Fresh pickles on a plate.

How to Can Pickles

Pickles are a staple store cupboard ingredient in many households. Whether you cannot eat a burger without them, have a craving for dill pickles during pregnancy or you simply need to do something about the glut of homegrown veggies you have, pickles are easy to make even for novices.

Canning is a great way to use up homegrown vegetables or the many cucumbers that you have accumulated in your veg boxes. Pickling vegetables takes less than one hour in total and they can be ready in one to two weeks.

The pickling process is very simple and once you follow the basic recipe you can adapt it and experiment with different flavors. Take a look at our top pickling recipes that will fulfill your pickle cravings. Whatever recipe you choose you should make sure you always use pickling salt. Regular salt can make your pickling juice cloudy.

Preparing Canning Equipment

Before you get started on your recipes you need to make sure you have the following equipment at hand:

  • 2 large pots
  • Cans/mason jars (you can buy bulk picking cans online)
  • Round metal cooling rack
  • Jar lifter or tongs
  • Oven mitts
  • Spatula

It is important to ensure that the jars you are using for pickling have been sterilized. To do this you must complete the following steps:

  • Fill a large pan with hot water.
  • Submerge the canning pots/jars into the water and bring to the boil. Make sure to do this carefully, which is why a round cooling rack will come in handy. You can place the rack into the bottom of your pot so that the jars stand up safely. The jars should be placed in without their lids so the water can go inside of the jar.
  • Once the pot has come to the boil you can turn off the heat and leave the jars in there until you need them.
  • Lids should be rinsed under hot water to ensure they are clean.

Easy Dill Pickle Recipe

This dill pickle recipe can be used with many vegetables, such as carrots, beets and zucchini, but dill is a classic go to recipe

Ingredients ( for four pint sized jars)

  • 3 pounds of cucumbers, preferably Kirby variety as they have more flavor and are firmer so will not go mushy
  • 2 tsp of pickle salt
  • 2 cups of pickling vinegar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 sprigs of dill
  • 1 clove of garlic per jar

Method

  • Make sure you have prepared your canning equipment.
  • After that, prepare your cucumbers by cutting off the bitter ends and shaping them how you would like. Some people like to pickle whole cucumbers and others choose chunks, spears, or thin slices.
  • Once that is done, take a large pot and add in the salt, vinegar, water and bring to the boil.
  • Then, place jars safely on to a wooden board using a jar lifter or tongs or, if they are cool, you can place directly on to your work surface. If you are moving jars around be careful to use oven mitts.
  • You can then place the cucumbers into the jars along with the garlic and dill and cover with the pickling brine leaving 1/2 inch between the rim if the jar and the lid. You can add additional spices if you want to, such as mustard seeds, chili or cumin.
  • Next, prepare cans for sealing by dipping a spatula (or bread knife) around the sides of the lid to release any air bubbles.
  • After that, wipe away any debris from the side of the jar and leave to cool.
  • Seal with a new lid (rings can be used several times) and label.
  • Leave for at least two weeks before eating.

Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

It is believed that bread and butter pickles got their name from the Great Depression when people could not afford to put anything else in their sandwiches. Bread and butter pickles are now found in trendy burger restaurants around the world but they can easily be made at home.

Ingredients

  • 10 cups of sliced (about 1/4 thick) pickling cucumbers
  • 4 medium sliced onions
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • Water
  • 3 cups of white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs celery seeds
  • 2 tbs mustard seeds
  • Turmeric
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

Method

  • In a large bowl place the cucumbers and onions.
  • Sprinkle salt over the ingredients and add water until all vegetables are covered.
  • Leave for two hours then rinse using a colander.
  • Prepare your canning equipment.
  • Place the vinegar into a large pot. Add the sugar, celery seeds, mustard seeds and turmeric and then bring to the boil. Make sure you stir so that the sugar dissolves.
  • Stir in your vegetables and bring back to the boil, then turn off the heat.
  • Carefully fill each jar leaving at least 1/2 inch at the top of the jar.
  • Leave to cool and label.

Spicy Pickle Recipe

If you like your pickles spicy then simply add the below ingredients to our simple dill pickle brine from the recipe above.

  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

When adding the vegetables and garlic to your jars you can also add fresh red chilies.

If you do not like your pickles too spicy but want to pack an extra punch when canning, you can follow a simple garlic pickle recipe. Follow the instructions for this spicy pickle recipe and instead of adding chilies into your jar, add an extra four cloves of garlic. You can also leave out the peppercorns and mustard seeds if you do not want any heat at all.