This is your step by step guide to canning pickles, specifically dill pickles. Really this guide could be for any flavor pickle if you change up the recipe.
My garden is overflowing with cucumbers right now, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try canning pickles.
I’ve seen refrigerator recipes that are good for about two months, but I really wanted mine to be shelf-stable so we could have homemade pickles year-round.
I simplified the home canning process as much as possible since it can already be pretty time-consuming. I made dill pickles this time, but I am thinking I’ll try bread and butter or relish next time. If you have any delicious recipes for those, send them my way!
You’re going to need some supplies before we get started—
Soup Pot or something similar
You will need a large pot that can fit multiple jars and that is also tall enough to cover each jar with about an inch of water when boiling.
Used to heat the sealing lids.
Used to make your pickle brine.
I bought these. The size preference is up to you. They will be shelf-stable for about a year, but once you open the jar, you should eat it within two months. Keep in mind the height of your soup pot when purchasing your jars.
Wire canning rack
When canning in a pot, you can’t sit the jars directly onto the bottom or you risk shattering them. To create some separation, you can use a wire canning rack. I used a rack from my InstantPot. You can also DIY out of aluminum foil – thanks to The Kitchn for this idea. OR you can use extra jar lids and a tea towel – which I learned from A Better Way to Thrive.
This handy tool is a necessity for moving hot jars around.
Air Bubble Tool
You can use this tool, but I just use a butterknife. It removes all the air bubbles from your jar so you know you have enough liquid in them.
The salt is used first to draw out moisture, and then to add flavor. You shouldn’t use regular table salt for this.
Used when drawing out the moisture to increase crispness.
Since this was my first time making pickles, I bought Ball’s premixed pickle blend. You can buy any flavors that you’d like, but this made it super simple for a first-timer.
You’ll only need fresh dill if you’re making dill pickles.
I am obsessed with garlic. I used whole cloves in each jar because I love the flavor. Take it or leave it.
Standard 5% white vinegar is the most recommended, but you can experiment with different flavors.
I use Zulka Morena brand sugar. It is less processed and Vegan. Did you know most white sugar isn’t Vegan because it is filtered through bone char? Sounds like an unnecessary step to me.
Of course, cucumbers will become your pickles!
Alright, now that you have everything to get started.
Prep the cucumbers
- Wash and slice your cucumbers into spears or chips.
- Place cucumbers into a container or your sink and cover with salt, mixing up a bit to make sure each piece is salted.
- Cover the salted cucumbers in ice and let sit for at least 3 hours. This can be done overnight as well.
Make the brine — my recipe for filling 12, 12 oz jars.
- 5 cups of water
- 5 cups of vinegar
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of canning salt
- Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil.
Prep the jars
- Warm sealing lids in a saucepan (just simmer, don’t boil) and keep them warm until ready to use.
- Add the rack and water to your Soup pot.
- Submerge and boil the jars to sanitize them.
Fill the jars
- Gather flavoring ingredients of choice.
- Pull a jar out (only one at a time) using a jar lifter.
- Add 1tsp canning spice mix, one spring of fresh dill, and garlic clove to bottom of the jar.
- Fill the jar with cucumber slices.
- Use a ladle or funnel to pour pickling brine into the jar leaving 1/2 inch at the top.
- Use a butter knife or other tool to remove air from the jar by sliding it down into the sides of the jar and slightly wiggling.
- Add more liquid to the jar if needed to fill it 1/2 inch from the top
- Wipe the top of jar clean
- Pull sealing lid from the warm water and place it on top of the jar.
- Put a metal ring around the top of the jar until hand tight. Don’t not over-tighten as bubbles will escape jar during canning.
- Repeat until all jars are filled. Work quickly, you need jars to be warm when returning to the soup pot.
Canning the pickles
- Return your jars to the soup pot making sure they are covered by an inch of water.
- Bring water to a boil. Boil time will depend on jar sizes. I boiled mine for 10 mins using 12 oz jars.
- Remove jars from the pot. Do not tip them or dry them. Just sit on a towel or mat where they will be out of the way for the next 24 hours.
- The jars will slowly “pop” throughout the night creating a seal.
Wait least 2 weeks to let the cucumbers turn to pickles then enjoy. Since you “canned”, the jars should be shelf-stable for about a year if unopened and about 2 months once opened.