Making your own pickles at home can be rewarding. Once you prepare the pickles properly, you can store them in canning jars to use them throughout the year. Before you can store the pickles, the canning jars need to be sealed properly. Properly sealed canning jars kill harmful bacteria and they prevent contamination from forming, such as botulism. After you seal pickle jars properly, they will last up to 12 months.
Fill a water bath canner halfway full with water. Place the lid on it and place it over high heat on the hob to bring the water to a boil.
Fill a cooking pot with water and place it on the hob over high heat. Bring this water to a boil. You may need to add more boiling water to the water bath canner after you add the canning jars.
Pack whole or sliced raw cucumbers into sterilised pint-sized canning jars.
Pour the prepared and hot pickle solution over the cucumbers. Leave 1/4 inch of head space at the top of the canning jars.
Place the lid on the canning jars. Attach the screw ring to keep the lid in place.
Place the canning jars in the water bath canner. They must be covered with at least 1 inch of boiling water. Add more boiling water to the canner if necessary.
Boil the pickles for 10 minutes, or slightly longer or shorter depending on your altitude. A pint-sized jar will need to be boiled at an altitude between 0 and 1,000ft. for 10 minutes, or the jars will need to be boiled at an altitude between 1,001 to 6,000ft. for 15 minutes. Follow the instructions that come with your canner to ensure that you use it properly.
Remove the pickle jars from the water-bath canner with jar tongs. Place the jars on a towel spread out on a flat surface away from drafts. Do not allow the jars to touch or bump each other.
Check the jars to ensure that they are sealed properly. Press the centre of the canning jar lids carefully once they cool completely. If the lid makes a popping noise or if it dents, then the jar did not seal. Refrigerate the jars that did not seal, and store the sealed jars in a dark and cool location.
Write the date on the lids with a permanent marker to ensure that you use the oldest jars first.
Always check the jars to ensure that they are sealed before you use the pickles. Throw away pickles that contain mould or a foul odour to prevent illness.