How to Make Pickles

With the proper pickling equipment making pickles at home is very simple. There are several methods to making pickles including fermentation, water bath canning and even in the refrigerator. Processing pickles in a water bath canner using the fresh pack method will yield good quality pickles in a short amount of time compared to fermentation. The following procedures will yield 4 to 5 quarts fresh packed dill pickles.

Fresh Pickle

The day before canning, the cucumbers must be prepped and allowed to cure overnight. Start with fresh pickling size cucumbers, about 4-6 for each jar. Wash the cucumbers, cut off the blossom end, and cut the stem to about -inch long. If making pickle spears, cut the entire stem off and slice the cucumbers into quarters lengthwise. If making pickle slices, cut off both the blossom end and stem end and cut the slices to the desired thickness.

When canning anything, sterilize the jars and bands by washing them in hot soapy water and rinsing them in the hottest water available. Alternately, the jars and bands can be sterilized in the dishwasher. The lids should be rinsed and allowed to heat in a pan of lightly simmering water just before they are placed on the jars.

Cure the pickles overnight by soaking them in a solution of 2 gallons of water and cup of pickling salt. Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and allow them to sit overnight. Drain the solution prior to adding pickles to jars.

Mix 2 quarts water, -cup pickling salt, 1 and cups 5% acidity vinegar, and two tablespoons of mixed pickling spice tied in a cloth tea bag or tea ball and bring the mixture just to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons mustard seed and 3 heads of dill to the bottom of each jar. Fill sterilized jars with cucumbers and fill with the pickling mixture leaving -inch of headspace.

Place the lids on the jars and screw the band on just hand-tight. Do not forcefully tighten the band! Process the jars for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

For quick sweet pickles, processed in a water bath, start with 8 pounds of small 3 to 4 inch cucumbers. Wash the cucumbers and cut off blossom end and leave about 1/8-inch of stem. The cucumbers can also be sliced or cut into small spears. Put the cucumbers in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/3-cup pickling salt and two inches of ice cubes. Place this mixture in the refrigerator for 4 hours, adding more ice as it melts.

Make a pickling mixture by mixing 3 and cups 5% acidity vinegar, 4 and cups sugar, 2 teaspoons celery seed, 1 tablespoon whole allspice, and 2 tablespoons mustard seed. Heat this mixture until just boiling. Fill jars with cucumbers and add pickling mixture over the top leaving -inch of headspace.

Place the lids on the jars and screw the band on just hand-tight. Do not forcefully tighten the band! Process quart jars for 20 minutes and pint jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

<< What Is Needed to Make Pickles | Pickle Recipes >>


University of Minnesota Extension: Making Fresh Pack Pickles


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