up to a week. Make sure lids are tight on jars before
storing in cool, dry place.

Hi, I have been using alum for years and have never had any poblems
with disposal or fumes. It is relatively clean (used as a floculant
for cleansing water). As long as you use a pickle unit or slow
cooker (cheaper to buy) and keep the unit warm, oxides are removed
effectively without acids. Alum should be avaliable through a
pharmacy or drug store as the say in the US.

P.S you can also grow some really cool crystals. Oh by the way I
dilute 3 parts water for 1 part Alum approx. But if you need a
stronger solution add more Alum. Time to change? When solution
appears blue. Probably saturated with copper and thus no longer
effective. Time for a new solution. I am not sure on the disposal
protocols in your country but I would imagine it would be very low
level waste. probably equaliviant to grey water.

Best regards
Terence M Dillon

To those who fancy alum,

Alum is not an essential ingredient in pickling food items. The
pickling is is accomplished with salt and vinegar (sometimes just
salt). Alum is used to preserve the crispness of the pickled food
item. I learned this from my Syrian mentor who taught me much,
including how to cure (pickle) olives (and maintain their crispness)
without using lye.

John Palmer
Mackinac Designs

One thing I must mention for those thinking of switching to Alum for
pickle, I would not recommend leaving soldered pieces in it
overnight. The reason for this is that if your metal was in any way
greasy or dirty when you soldered it, the alum will have a tendency
to eat separate the solder from the joint! And while this is a
tribute to the cleaning power of alum, it’s a thing to keep in the
back of your mind. I also don’t usually quench in it, and I’ve
never had a joint fall apart from being in the pickle for a couple
of hours.

— david thorp

Roger, that should have gone to the "Jeweler�s jokes, anyone?"

We use alum pickle in our studio, wich we keep warm (about 60
celcius) in a japanese-style electric rice cooking pot. Works
wonderfully and keeps our fingers and clothes intact. But i never
thought of it as a cooking ingredient! I knew it was used to heal
those rashes on the corner of the mouth, so common when we were

Priscilla, in the rainy summer of Sao Paulo, Brasil.

For all of those pickle problems…

Alum, also known as aluminum ammonium sulfate, the stuff that makes
pickles crunchy, cheap and commonly available in pharmacies or
grocery stores works as well or better than anything else and is
very safe.