How to Make Homemade Pickles {Tutorial}

How to Make Homemade Pickles--awesome step-by-step tutorial for making homemade pickles.  Easy to follow even if you've never made them before!When I was pregnant with Trouble, my best friend Alysha gave me a basket of homemade goodies for Christmas, including a jar of pickles she had canned herself.  It was all good, but those pickles were the best thing I had ever tasted and I ate the entire jar in one sitting.  I couldn’t stop.  And then I asked for another jar.  And another.  And thus began a lifelong (well, okay, 3 year) obsession with homemade pickles.

Since then I have begged, pleaded, & even cried to her and all my other pickle-making friends for more pickles.  I have to avoid farmer’s markets because if I see them for sale, I am compelled to pay $6 a jar, and while normal people may stop at one jar, I will buy as many jars as I have cash in my wallet.

And I know what you’re thinking:  Why not just learn how to make your own homemade pickles?

I’ll tell you why.  It’s because of this man right here.  This mean, mean, horrible man:

He was afraid I would poison us.  Also, knowing my tendency to lean towards overdoing, well, everything, he was also afraid I would go completely overboard and fill our house with 5,000 mason jars, pressure cookers, lids, utensils, cookbooks, and all the other canning “essentials.”

So he said no, absolutely not.

Even when friends gave me pickling books for Christmas and my birthday, he said no.

Even as, through the years, I collected my very own little collection of mason jars and rings, refusing to throw away even a single one, he said no.

Until one day I met this girl:

McKenzie was tragically born about 7 decades too late, but the girl can pickle & ca like nobody’s business.  And when she heard my sad story she took it upon herself to throw a pickling extravaganza–complete with chocolate martinis– with the sole purpose of teaching me, once and for all, how to make homemade pickles.

Before I go any further,  let me just say….Best. Night. Ever.   Pickles rock my world!

And who knew they were SO easy?

Without further ado, here is how to make homemade pickles:

1.  Sterilize your jars.  Heat a big pot of boiling water, then carefully lower your jars into the water using a jar lifter.   Let them boil for at least 5 minutes, then lift them out and place them on a clean dry towel.

2.  Prepare your vegetables.  If you plan to make a lot of sliced pickles (or other sliced vegetables), a salad shooter is definitely a worthwhile investment–so easy and fun to use!  Be sure to peel lots of garlic too.

3. In a separate pot, boil your vinegar mixture.  Mix 2 cups water with 2 cups vinegar and 1/4 cup salt.  (You can double or triple this if necessary.)

How to Make Homemade Pickles--awesome step-by-step tutorial for making homemade pickles.  Easy to follow even if you've never made them before!

4.  Fill your jars.  For basic dill pickles, just pack cucumbers into the jar with a few springs of dill and garlic cloves.  Pack them in as tight as you can, but try not to touch the inside of the jar.  For sweet pickles or other variations, it helps to have a pickling or canning cookbook, but you can just experiment if you prefer.  You can pickle other vegetables too–we did a few jars of jalepenos, peppers, radishes, cauliflower, & hot carrots (with jalepenos) in addition to the cucumbers.

How to Make Homemade Pickles--awesome step-by-step tutorial for making homemade pickles.  Easy to follow even if you've never made them before!

5.  Place the jar lids in the boiling water to sterilize them.

6.  Place funnel over jar and carefully ladle vinegar mixture over pickles until full.  Retrieve a lid from the boiling water using a magnetized grabber, then carefully place it on the jar and screw ring on to hold it in place.  Repeat until all jars are filled.

7.  Use jar lifter to place filled jars back in boiling water.  Boil for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool.

How to Make Homemade Pickles--awesome step-by-step tutorial for making homemade pickles.  Easy to follow even if you've never made them before!

 8.  Wait for the lids to pop as they cool.  Once they’ve popped, you know they are sealed.   When you tap the tops of the lids you will be able to hear the difference between the sealed lids (a dull sound) and the unsealed lids (more of a tinny sound.)  Wait 30 days for your pickles to ferment.  (This is the hardest part!) If, for some reason, you don’t hear a pop when you open them then don’t eat them!

How to Make Homemade Pickles--awesome step-by-step tutorial for making homemade pickles.  Easy to follow even if you've never made them before!

 Can you believe how easy that is?   And they make such cute gifts–I am pretty sure that everyone I know will be getting pickles for Christmas this year!  What about y’all–have you ever made homemade pickles or done your own canning?  If so, do you have a favorite recipe or special tricks?

P.S.  Thanks again McKenzie…..I owe you big time! :-)

Linking to Mop it Up Mondays, Made by You Monday

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{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Debbie August 23,

    Oh my gosh! I just wrote up a big ole post about my canning and gardening this year so far! IT has by far exceeded my expectations and I’m having so much fun!

    Here’s all the details: http://learningtospendlessandsavemore.blogspot.com/2012/08/gardening-canning-oh-my.html

    but I’ve canned so much, I’ve lost count everything from tomatoes to pickles to beets to green beans! Even made some cowboy candy!

    Reply
    • Ruth August 29,

      Wow Debbie, your garden looks AMAZING! I am so impressed! And all that canning….I am such a newbie! :-)

      Reply
  • Alysha Ritter August 23,

    I am so happy you got to make pickles!

    Reply
    • Ruth August 29,

      Thanks Alysha. :-) That doesn’t mean you can stop sending them though!

      Reply
  • Hallie August 24,

    I have always wanted to learn how to make pickles too. How fun that you got together with friends to do it! It does look pretty easy…..maybe I’ll finally have to give it a try. Thanks for the post!

    Reply
    • Ruth August 29,

      We had so much fun…I HIGHLY recommend a pickling party! I can’t wait until our next one!

      Reply
  • Sandra August 24,

    YUM!!! Those look SO DELICIOUS!!!!!! Can you add me to your Christmas list??!!!!

    Reply
    • Ruth August 29,

      I’ll see what I can do. ;-)

      Reply
  • Tricia Brown August 24,

    I tried making pickles for the first time this summer too, but made the refrigerator variety. They were really delicious and I can’t wait to try it this way. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    • Ruth August 29,

      I’ve never tried refrigerator pickles–how are they different from regular ones?

      Reply
      • Angela March 21,

        It’s basically the same, but easier because there’s no canning involved. Make your brine, slice your cucumbers (or other veggie) put it all in the jar together as you did, screw on the lid & put into the refrigerator. My family eat them so fast I leave the brine in the jar (BIG) & continue adding veggies to pickle for a couple weeks or more. They are of the sweet variety though, not dill. I haven’t tried it with dill yet.

        Reply
  • Claire August 25,

    Those look SO good!!! We have a very festive cucumber plant out back – will have to try this!
    THanks Ruth!

    Reply
    • Ruth August 29,

      You’re welcome Claire! Let me know how they turn out! :-)

      Reply
  • Nell June 27,

    Oh,they look so delicious!Yum!Doesn’t it matter if the jars or lids are wet while closing them?I thought they need to be completely dry so they will seal properly..I would love to learn canning my own vegetables..

    Reply
  • Tiffany July 8,

    Can you use whole cucumbers? If so, is the fermenting time longer?

    Reply
  • christa sterken August 6,

    I have always wanted to try canning. tell me please, what danger was your husband worried about? I don’t know what to watch out for :)

    Reply
  • Anonymous December 29,

    How do you do pickled carrots? My kids love them, but I can’t find a good recipe.

    Reply
  • Anonymous June 17,

    I can’t seem to find fresh dill here. Do you know how much dried dill seed I would need to use to replace the fresh dill? I have looked high and low for a good dill pickle recipe. I am definitely going to give this a try!

    Reply

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