Looking for Making Home-made Sweet Pickles - Easy, Fully Illustrated Instructions and Recipe! in 2023? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above. If you are having a hard time finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.
Yield: 7 to 9 pint jars
Click here for a PDF print version
Making and canning your own sweet pickles the old-fashioned way, with all natural ingredients has never been easier!! Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this! It's a great thing to do with your kids! May be canned as either strips or slices. This is the quick version, there is also a 14-day recipe.
Be sure to read all the directions first - there are a couple of options and variations at the end, if you want to make firmer pickles (it's a trade-off; it takes more work!)
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality cucumbers!
At right is a of picture cucumbers from my garden - they are SO easy to grow. But be sure to grow the varieties that are labeled "pickling cucumbers" - they will be much more crisp!
The picture at right shows a good cucumber for pickling (bottom) and a bad one (top). The good one is dark green, firm, and not bloated. It has lots of warts!
The bad one is overripe, it has yellow or white areas in the skin, and the warts are almost all gone. If you cut it open, you will see developed seeds. You don't want seeds!
Overripe cucumbers make mushy pickles.
It takes about 3 or 4 cucumbers to fill a pint jar. Each cucumber is about 4 - 5 inches long and you will cut off the ends so they will fit with 1/4-inch to spare..
The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. I get that going while I'm preparing everything else, so it's done by the time I'm ready to fill the jars. If you don't have a dishwasher, submerge the jars in a large pot (the canner itself) of water and bring it to a boil.
Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap!
Fill the canner about 1/2 full of water and start it heating (with the lid on).
Put the lids into the small pot of boiling water for at least several minutes. Note: everything gets sanitized in the water bath (step 7) anyway, so this just helps to ensure there is no spoilage later!)
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the cucumbers in plain cold water.
You will need to cut a 1/16-inch slice off the blossom end of the cucumbers and discard, but you can leave the stem end and 1/4-inch of the stem attached, or slice it off, as you prefer. Then cut the cukes into 3/16-inch slices, cross-wise.
Place the sliced cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup salt. Cover with 2 inches of crushed or cubed ice. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. Add more ice as needed.
Drain and discard the liquid.
Combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, allspice, and mustard seed in 6-quart or larger pot. Heat to boiling.
Fill sterile pint jars, with pickles and cover with hot syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Variation: Add 2 slices of raw whole onion to each jar before filling with cucumbers.
Note about Pickle Mixes
To interject a crass commercial here - hey, I've got to pay for the website somehow :) I have found the best (crispest, best tasting) pickles from a mix are with the "Mrs. Wages Polish Dill Refrigerator Pickle Mix" They REALLY are good AND you don't need a canner - you store them in your fridge right after making them. They're ready to eat in 24 hours! Our affiliate sells the mixes (and at really good prices, too)
Whether you want dills or sweet pickles; canning them or straight into the refrigerator; there is a mix for every taste and need here!Get them all here, delivered direct to your home, at the best prices on the internet! Get everything you need to make pickles: mixes, salt, brine, etc. here!
Adjust lids and process according to one of the two methods below. The first method is easiest, but the second method yields firmer pickles:
a. Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Boil them for 10-15 minutes - see the table below (or as directed by the instructions with your canner). Remember to adjust for altitudes (see below) and larger jars!
|Table 1. Recommended process time for Quick Sweet Pickles in a boiling-water canner.|
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
b. OR use this low-temperature pasteurization treatment:.
The following treatment results in a better product texture but must be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage.
Place jars in a canner filled half way with warm (120º to 140ºF) water.
Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars.
Heat the water enough to maintain 180 to 185ºF water temperature for 30 minutes.
Check with a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180ºF during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185ºF may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
When can you start eating the pickles? Well, it takes some time for the seasonings to be absorbed into the pickles. After processing and cooling, jars should be stored 4 to 5 weeks to develop ideal flavor. Ah... the wait...
(replace steps 4 to 8 above with these steps instead)
1. Wash cucumbers.
2. Cut 1/16-inch off blossom end and discard. Cut into 3/16-inch slices.
3. Mix 1 cup pickling lime and 1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon water in a 2- to 3-gallon crock or enamelware container. Avoid inhaling lime dust while mixing the lime-water solution.
4. Soak cucumber slices in lime water for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. I keep them in the fridge during this time.
5. Remove from lime solution, rinse, and resoak 1 hour in fresh cold water.
6. Repeat the rinsing and soaking steps two more times. Handle carefully, as slices will be brittle.
7. Drain well.
This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home
Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA,
Reviewed May 2009.
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Sweet Gherkin Pickles - makes 6 - 7 pint jars, 16 oz each*
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2023||Source||Subtotal|
|Cucumbers - tiny!||30-36 per pint jar||free from the garden, or $6.00 at a PYO||Pick your own||$6.00|
|Canning jars (pint size, wide mouth), includes lids and rings||7 jars||$8.50/dozen pint jars||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$4.95|
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Pickling salt||11/4 cups||$2.00||Safeway,
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Dill (fresh or seed)||7 heads||I grow it, otherwise, I'd use the seed from the grocery: $2.00||Safeway,
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Pickle spices||2 Tablespoons||$2.00 per package, sp about $0.50||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$0.50|
or about $2.38 per jar INCLUDING the jars - which you can reuse!
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles,, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning. For example, Classico Spaghetti sauce is in quart sized jars that work with Ball and Kerr lids and rings. Note that the Classico's manufacturer does not recommend reuse of their jars: see what they have to say on this page:
This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning,"
Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2006.
Reviewed May 2009.
These are my favorite essential canning tools, books and supplies. I've been using many of these for over 50 years of canning! The ones below on this page are just the sampling of. my preferred tools. but you can find much more detailed and extensive selections on the pages that are linked below.
This is THE book on canning! My grandmother used this book when I was a child.; It tells you in simple instructions how to can almost anything; complete with recipes for jam, jellies, pickles, sauces, canning vegetables, meats, etc.
If it can be canned, this book likely tells you how! Click on the link below for more information and / or to buy (no obligation to buy)The New Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving
Canning and Preserving for Dummies by Karen Ward
This is another popular canning book. Click here for more information, reviews, prices for Canning and Preserving For Dummies
Of course, you do not need to buy ANY canning book as I have about 500 canning, freezing, dehydrating and more recipes all online for free, just see Easy Home Canning Directions.
I have several canners, and my favorite is the stainless steel one at right. It is easy to clean and seems like it will last forever. Mine is 10 years old and looks like new.
The black ones are the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce.
This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, Jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. It's only missing the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book.
You will never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)!
The complete list of canners is on these pages:
If you plan on canning non-acidic foods and low acid foods that are not pickled - this means: meats, seafood, soups, green beans corn, most vegetables, etc., then you ABSOLUTELY must use a Pressure Canner.
Of course, you can use a pressure canner as a water bath canner as well - just don't seal it up, so it does not pressurize. This means a Pressure Canner is a 2-in-1 device. With it, you can can almost ANYTHING.
There are also other supplies, accessories, tools and more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
From left to right:
Don't spend money on books. that you don't need to. Almost everything you can find in some book sold online or in a store is on my website here for free. Start with theEasy Home Canning Directions below. That is a master list of canning directions which are all based upon the Ball Bblue book, the National Center for Home Food Preservation and other reputable lab tested recipes. Almost every recipe I present in addition to being lab tested com. is in a step by step format with photos for each step and complete. explanations. that tell you how to do it, where to get the supplies and pretty much everything you need to know. In addition, there almost always in a PDF format so you can print them out and use them while you cook.
most recent version of
the Ball Blue Book