How to Make Homemade Pickles

Written by ehow food & drink editor
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You can make your favorite dill, bread-and-butter or sweet pickles right at home. This can be a fun project for any pickle lover. Almost any fruit or vegetable can be pickled, but here is the basic procedure for making cucumber pickles.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pickling cucumbers
  • New glass canning jars with lids
  • Canning pot
  • Pickling spice
  • Glass saucepan
  • White vinegar
  • Lid lifter

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  1. 1

    Choose "pickling" cucumbers that are dark green and not yellowish. Cucumbers with lighter skin are overripe, which makes mushy pickles. Pick at least four or five firm cucumbers to fill a glass jar. The number of cucumbers and jars will vary depending on how many pickles you want to make.

  2. 2

    Wash the cucumbers in cold water. Cut a one-quarter inch slice off each end of the cucumbers. You can keep them whole, or slice them into lengths to make spears. Leave the skin on the cucumbers.

  3. 3

    Sterilize your jars and lids in the dishwasher or in a pot of boiling water. Prepare another pot to sterilize the lids. Fill a canner pot with water, cover it and heat it to 135 degrees F on the stove top.

  4. 4

    Simmer the pickling spice with one or two cups of white distilled vinegar in a glass or enamel-coated saucepan. The prepackaged pickling spice consists of allspice, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, coriander, peppercorns and mustard seeds. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes.

  5. 5

    Pack the cucumbers into the jars. Fill the jars with the hot mixture of pickling spice and vinegar. Put the lids on the jars.

  6. 6

    Add the jars of cucumbers into the canner and add at least an inch of water. Sterilize the jars of cucumbers in the canner by boiling them in the water, with the lids on, for 5 to 10 minutes. This prevents the pickles from spoiling.

  7. 7

    Use a lid lifter to take the pickle jars out of the water. Place the jars in a cool place, such as your pantry, to allow the pickles to absorb the seasoning. Wait between 24 hours and two weeks to get the best pickle flavor. They will be ready to eat after this time period.

Tips and warnings

  • This homemade recipe yields dill, kosher or bread-and-butter pickles. Sweet pickles follow the same steps, but are made with sugar, apple-cider vinegar, pickling spice and water.
  • Avoid using a metal pot when simmering the pickling spice and vinegar. Uncoated metal can react with the vinegar and create a cloudy pickle solution, which can interfere with the pickles' taste.

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