Skip the peck of pickled peppers—we’d rather feast on a peck of pickled cucumbers! If you want your pickles to keep for a while, you need to know how to can cucumbers. Luckily for you, we’ve got the inside scoop on all things canning: How to can dill pickles, how to can bread and butter pickles, and simply how to make pickles. If you don’t have the patience for making pickles and canning them, we can also teach you how to make easy refrigerator pickles that are ready to eat in no time. We see a lot of sandwiches topped with pickled cucumbers in your future!
Crispy, crunchy homemade pickles are within your reach! This pickled cucumber recipe makes 6 pints of homemade pickles, so you'll have plenty for stacking on sandwiches in the months to come. In addition to your canning supplies and equipment, here's what you'll need to make them:
Thoroughly scrub the cucumbers. Remove the stems and the blossoms, and slice off the blossom ends. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise into quarters.
Tip: If small pickling cucumbers aren’t available, cut regular garden cucumbers into 4-inch spears. If you purchase cucumbers to pickle, be sure they haven’t been coated in wax, which impedes the pickling process.
In a 4- to 5-quart stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy pot combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and pickling salt. Bring the mixture to boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Pack the cucumber spears loosely into six hot sterilized pint canning jars, leaving a ½-inch headspace. Add 1 tablespoon of dill seeds to each jar.
Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cucumbers, maintaining the ½-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims; adjust the lids and screw bands. Process the filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when the water returns to boiling). Remove the jars from the canner and cool on wire racks. Let stand at room temperature for 1 week before serving.
Uunlike dill pickles, bread and butter pickles are a type of sweet pickle made with thin-sliced cucumbers. As their name suggests, they’re popular on sandwiches and burgers (anything with bread, really). You can mix up the spices and seasonings you use to give your pickles different flavors, but if you’re new to the pickling game, you can start with our classic recipe:
Step 1: Combine the cucumbers, onions, pickling salt, and garlic. Add 2 inches of cracked ice. Refrigerate for 3 hours; drain well and remove the garlic.
Step 2: In a large kettle combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, turmeric, and celery seed. Heat the mixture to boiling. Add the cucumber mixture. Return to boiling. Pack the cucumber mixture and liquid into hot sterilized pint jars, leaving a ½-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and adjust the lids.
Step 3: Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when the water returns to boiling).
If you don’t have time to wait a week and want to start enjoying your pickles now, don’t despair! Instead of going through the entire canning process, try refrigerator pickles instead. Refrigerator pickles won’t keep nearly as long as canned pickles will, but you can start enjoying them a lot sooner. Just follow this easy pickle recipe:
Step 1: In a large bowl combine cider vinegar, sugar, salt, fennel seeds, and celery seeds. Stir in the cucumbers and chopped fennel.
Step 2: Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. Serve with a slotted spoon (makes about 3 cups of pickles).