You could, of course, make fast pickles any night of the week or any week of the year if you wanted to. However, when fresh fruit is in season, it is not only more delicious, but it is also more affordable. So now you know summer is the perfect time to learn how to can pickles.
Summer is the season when farmers’ markets are brimming with vibrant, crisp fruits and vegetables. Take a weekend and learn how to can pickles. As a result, you will be able to enjoy the same fruits and vegetables in a few months when nothing is growing from the ground.
For those of you who are interested in learning how to can pickles, this step-by-step tutorial is a must-read! Learn about the procedure and the supplies you’ll need.
How To Can Dill Cucumber Pickle
The recipe we’re using is a very straightforward one for dill cucumber pickle.
In fact, you could use the same technique for whatever vegetable you happen to have on hand: carrots would be delicious, as would zucchinis or green beans. A good place to go is CannedNation for all things canned or preserved!
For now, though, let’s stick to the tried and tested method. Learn how to prepare and can dill pickles in this tutorial:
1. The First Step
If you have canning utensils then use the canning pot with the fitted rack at this time.
Not all of us are lucky to have canning equipment, don’t despair a large pot will do the job. If you use a normal pot, you will need to put something at the bottom of the pot to lift the glass jars of the hot bottom of the pot.
Do not know what to use to keep the jars away from the bottom? No problem? There are some other ways to tackle the job.
- You could use a metal cooling rack that fits nice and neat for the size pot you use
- Use some aluminum foil. Take a long piece and scrunch it as if you were going to make a long snake. Then, curl it as if you were going to make a mat. Make the mat the size of the bottom of the pot and fit it flat and loose.
The spiral mat should be loose enough so that the water can move between and through the coils. But it also should be tight enough so that the glass canning jars can stand upright on them without falling over.
Last but not least, the pot should large enough so that you can fill it with water to cover the filled, closed glass canning jars.
Now fill the large pot with hot water.
2. Sterilize Glass Canning Jars
You may use either two quart-sized jars or four pint-sized jars for this recipe. If you like, you can simply double the recipe to create 4-quart or 8-pint jars—just twice the quantity below.
Quart jars are ideal for entire pickles or spears, while pint bottles are excellent for pickle chips.
Arrange the jars (without lids or rings) on a rack or your improvised foil coil mat and cover with one inch of boiling water from the tap. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then remove from the heat. Keep the jars underwater until you’re ready to use them.
3. Preparing and Trimming the Cucumbers
Use 3 pounds of Kirby cucumbers. Kirby cucumbers are firmer, more delicious, and less seedy than full-length cucumbers. But don’t worry if you cannot find them, you can use any choice of cucumber.
It’s a known fact that cucumbers’ flower and stem ends can be bitter. Cut both the blossom and stem end from each cucumber before using. You have a choice, you can either pickle the cucumbers whole or cut them into slices:
Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Then put cut-side down on the cutting board and cut in half again to create spears for long length-wise slices or spears.
If you want cucumbers round slices, you should chop the cucumber into quarter-inch round slices for pickle coins. If you want to be a fit fancier, such as making ridged pickle coins, you will need a mandoline with a waffle slicing blade.
4. Prepare the Pickling Brine
In a different large pot or saucepan combine and bring to the boil:
- 2 cups white vinegar + 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp. pickling salt
It’s essential to use pickling salt in this recipe. You can buy pickling salt in most grocery shops nowadays. Table salt often includes anti-caking chemicals, which may cause pickle brine to become murky and create undesirable tastes.
You can use Kosher salt, However, since it is coarser than pickling salt, you will need to adjust the quantity you use. Replace 1 1/2 teaspoons of Kosher salt for every teaspoon of pickling salt called for in your recipe.
This method yields a wonderful, tart pickle; but, if you want something a little sweeter, you could add up to 1 tablespoon sugar to the brine before cooking the pickles.
5. Remove Glass Bottles From the Hot Water
Make sure you know where you’re taking the hot, sterilized jars before you remove them from the water. Put the heated glass on cold stone surfaces such as marble or granite and don’t let it touch the surface.
Instead, put the empty jars on a wooden cutting board or on a work surface that has been covered with a kitchen towel. Of course, a towel that has been folded in half is even better and, start from there.
Lifting the hot jars in a safe manner can be difficult and dangerous. A jar lifter will make your canning experience much more enjoyable. However, if you don’t want to spend the money on a jar lifter, you may use tongs instead.
Using rubberized tongs makes sense. They are preferable for a greater grip. However, please take note that if you only have metal tongs with the gripping end as metal, immerse them in hot water for a few seconds first. This is so as to warm them up before using them to avoid breaking a glass jar.
Then, after you’ve set your jars down on the counter, you may put on your oven gloves and use them to pour any hot water that may have collected within them right back into the stockpot.
There is no need to dry the jars before using them.
6. Fill the Glass Jars With the Pickle Ingredients
If using pint jars, add a small peeled garlic clove, or more if you like the garlic taste. Then add 3 to 4 fresh dill sprigs or 1 teaspoon dill seeds to each jar.
Slip in a flower dill head if you have one, then pack as many cucumbers as will fit snuggly into the jar. Cover with pickle brine, allowing 1/2 inch of space between the top edge and the liquid.
If you are using Quart Jars, add 2 peeled cloves of garlic or more, if you want. Then add 6 to 8 fresh dill sprigs or alternatively, 2 tsp dill seeds to each jar. Again, slip in a flower dill head if you have one.
Again, then pack as many cucumbers tightly into the jar. Pour in the pickle brine to cover, and again leave 1/2 inch of space between the top edge and the liquid.
7. Adding Extra Spices to Your Taste
Feel free to experiment with the spice blend in this recipe. While this recipe is kept as simple as possible, you may use any combination of whole spices. These could be mustard seeds, coriander, caraway, cloves, cumin, black peppercorns, and allspice berries in place of the ground seasoning.
Keep the spices whole, since ground spices may cause the brine to get murky and the pickles to become gummy. Add up to 1 1/2 teaspoons whole spices to each pint jar or 1 tablespoon per quart jar if using whole spices.
If you are like me, I like a bit of zing with my pickles. If so, add a dried chili or half of a fresh jalapeno or serrano pepper per jar. This makes a wonderful addition if you like a little kick.
8. Prepare Glass Jars For Sealing
Remove any trapped air bubbles from the jar by sliding a narrow clean spatula, ruler, or butter knife along the edge of the jar in numerous places.
If required, add more brine until again the liquid reaches 1/2 inch from the lip of the container. Keep doing this until no more bubbles are in the jars.
Then, using a clean, dry kitchen towel, wipe the rims clean. For sweet pickles made using this technique, you may use a wet kitchen towel to ensure that any sticky sweet residue is removed from the rims before putting them in the refrigerator.
9. How To Can Pickles: Placing the Vacuum Lids On the Glass Jars
Every time you store pickles, you must use a new lid to keep them fresh.
The screw rings may be reused, however, the vacuum lids are only good for one-time usage.
There’s no need to be concerned about collecting more glass jars than you can manage since they’re available to buy separately.
The lids may be sterilized by immersing them in boiling water. However, many manufacturers suggest avoiding this step since it might negatively impact the lids’ capacity to seal properly. Only a short rinse with hot, running tap water is recommended for the lids in this case.
10. Seal the Glass Jars Put In The Pot
Adjust the bands until they are just slightly snug to the touch, rather than trying to force them into place. In order for the jars to function properly during the boiling process, the screw rings must be able to let air escape.
If the screw bands are too tight, this will not be possible. Fill the canning pot or stockpot halfway with water and submerge the jars. If required, fill the pot with water until the water level is at least 1 inch higher than the tops of the sealed jars.
11. Processing or Cooking the Pickle In Their Glass Jars
This does not have to be a strong boil; a slow and steady boil will suffice; a fast and furious boil may risk jarring glass pickling jars which is never a good thing. Bring the water to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pint jars will take 10 minutes, while quart jars will take 15 minutes. As soon as you see the water beginning to boil, start your timer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool for 5 minutes.
By lifting them out of the water and moving them back to the kitchen towel folded in half or wooden cutting board, you will be able to save time and effort.
12. Leave to Cool and Then Test the Seal
Allow the pickle jars to cool for a full 24 hours at room temperature before checking the seal on the lid. If the lids have been correctly treated, they will be dented inward, showing that the jar has been securely sealed.
Pickles that “pop” upward and downward when you push the middle of the lid are not sealed. These should be kept in the fridge and consumed within a few weeks.
Even if the lids pass the pop test, remove the rings from the lids and gently lift the lid with your fingertips to see if it opens. If you are unable to readily pull it off, the jars have survived the second seal test. They are ready to be kept in a cool, dry place.
13. Storing and Labelling the Pickles
Make a label for each jar, indicating the kind of pickle you’ve prepared as well as the date. For a maximum of one year, keep them in a cold, dark location.
If you see that the garlic cloves are becoming blue or green, don’t be alarmed; this is normal. The color is caused by a natural interaction between the acid in the salt brine and the enzymes in the garlic; it will have no effect on the taste or safety of your pickles in any way.
Now that you’ve learned how you can pickle, all you have to do is keep snacking on them until it’s time to make another batch. Yum Yum!
Eat, Sleep, Pickle and Repeat!
I know pickling scares many people. I got it… We are afraid of eating because the food police subtly tell us that the only food that is safe to eat comes packaged in jars and cartons that have hardly been touched by human hands!
In reality, canning is a very safe and cost-effective method to prepare delicious food to accompany any meal!
Need more inspiration? Head on over to my recipe collection to find some great ideas.