Pickling Tips and Recipes

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Pickling is a way to preserve the bounty of the season's harvest, and keep many vegetables and fruits. See tips, pickling measures, and pickling recipes.

In pickling, the process is about adding acid (vinegar or lemon juice) to a low-acid food to lower its pH to 4.6 or lower. Acid foods include all fruits except figs, most tomatoes, fermented and pickled vegetables, relishes, and jams, jellies, and marmalades.

Pickling Tips

  • Produce must be fresh when pickled. Avoid using waxed supermarket produce.
     
  • Select the most uniform, unspoiled produce.
     
  • Scrub food well. Be sure to remove and discard 1/4–inch slice from the blossom end of fresh cucumbers. Blossoms may contain an enzyme that causes excessive softening of pickles.
  • Use canning or pickling salt (not iodized table salt!). Pickling salt has no additives. Iodized salt makes the brine cloudy and may change the color and texture of the vegetables as well as possibly leave sediment at the bottom of the jars.
     
  • For the best results, use white distilled or cider vinegars with 5 percent acidity. Use white vinegar when light color is desirable, as with fruits and cauliflower.
     
  • For crisper pickles, put the vegetables (whole or sliced) into a wide bowl and spread a layer of pickling salt on top. Cover and let sit overnight in a cool place. Discard the liquid, then rinse and dry the vegetables before pickling or canning as usual. The salt helps to pull the moisture out of the vegetables and makes them crisper.
     
  • Measure or weigh carefully, because the proportion of fresh food to other ingredients will affect flavor and, many times, safety. Here are pickling measures:

Pickling Measures

Pickling salt 1 pound = 1–1/3 cup
Granulated sugar 1 pound = 2 cups
Brown sugar 1 pound = 2–1/4 to 2–3/4 cups, firmly packed
Fresh herbs 1 tablespoon = 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried herbs
  • See our Measuring Vegetables and Measuring Fruits charts to translate pounds to cups (in Related Articles above).
     
  • Sterilize your empty jars. Do not use recycled commercial jars or old-style home-canning jars. They can break in the canning process.
     
  • Use new jar lids for a tight seal. To avoid rust, screw bands should be removed from processed jars that are stored. They can be easily removed after the jars have cooled and sealed, and then reused.
     
  • Always wipe the rim of the jar clean for a good seal after filling and just before putting the lid on.
     
  • Process jars in a boiling-water canner for the correct amount of time (a canner is a large standard-size lidded kettle with a jar rack, designed for heat-processing 7 quart jars or 8 to 9 pint jars in boiling water).
     
  • Label and date your jars and store them in a clean , cool, dark, dry place such as a pantry, cabinet, or basement. Don't store in a warm spot!
     
  • To allow pickles to mellow, wait at least 3 weeks before using.

Pickling Recipes

Kosher-Style Dill Pickles

Crunchy Dill Pickles

Pickled Peppers

Perpetual Pickles

Dilled Green Beans

Pumpkin Pickles

Jane's Zucchini Bread-and-Butter Pickles

Pickled Green Beans

Verna's Beet Relish

Sour Mustard Pickles

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

See more about How to Make Sweet Pickles.

See more about How to Make Dill Pickles.

Related Articles

Comments

I made refridgerator dill

By Jenny S. on September 10

I made refridgerator dill pickles last night but forgot to put them in the refrigerator until this morning (8-9hours later). Will they be safe to eat?
Also, I made salsa but we forgot the canning salt in one batch. Will this affect the taste and/or the quality of the salsa?
Thank you!

Hopefully you put them in the

By Almanac Staff on September 11

Hopefully you put them in the refrigerator this morning when you noticed them sitting out. If you did, then yes, they are safe to eat.
Not such good news for the salsa. Leaving out the salt will affect the taste and preservation.

it has been a week I just

By wilma on September 12

it has been a week I just realized I put them on the shelf should I discard these

I doubled the brine recipe

By TonyaW on September 7

I doubled the brine recipe but forgot to double the Salt. Will the pickles be okay. I used 3 quarts water, 1 quart white vinegar and 3/4 cup canning salt. I should have used 1 1/2 cups of salt. Just need to know if the pickles will be okay to eat.

The salt concentration is

By Almanac Staff on September 9

The salt concentration is very important when pickling with brine. Too little salt will cause undesirable organisms to grow and makes the pickles soft and slimy.

I canned bread and butter

By Susan J. Musich on September 3

I canned bread and butter pickles last year. In pulling out one of my last jars I see that the brine didn't cover the top pickles. After I opened them and noticed that the brine wasn't to the very top I put them in the refrigerator. Are pickles safe to eat if they weren't totally covered in the brine?

am looking for a recipe

By sharron orcutt on September 2

am looking for a recipe called cinnamon brown sugar pickles. understand it is an old one. can you help out? thank you

Hi Sharron, You can find some

By Almanac Staff on September 4

Hi Sharron,

You can find some pickle recipes using brown sugar and cinnamon at

www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com/pickle-recipes.html#.VAh2_0jGIio

I am making zucchini relish;

By Lynn Bailey

I am making zucchini relish; I have one recipe that says to drain the salt and rinse well and another one that does not tell me to rinse only drain. Which is correct.

Hi Lynn, Most zucchini

By Almanac Staff

Hi Lynn,

Most zucchini recipes suggest that you drain and rinse. Compare the 2 recipes and see how much salt is added later. The recipe that only instructs you to drain may add less salt.

Why would my pickles fade

By B A Kelsch

Why would my pickles fade white after processing? The liquid is still clear.

I just canned for the first

By EricaEdwards

I just canned for the first time. I done jalapenos in water bath. I followed a recipe I found online. I didn't try the brine before pouring it over the pepper (stupid) and realized after 14 pint jars done that I used canning salt instead of regular salt in the brine therefore I used wayyyy top much salt.. so I have 14 cans of very salty sliced jalapenos. Can I save them somehow or are they trash? Thanks in advance.

Hello, I made pickles in a

By Hillary

Hello,
I made pickles in a water bath a couple years ago and they turned out great so I decided to buy a pressure canner this year to can all of my produce. I just canned my pickles in the new pressure canner but everywhere that I'm reading is saying to use a water bath for pickles due to the high acidity. I didnt realize that water baths are recommended or else I would havr done that. Is my batch that I just did in the pressure canner going to turn out mushy? And for what length of time is recommended for canning pickles in a pressure canner?

Water bath is the preferred

By Almanac Staff

Water bath is the preferred method to pickle cucumbers. If you do them in a pressure cooker use 15PSI for about 15minutes.

I finally found a recipe for

By Shi

I finally found a recipe for pickled peppers that are supposed to be crunchy. Every batch I've ever made has been soft, which I hate. Can you tell me if this recipe would be safe as it omits the processing step?

:

Banana peppers, sliced into 1/3 inch rings & seeds removed (enough to fill 4 pint jars)
1/8 tsp of Ball’s Pickle Crisp Granules, per jar

For brine:
5 cups white distilled vinegar
1 cup water
4 tsp Canning and Pickling salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 whole cloves of garlic

Instructions:

1. Chop banana peppers and add to four sterilized pint jars. Tap jars on counter to pack peppers a bit tighter. Add 1/8 tsp of Pickle Crisp to each jar.

2. Mix brine ingredients, and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes. Meanwhile heat canning lids in boiling water.

3. After five minutes have passed, remove garlic. Keep brine at a boil. Working with one jar at a time pour brine into your jar. Again, tap on counter to remove bubbles and leave 1/2 inch of head space.

4. Wipe rim of jar clean, put on your hot lid from boiling water, and fasten with a ring.

5. Hold upside down for 10 seconds and put on a heat proof surface to seal.

6. Make sure all jars have sealed before storing

I use this method for all my

By Cory Nemeth

I use this method for all my pickling. I have never had a bad jar and they seem to be good for a long time. I do leave my jars upside down for at least a day on a towel just to be sure they are sealed. They then go into our "spider bedroom" (cold storage). A jar made Oct 2013 was opened in April 14 and we are still sporadically eating from that jar kept in the fridge today Aug 2014.

We left our cucumbers

By Adele Silva

We left our cucumbers overnight in a salt solution (bread and butter pickle)...should have only ben 1-1/2 hrs...is there something we can do to get all that extra salt out. Have been rinsing in cold water but cucumbers are still pretty salty!

"How salty" may be different

By Almanac Staff

"How salty" may be different for every palate but some sources indicate that an overnight soak is not too long. (Did you use the preferred pickling/canning salt or table/iodized salt??)

You might keep going with it (if you indeed still have the pickes when you read this). The sugar and vinegar and other ingredients may very well balance the salt and give you the desired result.

 

I was unable to get back to

By kdblake

I was unable to get back to my pickles and the cucumbers soaked in lime for almost 48 hours. Do I have to throw them out or is there anything I can do? I've rinsed them and am soaking them in fresh water in case the response is that they can be salvaged.
Thank you for your help!

Sorry it took so long to

By Almanac Staff

Sorry it took so long to respond, kd. We would have suggested that you continue making the pickles. Assuming by now (July 17) that you made a decision one way or the other...what did you do? and how did they come out?

I can understand boiling, par

By martinsigsworth

I can understand boiling, par boiling the veggies, and boiling the containers to make them sterile (jars)but I see recipes out there that say to boil the vinegar brine

What is the purpose of this (vinegar brine) boiling?

thanks

Boiling the brine helps the

By Almanac Staff

Boiling the brine helps the flavors to meld better.

I am trying to find a recipe

By Lisa Connor

I am trying to find a recipe for canning white cucumbers and am having no luck! Can you help?

Would this be the

By Almanac Staff

Would this be the cylindrical, white skinned heirloom 'White Wonder'? or perhaps white skinned 'Salt and Pepper'? Either of those would be fine as pickles. Use any pickling recipe you please.

Hello, can you tell me the

By Amanda Lindahl

Hello, can you tell me the primary differences between hot water canning and pressure canning. I want to try to make a variety of pickled vegetables as well as can my own fruit butters. I have read that some things should not be pressure canned, but not explanation as to why.

Thank you for your advice!

The safe way to process your

By Almanac Staff

The safe way to process your produce for shelf storage is by pressure canning. However, the USDA does not recommend pressure canning for kohlrabi, broccoli, brussels sprouts, wild mushrooms, cauliflower, summer squash, or rutabaga.

How long are unopened jars of

By Missy Crecelius

How long are unopened jars of pickled pickles good for?

If properly stored (i.e., in

By Almanac Staff

If properly stored (i.e., in a cool and dry place), sealed pickled jars can last one to two years.

Have saved several jars of

By Chuck Hoye

Have saved several jars of the juices of delicious high quality dill pickles (commercial brand, in Switzerland), and want to use the juices to prepare small batches of fresh pickled vegetables - just for a condiment for one meal, not for sterile storage etc. All the recipes I see are for longer term pickling.

What is the best procedure for the short term - just slice and store in the juices for a few days ... or ?

Thanks for advice.

Hi, Chuck- That is an

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Chuck-
That is an excellent use for leftover pickle juice! Simply slice, blanch, and add the veggies to your pickle juice and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, but overnight is even better.

Is there any reason I

By Jerry McKinstry

Is there any reason I shouldn't add the juice of a lime to a quart of peppers and onions when pickling? Does it effect the acidity at all?

Great idea, Jerry. Measure

By Almanac Staff

Great idea, Jerry. Measure out the amount of lime juice and then subtract that much vinegar from the recipe.

Hello, I forgot to add salt

By Alyssa

Hello,

I forgot to add salt to my pickled beets! I canned them and realized right after and put them in the fridge once they had cooled. They've been in the fridge for a few months now. Are they still edible or should I throw them out?

When you pickle vegetables,

By Almanac Staff

When you pickle vegetables, the preservative qualities of salt combine with the preservative qualities of vinegar to create an environment that will inhibit bacteria. Unfortunately, we recommend that you do not eat the beets.

HELP! I just started my

By christina angulo

HELP!
I just started my canning hobby this year and was super proud of my canning shelf. I got a zucchini relish recipe and made 8 jars! Well come to find out she forgot to tell me to add sugar!! They have been processed for about a month and I just found out. What can I do?

The sugar is added for the

By Almanac Staff

The sugar is added for the taste and texture. Your relish should be safe to eat if you used a vinegar brine and processed the jars.

what causes mustard pickles

By louise tucker

what causes mustard pickles to separate and go runny. How can I fix this problem

What kind of thickener does

By Almanac Staff

What kind of thickener does your recipe call for. Some older recipes use flour and others use Clear Jel. Compare your recipe to other mustard pickle recipes. Another suggestion is to put the veggies to be pickled in a brine overnight to draw out some of the excess water in the vegetables.

I had this problem a well!

By Shore girl on September 20

I had this problem a well! The first batch I made of mustard pickles turned out perfect. The second batch made 2 weeks later same recipe! What happened was cooked, canned, and three hours later they look to have an layer of clear liquid on top. Flour is my filler! Can I do anything to fix? Are these still eatable?

I have just canned my first

By tom b2

I have just canned my first hot peppers and jalapenos using the water bath method. However, my fiancee is on a diet that allows NO salt. Is it safe to can the reamainder if my harvest without salt???

Yes, you can pickle without

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can pickle without salt. There are many recipes online that are no-salt or sodium free. Good luck!

I would like to pickle

By kodiakheather

I would like to pickle kohlrabi and can in a way where they can be stored on the shelf in the pantry. The only recipes that I can find say to store in the refrigerator. Do you know of a safe way to process kohlrabi for shelf storage?

The safe way to process your

By Almanac Staff

The safe way to process your produce for shelf storage is by pressure canning. However, the USDA does not recommend pressure canning for kohlrabi, broccoli, brussels sprouts, wild mushrooms, cauliflower, summer squash, or rutabaga.

Can I store my veggies

By J'Marinde Shephard

Can I store my veggies prepped for canning in a large plastic covered cake pan? I am making mixed refrigerator "sandwich" pickle threads and I need something large enough to hold them as I work. I have wrist and hand issues that make me need LOTS of space to work in and something I can store in the refrig as I work. (I fill up my 4 C. Glass measure and then dump them into the container for mixing and storing as I continue my prep work.)
I am mixing fresh rutabaga, zucchini, green tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green pepper, green and wax beans, sugar snap peas, onion, carrots, etc. all julienned into threads that I will then dill pickle for use on sandwiches. Thank you for any help you can offer. Beautiful site!

Forgot to add the sugar to my

By LisaG

Forgot to add the sugar to my brine for sweet pickles. Already in jars and sealed. What do I do? Will they be safe to eat?

The sugar is added for the

By Almanac Staff

The sugar is added for the taste and texture. Your "sweet" pickles should be safe to eat if you used a vinegar brine and processed the jars.

I want to water bath can

By Wenda

I want to water bath can turnip greens... since I always add hot pepper sauce Vinegar that has hot sports peppers soaking in it)before eating, I was wondering if I could add peppers and vinegar to the blanched greens and then water bath for 30 or so mins. I cannot find anything on line, any help would be great.

We have never tried to use

By Almanac Staff

We have never tried to use vinegar with greens in canning. The recipes for canning that we have seen add a little bit of salt and fresh boiling water to the blanched greens in the jars before processing.

I am growing pickles, so they

By Patricia Turk

I am growing pickles, so they are not all ready at the same time. How do I store them until I have enough to can?

While it is best to pickle

By Almanac Staff

While it is best to pickle the cukes the day you cut them, you can keep them for up to 5 days. First, harvest the cukes early in the morning before the sun has a chance to warm them. Spritz the cukes with water and place in perforated bags that zip close. Keep them cool in the refrigerator for no longer than 5 days.

I have a pickle recipe I want

By Donna Hutchison

I have a pickle recipe I want to make, however it is for 10 pints of pickles, and I only want to make 5 pints. Can I safely cut all the ingredients in 1/2 ?

You can certainly cut the

By Almanac Staff

You can certainly cut the recipe in half, as long as you will have enough liquid to cover the cukes.

Thank you! I was a little

By Donna Hutchison

Thank you! I was a little concerned about doing this because I had read not to alter any proportions, and couldn't understand why, since I sometimes do this in my baking recipes. I have halved and made the pickles, and will find out tomorrow how well I did !

do you have to use sugar in

By charolette

do you have to use sugar in dill pickles?all reciepes I have has this in them .I cant eat sugar as i'm a diabetic and I don't like sweet pickles.

The sugar in dill pickles is

By Almanac Staff

The sugar in dill pickles is not included to make them sweet, it is intended to counteract the acidity. Try using a diabetic-friendly sugar substitute in place of the sugar. Make sure you check to see what the substitution ratio is; such as 1 cup of sugar = 1/2 sugar substitute.

Hi there, Just wondering what

By Natasha T

Hi there,
Just wondering what you mean by counteract the acidity? In terms of flavour/taste, or something else?
thanks

Yes, in terms of flavor,

By Almanac Staff

Yes, in terms of flavor, though sugar also has some preservative qualities.

Does anyone know when to

By shirley rife

Does anyone know when to pickle corn ,what mo. & days.

See our timetable for best

By Almanac Staff

See our timetable for best days to can or pickle here:
http://www.almanac.com/bestdays/timetable

Does anyone know the sign for

By Rachel63

Does anyone know the sign for making sauerkraut?

See the best days for making

By Almanac Staff

See the best days for making sauerkraut here: http://www.almanac.com/bestdays/timetable
In March, the next days are March 29 and 30.

Ok my great grandmother

By sethbeers

Ok my great grandmother always plant when its in the heart anyone know what shes talking about?

Your grandmother was

By Almanac Staff

Your grandmother was referring to the Man of Signs. The heart sign is Leo (the Moon's astrological place). The Moon's place will be in Leo between Oct. 9 and 11.
See the Man of Signs at www.almanac.com/content/man-signs-zodiac-man

I just had my stove burner

By Grandma Gayle

I just had my stove burner stop working in the middle of my dill bean water bath, now what. The water when I realized it wasn't boiling had gotten to 195 degrees. I left them in 30 minutes longer with that temp maintained, instead of 20 min. boiling. Does anyone know if I keep them in the refridgerator if the will be okay. I use equal part vinegar water for the brine. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks, been canning for years and never had this happen

Keep the dilly beans in the

By Almanac Staff

Keep the dilly beans in the refrigerator to be safe. They can be stored in the fridge for a couple of months.

Oh, my, kelelk. That does

By Janice Stillman

Oh, my, kelelk. That does leave you in a pickle. Salt is important to the flavor but, according to our sources, essential to the preservation of the pickles. In other words, without it, your relish might turn (go bad). First, taste it. If it is at all appealing, enjoy it now—or soon. It's probably not a good idea to give it away, no matter how much you have. Family and friends won't appreciate it if it turns on them. And keep whatever you have in the fridge. Check it, by tasting—or smelling—it everyday. When it does go bad, discard it.
If it's any consolation, I did this, too, a year or so ago. It's a huge disappointment (not to mention the time and fresh ingredients gone to nothing), but you seldom make the same mistake again.
The good news is, it's still not too late to buy a batch of cukes and start again. Good luck!

I made my first batch of

By kelelk

I made my first batch of relish and completely forgot the pickling salt! Is the relish now garbage?

I made some pickles (for the

By angjo22000

I made some pickles (for the first time) about 2 weeks ago. I followed a recipe online and the very last step was a 5 minute water bath which I overlooked. I kept the pickles in the jars for about a week before I realized that I forgot the last step. A neighbor thought it was okay to go ahead and do the water bath. I did it and they've been in the fridge ever since. I'm wondering if this ok, or should I be worried about my error?

To be safe keep the pickles

By Almanac Staff

To be safe keep the pickles in the refrigerator and eat them soon. Next time you make pickles make sure to put them in the water bath right after you put the lids on. Most pickle recipes require at least 10 minutes in the water bath.

I am looking for a way to

By Kammi Smith

I am looking for a way to make and can yellow mustard. I live old school so to speak and I make as much as I can home made but I haven't found a recipe to can yellow mustard does anyone have one. Thank you

Mustard does not need to be

By Almanac Staff

Mustard does not need to be canned. Most recipes use ground mustard seed and powder mixed with vinegar/wine and salt. Herbs and other spices can be added. Search for homemade mustard recipes online.

I'm growing jalapenos. What

By Nan Walker

I'm growing jalapenos. What is the best way to store for future use?

You can definitely preserve

By Catherine Boeckmann

You can definitely preserve jalapenos by canning or pickling! You can also freeze them. Cut into strips. Blanch in boiling water for 30 sec, plunge into ice water, then put in freezer bags.

How long will pickled peppers

By mchester

How long will pickled peppers last? How do you tell if they are bad?

Pickled peppers last about 12

By Catherine Boeckmann

Pickled peppers last about 12 months in a cool, dark place. You'll know if they're bad by the taste, believe me!

We have had Jalapenos last

By okusers

We have had Jalapenos last five years. The shelf life depends greatly on; #1 the quality of the fresh peppers and #2 preperation and #3 storage. Contact your local county home extension. They may have some publications for free about home canning.

Is it possible to use a

By grdn4bugs

Is it possible to use a pressure canner for making pickles? If so do you know the process time?

Yes, you can use the pressure

By priday

Yes, you can use the pressure canner vessel, but remove all the removable plugs and stoppers in the top of it, and use it as a boiling water bath canner--in other words do not build up pressure in it. Processing time would be the same as a BWB canner. You do not need to go out and buy a separate pot just to do the occasional boiling water canning.

The other answer is correct, you cannot process under pressure, but you can use the pot to boil the water in and the lid to cover it, just don't seal it up.

No, pressure canning will

By okusers

No, pressure canning will turn your pickles to mush. You must use a Water Bath (Boiling Water Canner) only. Be sure to process for the correct amount of time so you don't over or under cook them.

I must have lost the plot

By sussexman

I must have lost the plot somewhere in the distant past. I have been making pickles and chutneys for nigh on 50 years and have always used the crops that aren't fit for storing. This how they came into being in the first place. I never use a pickle or chutney until it is at least 12 months old.I have always followed the same practice. Make the chutney allow to cool put it in jars and store. I have never seen a pickle or chutney go off. I am eating chutney I made in 2005. It is a little thicker but still tastes great( orange and apricot chutney) As for exact measures it normally works out at about 1/2 pint of vinigar to every 1lb of fruit or veg plus whatever spices that suit you. Keeping it simple makes it more fun.
Sussexman
Dig a little, Dream a lot.

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