Proper way to can pickles

Pickling is a method of preserving vegetables or increasing the shelf life of food by fermentation with brine or immersion in vinegar. The acidity of the solution changes the flavor and texture of the food while promoting the growth of desired, benign bacteria (Lactobacillus) and inhibiting the growth of hazardous bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism.

Knowing how to make pickles is a skill that every homesteader or gardener should have. Pickles should be made with young, fresh vegetables and fruits, vinegar, and entire, fresh spices and herbs. Quality ingredients, appropriate quantities, and well-followed methods result in fabulously pickled goods.

In this post, I will share the proper way to make and can pickles

Materials needed;

Cucumbers – only pickled cucumbers should be used, Water, Vinegar, Sugar,  Salt, Spices for Pickling, Butter Muslin or Cheesecloth, Jars for Canning, Canning Lids and Bands, Remover of Bubbles, Using a Water Bath or an Electric Canner and Thermometer.

Steps to making and canning pickles

  1. Make Canning Jars
  • While the brine is cooking, prepare your canning jars by washing and rinsing them in hot soapy water, then placing them, still warm, on a kitchen towel on the counter.
  1. Set up the Canner
  • Meanwhile, prepare your canning pot and bring the water to a temperature of 140 degrees F.
  1. Get your veggies ready
  • Cut your veggies into even pieces, whether spears or coins, and place them in the two jars or a big mixing bowl for rapid pickling. 
  • Pack the vegetables securely into the canning jars without squishing them, leaving room at the top for the brine and headspace (1/2 inch for pickles).
  1. Fill a big saucepan halfway with boiling water
  • Use a canning pot with a fitted rack if you have one. Otherwise, a big stock pot will suffice. You’ll also need something to pull the glass canning jars from the pot’s bottom. If you have a spherical metal cooling rack that fits nicely (and flatly) in your stock pot, you could use it. 
  • Make the spiral loose enough to let water to circulate between the coils, but tight enough to allow the canning jars to rest upright without tipping over. 
  • Finally, the pot should be tall enough to hold water that is at least one inch higher than the full jars.
  1. Cucumbers should be gathered and trimmed
  • Choose 3 pounds of cucumbers that are firmer, more delicious, and less seedy than full-length cucumbers. Cucumber ends may be bitter, so remove both the flower and stem ends from each cuke. Cucumbers can be pickled whole or chopped into desired shapes:
  • To form spears, cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, then set cut-side down on a cutting board and cut in half again.
  • Cucumbers should be chopped into 1/4-inch coins for pickle chips. (To make ridged pickle chips, you’ll need a mandoline with a waffle slicing blade.)
  1. Prepare the pickle brine
  • In a stainless-steel saucepan over high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and salt to make your pickling brine. Bring to a boil, then pour the hot pickling brine over the vegetables, almost filling each jar but leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  • Bring 2 cups white vinegar, 2 cups water, and 2 tablespoons pickling salt to a boil in a separate big pot. Pickling salt, which can be bought in most grocery stores, is essential here. Table salt frequently contains anti-caking chemicals, which can obscure pickle brine and generate off-flavors. This recipe yields an excellent, acidic pickle; if you prefer something mellower, add up to 1 Tbsp.
  1. Remove the jars from the boiling water
  • Make sure you know where the heated, sanitized jars are going before you remove them from the water: Never put hot glass on a cold stone surface, such as marble or granite. Instead, set the empty jars on a wooden chopping board or a work surface covered with a kitchen towel—ideally, a towel folded in half.

It might be difficult to carefully lift the hot jars. Another instance is when a job-specific tool comes in handy. A jar lifter will make your canning life much simpler. If you don’t want to purchase one, you may use tongs—rubberized ones are excellent for a stronger grip. (Note: If you just have tongs with uncovered metal on the gripping end, warm them in hot water for a few seconds before using them to avoid shattering a jar.) 

  • After you’ve set the jars on the counter, put on oven gloves and pour any hot water inside the jars back into the stock pot. It is not necessary to dry the jars.
  1. Fill jars halfway with pickling ingredients.
  • To make a pint jar: To each jar, add 1 peeled garlic clove and 3 to 4 fresh dill sprigs (or 1 tsp. dill seeds). 
  • Tuck in a blooming dill head if you have one, then pack as many cucumbers as will fit snugly into the jar. 
  • Cover with pickle brine, allowing 1/2 inch of space between the rim and the liquid.
  • To each quart jar, add 2 peeled garlic cloves and 6 to 8 fresh dill sprigs or 2 tsp. dill seeds.
  • Tuck in a blooming dill head if you have one, then pack as many cucumbers as will fit snugly into the jar. 
  • Cover with pickle brine, allowing 1/2 inch of space between the rim and the liquid.

If desired, season with more spices.

  • Feel free to experiment with the spice blend here. While this recipe is straightforward, you may experiment with any combination of whole coriander, caraway, cumin, mustard seeds, cloves, black peppercorns, and/or allspice berries. 
  • Keep the spices whole since ground spices can obscure the brine and make the pickles rough. 1 1/2 teaspoons whole spices in every pint jar or 1 tablespoon per quart jar If you prefer a little heat, add a dried chile or 1/2 of a fresh jalapeno or serrano pepper to each jar.
  1. Prepare the jars for sealing
  • To remove any trapped air bubbles, run a (very clean) thin spatula, ruler, or butter knife along the edge of the jar several times.
  •  If required, add additional brine until the liquid is 1/2 inch from the rim. Then, using a clean, dry kitchen towel, wipe the rims. 
  • If you’re making a sweet pickle using this approach, use a moist dish towel to wipe any sticky sweet residue off the rims.
  1. Place vacuum-sealed lids on the jars.

Each time you store pickles, you must use a fresh lid. Screw rings can be reused, however vacuum lids are only good for one use. (Because they’re sold separately, you won’t end up with more glass jars than you can handle.) Some recipes call for soaking the lids in hot water to sterilize them, however many manufacturers advise against doing so since it might interfere with the lids’ ability to seal. I recommend briefly cleaning the lids with hot, running tap water.

Seal the jars and place them in the pot.

  • Screw on the rings until they are just hand-tight—do not attempt to muscle them up. During the boiling process, air must be able to escape from the jars; if the screw rings are too tight, this will not happen.
  •  Fill the canner or stock pot halfway with sealed jars. If necessary, fill the pot with water until it is at least 1 inch higher than the tops of the jars.
  1. Prepare the pickle jars

This doesn’t have to be a forceful boil; merely steady is fine—too intense a boil risks shaking glass jars (which is never a good thing). 

  • 10 to 15 minutes at a boil-This will take 10 minutes for pint jars and 15 minutes for quart jars. As soon as you see the water begin to boil, start your timer.
  •  Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
  • Using the lifter or tongs, remove the jars from the water and place them back on the kitchen towel or wood cutting board.
  1. Label and keep your jars in a safe place.
  • Mark the jars with the type of pickle you prepared and the date. 
  • They can be kept in a cold, dark area for up to a year. Don’t be concerned if you detect the garlic cloves becoming blue or green. The coloring is caused by a natural interaction between the acid in the brine and the enzymes in the garlic; it has no effect on the flavor or safety of your pickles. 
  • Now that you’ve learned how to can pickles, you can just keep eating on them until it’s time to make another batch.
  • Wait at least 3 weeks before eating pickles to allow them to soften and create a delightful taste! Keep in mind that the pickles may be ready to eat sooner. It’s entirely up to you and your preferences! Just don’t leave them in for too long or the texture of the vegetables will degrade and get rubbery. After opening, keep refrigerated.
  • The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends storing jars in a cool, dry, dark area for up to a year.

Common Crunchy Pickle Suggestions

If you’ve done any research on how to keep pickles crisp during canning, you’ve probably heard of the following suggestions:

  • Use the freshest cucumbers you can find.
  • Tannins, such as grape leaves or horseradish leaves, can be added.
  • Before pickling, remove the cucumber’s blossom end.
  • Before canning, keep your pickles cool or soak them in ice water.
  • Even after following all of these suggestions, I still get pickles that aren’t crisp after canning, even months and months later.

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