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How to Pickle Cucumbers

Created January 10, 2017
Homemade pickles aren’t as tricky to make you may think. Follow along with our five-step guide to make and preserve your own pickles.
finished pickles

Five steps are all it takes to process humble cucumbers into delicious, bread and butter pickles. These sweet and savory pickles make for a great homemade gift, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t advise you to keep a jar (or three) for your own pantry for picnics, potlucks or to top off your favorite sandwich.

What you’ll need:

  • 5 quarts (20 cups) thinly sliced unpeeled unwaxed medium cucumbers
  • 6 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup pickling or canning salt
  • Ice cubes
  • 4 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Large glass bowl or other nonreactive container (must be plastic, ceramic, glass or stainless steel)
  • Boiling water canner
  • Strainer
  • 3-quart saucepan
  • 6 1-quart preserving jars with lids and bands
  • Canning jar lifter or tongs

How to:

1. In large glass bowl, mix cucumbers, onions and garlic. Sprinkle with pickling salt and cover with layer of ice cubes; mix lightly. Let this stand for 3 hours. Meanwhile, fill boiling water canner half full with water; heat until water is simmering.

2. Drain cucumber mixture well with a strainer; discard garlic. Pack cucumber and onion slices loosely into jars.

draining cucumber mixture

3. In 3-quart saucepan, mix sugar, vinegar, seeds and turmeric. Heat to boiling. Gently pour vinegar mixture into jars, filling until there is ½-inch space at the top.

pouring mixture into jars

4. Place flat lids on jars and screw bands on tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner; lower rack into canner. To process pickles safely, water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; add additional boiling water if necessary. Cover. Heat to boiling; continue boiling 10 minutes.

jars in boiling water

5. Carefully remove jars with canning jar lifter or tongs and place upright on towel. Cool completely.

pulling jars out with tongs

Expert tips:

  • After 24 hours, check seal on cooled jars by pressing middles of lids with finger. If the lids spring back, jars are not sealed and must be stored in refrigerator.
  • Store completely sealed unopened jars in a cool, dry place up to a year. Once opened, store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.
  • Use only fresh, blemish-free cucumbers and onions.

Ways to use: