Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pickle Time

Pickling made easy. This year we went for the organic pickles. Pickling takes time and good oven mitts, but it's sure worth the effort. Pickled cukes are amazing and you can make tons of variations on our canning recipe below. There are lots of pickle recipes out there but here's our favorite:

How to pickle: 
  1. Buy your pickles straight from the farm if you can, if not try the farmers market, if not try to get the freshest store bought pickles possible. 
  2. Soak in an ice water bath for 3 hours to overnight. (Makes crisper pickles)
  3. Run jars through dishwasher or boil-sanitize. 
  4. Prepare your rack and canning tongs or Ball Canning Basket (my new favorite canning tool! So much easier.)
  5. Boil lids and screw tops in basket for a few minutes. I used Tatter canning lids this time and love them. The are BPA free and reusable unlike metal lids. A bit more tricky to use, but easy if you follow instructions well. 
  6. Put large canning pot with enough space with 2 jars submerged and bring to a boil.
  7. Begin brine on a large pot. For 12 quarts of pickles, appoximately 12 lbs of pickles, we used the recipe below:
    • 18 cups filtered water
    • 6 cups apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup salt
    • a handful of peppercorns and mustard seed
    • a whole bunch of dill (about 2-3 seed heads per jar)
    • 12 bay leaves
  8. Bring brine to a boil and turn off after a few minutes.
  9. Use 2-3 grape leaves in the bottom of each jar or a 1/4 tsp of Pickle Crisp Granules
  10. Add 2-4 pealed garlic cloves to each jar.
  11. Add any other herbs (I added lavender to the jar below and who knew it was going to taste so good!) 
  12. Take pickles out of bath and rinse again to clean as you pack them into the jars as tight as possible. 
  13. Then ladle brine into jars leaving 1/2 inch of room at top. 
  14. Wipe rims clean and place lids on. Do not secure tightly, leave them a bit loose to let air escape when in pot.
  15. If using basket, put 2 jars in at a time. Kind of a pain in the ass, but it's all that will fit. Otherwise place a few jars on your rack and let it do it's business for about 15 minutes. Water has to cover tops by a few inches! Otherwise air won't be able to escape and vacume won't be created. 
  16. Take jars out and if you have to move them, be very careful and just let them sit there until they are cooled. If you mess with them too much, the seal could get disturbed. 
  17. After processing all the jars, just let them sit and cool. When they are done, take screw caps off and test seal by pushing down on the top to see if it gives at all (for metal lids) or tapping a bit on the side of the lid to see if it moves (if using Tatter lids). 
  18. If you have a tight seal, it is time to screw the caps down (or not, if you choose) and put up on a shelf where you can admire them! 
  19. Your pickles will be ready to eat in a week, but are best after 3 weeks and good up until a year. 

Below were last years, very colorful! The above recipe is just for your classic dill pickle, nothing so fancy. 


  1. Tiz the season isn't it to start on those pickles. Always surprised when I meet someone who doesn't like pickles, I can eat them even with breakfast.
    Thanks for your recipe and tips.