Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pickling lime 911

Does anyone within a 5 mile radius have pickling lime? Calcium hydroxide.

It's online, everywhere, yet why is it such a puzzle to find in a real store?

I am making hominy, which will be incorporated into pozole with slow-cooked pig, for Sunday's Farm City Fair. It's a long, slow process, and the pickling lime (calcium hydroxide), dehusks the dried corn and loosens the kernels, each of which I will remove by hand.

Failing lime I will use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Seems that pickling lime is so hard to find that even the National Center for Home Food Preserving (who knew!) proposes the baking soda alternative.

Please holler if you have - or are - a local lime source.

Read the follow up here and why I used baking soda. The short version? Use baking soda instead. It works.


  1. Alright, I don't have a source. But years ago friends of mine and Betsy had trouble finding canning supplies and ended up going to Polsteins on 13th ave in Brooklyn.
    Maybe they're worth a call.

    Google Map link:,+brooklyn+ny&fb=1&gl=us&hq=polsteins+hardware,&hnear=Brooklyn,+NY&cid=0,0,10948237212814522470&ei=DdqHTIaVEoO88gauhYSDAg&ved=0CBYQnwIwAA&ll=40.625109,-74.008219&spn=0,0.027788&z=16&layer=c&cbll=40.619449,-74.008317&panoid=7n9Kbw_F66QCe36n--OD2Q&cbp=12,157.37,,0,14.78

  2. a long shot -- someone at Hunts Point may have, or know of someone who has, it.

    also, did you call the Fairway in Red Hook? (718) 694-6868

    Brooklyn Kitchen Labs in Greenpoint is reported to have pickling aupplies
    (718) 349-5032

    I google-searched "Brooklyn ny pickling supplies"
    Searching for "Canning supplies" yielded too much about jars and lids.

    good luck.

  3. Marie,

    You are a brave soul! Pozole is a difficult dish that not even all Mexicans like to cook! Did you try to google Mexican grocery stores in your area? Some just might carry what you need. Here in NJ I most likely could get it, if you are interested let me know, I could meet you mid-way somewhere between here (NJ) and there. You can e-mail at if you are not lucky in your area. Good luck, I might see you Sunday, the event sounds fun!

  4. Thanks, Frank - I'm going to try Fairway first, as it's closer to me, but Polstein's will be next.

    Melanie - thank you! Someone else said Fairway has what I need in the Latin section :-) Headed there tomorrow.

    Maria, that's very, very kind of you...hopefully you can be spared a trip! Until Sunday, maybe :-)

  5. Pickling lime - try a pharmacy

  6. You've taken a 50 year step back in time. Americans just don't can like they used to. My Grandmother is the last person I know who used pickling lime, and it was hard to find in the '60's! Good luck.

  7. I realize i'm a day late and a dollar short here...d'you have any old-fashioned hardware stores in Brooklyn? That's where i've been able to find canning supplies, including paraffin and pickling lime throughout the years, even when canning wasn't "in" in the general population, since it's still being done by farm wives and Amish and Mennonites in this area.

  8. Update - 3/24/2012

    Made it down to Polsteins today and they indeed do still carry pickling lime. I told them how I found their store through a Google search that turned up this thread, and they asked me to let everyone know that their motto is "If we don't have it, you don't want it." Ha! Good place though, lots of interesting stuff like industrial grade meat grinders. The also carry lots of Ball products beyond just jars: replacement lids, pectin for preserves and a few other supplementary products I did not know they made.

    Happy pickling, everyone.


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