I am soooooooo glad you asked this question!!! My 16 year old granddaughter and I made pickles for the first time last summer as a special surprise for her step mother who won't eat anything but dills. We had already put up 24 jars of bread and butters for the rest of the family. We worked hard all day and finished 12 jars of them. I kept them at my house until Christmas when we were going to surprise her with them. I had a couple of extra jars for DH and I. I opened one of them and they were so mushy that I didn't want to eat them. The flavor was good but the texture was awful! Anyway, I gave her three jars and told her that I had the rest of them if she had the stomach for them. (I eventually ended up throwing them out).
Well the granddaughter is due to arrive here next week and I hate to tell her we are going to try again. I have even asked around for a pickle coach at church but no one has volunteered.
I brought the subject up with a young woman whose cucumber plants I noticed growing and she explained that her family had been making "closet pickles" for three generations. They put them into jars without processing and keep them in a dark closet until they are ready to eat. (There is a time factor here but I don't have the recipe in front of me) Has anyone ever heard of these? I have concerns about food poisoning. She said they had eaten them all of her life without getting sick and it was the same theory as barrel pickles.
Also, how mature are the cucumbers supposed to be? My first thought was that the cucumbers were too old not that they had been processed too long but I know I had them in the bath canner for longer than 5 minutes. Does altitude make any difference in processing time? Ann in TN