Pickling - The Basics

Pickling - The Basics

Pickling can be daunting. Our goal is take the fear out of it, so YOU TOO can pickle!

Following is a comprehensive pickling recipe that is good for cucumbers, carrots, asparagus, beans, peppers and so much more. It is written assuming you will have your family or friends come together to "process" a large amount. Ratios are the key. If less, smaller amounts but the principles don't change. Note that there is no sugar either!  

Step 1

Clean the veggies - Make sure hands are washed before doing.
• Cucumbers: Use a scrub brush or cloth, rub off all the dirt and any grime. If you see bad bits cut it out like you would a potato. If the whole things looks bad or there is too much that doesn’t look good toss the veggie.
• Carrots: scrub then peel them. If you see bad bits cut them off or toss the whole thing.
• Beans: wash them, cut off the vine part.
• Peppers: wash them and take off any tough part of the stem. If there is bad parts cut out or toss the whole thing.

Step 2

Prep the veggies
• Cucumbers: leave whole and don’t cut.  Put in separate bin/basket.
• Carrots: Cut down to size using a chop stick as measurement. Take a chop stick. Put it in the jar. Mark a line on it, 2 inches below the base of the jar.  Put in separate bin/basket.
• Beans: Should be small enough that they don’t need to be cut down.  Put in separate bin/basket.
• Peppers: Leave whole or slice. Put in separate bin/basket.
• Garlic: smash it, cut off the tip and peel. You may need to switch gloves often. Put in separate bowl.
• Dill: Cut the heads off the top of stocks and place in giant bowl. If a part looks bad but it off or if the whole head looks bad toss it.
• Jalapenos or serrano peppers: cut off end and then slice in half. Place in large bowl

Step 3

Start these items once almost done with previous steps.
• Brine: Designate only one person to make the brine. That is their sole job, brine and then filing cans with brine.
Note: Only double the batch, do not triple and do not pour leftover brine into other batches. Single batch listed below.

  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 quart apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup canning salt

Bring to a low simmer, wait till the salt is dissolved and then turn burner to low.
You should be ready to pack jars as soon as the brine is ready. The longer it sits the more salt it gets and this starts messing with the PH balance which is bad.
• Start warming jars: Put jars in a stock pot with water. Bring to a simmer to warm them. Make sure there is a dummy rack at the bottom so jars are not in contact with the bottom of pot. This can lead the jars cracking while packing, while canning or at the end of process. Use the BBQ black gloves to pull out jars or tongs.

Step 4

Clean up and get ready to pack. You should still be waiting for the items in Step 3 to finish.
Full wipe down with bleach tables.
Clear everything away.
Set up several groups of bowls with all items on the tables.

  • Garlic
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Dill

Set out the recipe next to each grouping of spices (Pickles, carrots and beans only)

  • 2 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1 at the bottom of jar before packing
  • 1 at the top of jar after fully packed
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 on bottom of jar before packing
  • 2 on top of jar after fully packed
  • 3 dill heads
  • 2 on bottom of jar before packing
  • 1 on top of jar after fully packed. **make sure you really shove it down there so that it doesn’t float up when you pour in brine.
  • 1-2 halves of jalapeno packed in with the veggies.

Step 5

Packing Jars - make sure you’re wearing gloves
Do not pack more than the # of jars that can go in canner. So running two you only pack 14 jars. Once the canners are almost done (5 mins) start packing the next set of 7-14.

Step 6

Filling Jars**Make sure you’re wearing gloves
• Use a smaller glass measuring cup and pour brine in till the rim, about 1 inch from top. 
• Once full, take a clean wet wash cloth. Wipe the top of rim and outer rim.
• Place lid on top without touching the rim with hands. **use magnetic sticks.
• Place on rim, screw down to finger tight. Don’t over tighten, just finger tight.
• We take the 7 packed jars, fill them and then do the above steps. Then into the canner.

Step 7

Water bath canner
• Designate one person to only operate and manage the canners. They will run the timers and let everyone know when its time to start packing more jars.
• Pull the racks up so that the handles hang on the edge.
• Place all 7 jars on the rack.
Place a jar on one side then another on the opposite, and so on and so forth till full.
Use the hose to fill the canner till the water touches the bottom ¼ -1/2 inch of the jars.
Bring the canner to a boil.
Drop the rack so that all jars are submerged. Make sure jars are at least covered by 1 inch of water.
Wait for the canner to come to a FULL ROLLING boil.
Set processing time.**Every year check your processing times. These change each year depending on the make up of each veggie. If you do tomatoes it even gets specific based on type.

  • Pickles 15 mins
  • Carrots 20 mins
  • Beans 10 mins

Step 8

Pull jars out of canner
• Once timer is up pull from canner using jar tongs.
• Place jars in carrying container or onto counter/table
• Pull out of container, place on clean table in clean area. **DO NOT press on top. This could create a false seal.
• Toss any broken jars in the trash.
o If particulates in the water, toss all the water before starting a new batch.

Step 9

• Wait 24 hrs
• Go around and tough the top of each jar to test for seal. Any that did not seal make sure you put in the refrigerator right away. Good for 3 months in fridge!
• Mark year on top of each jar.

Misc "pro tips"

If you touch your face, new pair.
If you touch your phone, new pair.
If they get grimy or sticky, new pair.
Bathroom, new pair.
If you going from cutting veggies to packing jars, new pair before packing.

Everyday Pickling Spice Blend
2 T each peppercorn, mustard seed, coriander seed, pepper flake, allspice berries, whole clove.
1 T each ground mace, ginger.
2 small cinnamon sticks
24 bay leaves

Combine in a jar and put in your spice cabinet and take out whenever. It most likely would never really go bad!

Pickled Red Onions
1/2 sliced red onion
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 t salt
2 T sugar

Bring entire mess to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes. Strain and let cool. Serve over your favorite salad, taco, or whatever.

Irish Mike’s Bloody Mary

1 1/2 t J Wilbur Foods Bloody Mary Mix (buy on Amazon)
2 oz Vodka
1 small can favorite tomato juice (approximately 5 oz)
Splash Worcestershire and Tabasco and brine from pickling liquid

Garnish with whatever you like but something pickled ALWAYS works!

Leave a comment