How to Make and Can Your Own Pickles
Making and canning your own pickles is one of the easiest and frugal things you can do with produce! Are your cucumbers ready to be made into pickles? If so, you can bottle them as you pick them with this recipe and do just a couple of bottles at a time!
- 1 large pot
- 1 Steam Canner with Rack or Water-Bath Canner with Rack
- Quart canning jars (Ball or Kerr jars can be found at grocery stores, like Safeway, Publix, Kroger, grocery stores, even online – about $8 per dozen jars including the lids and rings). Be sure to get wide mouth jars to fit the pickles in!
- Jar Lifter (to pick up the hot jars)
- Ball Regular Mouth Lids and Bands – thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar.
- Lids – metal bands that secure the lids to the jars.
- Jar funnel
- 1 1/3 cups White Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Salt (without iodine, iodine causes the pickles to be soft)
- 3 cups Water
- 1 tsp Alum
- 1 tsp Garlic per jar (or however much garlic you like)
- 1 Tblsp Dill per jar (or adjust to preference)
Place water, salt, vinegar, and alum in a pan and bring to a boil. This is called “brine”. I like to pour the finished brine into a pitcher for easy pouring into the bottles.
Cucumbers – for best results select fresh, crisp cucumbers- not wilted, soft or overripe! The best cucumbers are the smaller underripe ones.
Clean the dirt and prickles off of the cucumbers with a soft brush.
Add minced garlic and dill to the jars. Fill with brine.
Fill the brine to the neck of the bottle (about an inch from the top).
Make sure the top (or lip) of the bottle is clean and place a canning lid on the top, secure it tightly with a ring.
Make sure the bottom of the steamer is filled with at least 3 quarts of water. Place the jars of pickles on the steam canner. Careful to avoid blocking the holes. The canner will fit a maximum of 7 bottles per batch (but you could do as little as 1 if needed). Place the lid on the canner and bring to a boil.
When you can see steam coming out of the hole on the lid of the canner, start timing and process for 10 minutes. If you are using a boiling bath, begin time when bottles are put in the hot water. Lift the jars off of the steam canner and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight). I like to use a jar lift to lift them out. Once the jars are cool, check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the unsealed jars in the refrigerator right away, you can still use them.
When can you start eating the pickles?
It takes some time for the seasonings to be absorbed into the pickles, at least 24 hours. For best flavor wait at least 2 weeks!