There are several things you can do to help keep your pickles a little more crisp.
- The main thing I would suggest is that you make sure to cut off about 1/4 inch from the end of the cucumber. The blossom end contains enzymes that cause the pickles to soften. I cut both ends off of mine.
- Wash your cucumbers good and once sliced or quartered layer them on a pan and sprinkle with salt. do as many layers as you need. Let them sit for several hours to draw out some of the water. Rinse well before packing them into your jars.
- You can also let them sit in salt water in the refrigerator overnight. Use one cup of salt to 3 quarts of water.
- Use pickle crisp in each jar
- If you have grape vines, put a grape leaf or two in each jar. I know that is an old way of doing things and with pickle crisp you don't have to, but it still helps.
- Pack them in ice until you are ready to put them into the jars.
- If you don't want them to float, you can put them into your pot with the brine and heat for just a minute or two before packing them into the jars. (This does not make them any softer than they would be if not done this way)
Here's a link with some good information on pickles.
This information is from Penn State Extension. Just click the link to read their article.