A crisp pickle is a cucumber that is fresh, firm and crunchy. Cucumbers can be freshly picked or bought, but they should not exceed 2 inches in diameter. Avoid burpless cucumbers because the skin may be too rough to make fermented pickles.
Use food-grade pickling lime to marinate the cucumbers for 12 to 24 hours. The lime adds calcium, but too much can make the pickles unsafe. Remove the cucumbers from the lime, and rinse them before placing them in water to soak for one hour. Wash the cucumbers three times. Cut them before preserving them using the desired pickle recipe. To avoid softening, remove the blossom end of the cucumber.