How to Make Homemade, Refigerator (no-Canning_Needed) Dill Pickles or Bread and Butter Pickles - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
This month's notes: April 2015: Spring IS here! Strawberries and blueberries each have a very brief season; don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions
Subscribe to our: Email alerts; Follow us on Twitter Add this page to your favorites! - Email this page to a friend, or to yourself
Making Homemade No-Canning Needed Refrigerator Dill Pickles or Bread-and-Butter Pickles
Making your own pickles, gherkins, kosher dills, bread and butter, sweet pickles, etc. is one of the easiest things you can do with your own cucumbers when you use the no-canning - refrigerator method! Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. This method requires NO special equipment! It is much faster than the old method your grandmother used with tons of pickling salt and de-scumming the brine! Ugh! This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this! It's a great thing to do with your kids! These pickles MUST be stored in the refrigerator at all times, so if you'd rather make canned pickles that can be stored on a room temperature shelf, see this page!
Other Types of Pickles
Refrigerated dills are typically cucumbers soaked for 1 week in a salt brine and then stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Our method is a bit easier. Fridge pickles must be kept in the fridge, not stored at room temperature, but they are more crisp that traditional canned pickles. Other types of pickles include:
Other types are:
- Fresh-pack (or quick process) pickles are cured for several hours in a vinegar solution or are immediately combined with hot vinegar, spices, and seasonings. Examples include dills, bread-and-butter pickles and pickled beets. See this page for Quick Process pickle directions.
- Fermented pickles are vegetables soaked in a brine solution for 4 to 6 weeks. During this time, lactic acid bacteria, naturally present on the surface of vegetables, grows. Other microbes are inhibited by salt. The color of the vegetables changes from bright green to olive/yellow-green, and the white interior becomes translucent. Examples include dill pickles and sauerkraut. See this page, if you'd rather make fermented pickles.
- Fruit pickles are whole or sliced fruit simmered in a spicy, sweet-sour syrup. Examples include spiced peaches and crabapples. See this page for directions to make spiced peaches!
- Relishes are made from chopped fruits or vegetables that are cooked to a desired consistency in a spicy vinegar solution. Examples include corn relish and horseradish. See this page for cucumber pickle relish directions!
- NEW! Low salt / reduced salt dill pickles.
Ingredients and Equipment
Yield: Makes 6 pint jars
- Cucumbers - fresh, crisp - not wilted, soft or overripe!
- Refrigerator Pickling mix - It usually goes for about $2.00 to $4.00 per packet. A packet will make about a dozen pint jars. I'll also describe how to make your own (in step 5) See this page for pickling supplies, equipment, books, crocks and additives
- 2 cups clear vinegar (5%, apple cider vinegar works well. Store brand is about $1.25 for a 64 oz bottle.
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
- Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
- Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
- 1 large pots; teflon lined, glass or ceramic.
- Large spoons and ladles
- Pint jars (Ball or Kerr jars can be found at grocery stores, like Safeway, Publix, Kroger, grocery stores, even online - about $8 per dozen jars including the lids and rings). Wide mouth jars work better to fit the pickles in! Pint size works best!, But you can use any glass jar with a leak-proof coated metal or non-metal lid.
Directions - How to Make Refrigerator Pickles
Step 1 - Selecting the cucumbers
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality cucumbers!
At right is a of picture cucumbers from my garden - they are SO easy to grow. But be sure to grow the varieties that are labeled "pickling cucumbers" - they will be much more crisp!
The picture at right shows a good cucumber for pickling (bottom) and a bad one (top). The good one is dark green, firm, and not bloated. It has lots of warts!
The bad one is overripe, it has yellow or white areas in the skin, and the warts are almost all gone. If you cut it open, you will see developed seeds. You don't want seeds!
Overripe cucumbers make mushy pickles.
Step 2 - How many cucumbers?
It takes about 3 or 4 cucumbers to fill a pint jar, assuming each cucumber is about 4 - 5 inches long and 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter..
You will cut off the ends so they will fit with ¼-inch to spare.. Typically, 6 to 8 pounds small pickling cucumbers (NOT "burpless" cucumbers), per batch.
Step 3 -Wash and cut the vegetables!
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in plain cold water.
You will need to cut the ends off (about ¼-inch) and then slice them lengthwise if you like spears. You can also leave them whole or cut them cross-wise for bread-and-butter pickles.
Step 4 - Get the jars and lids sanitizing
The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. I get that going while I'm preparing everything else, so it's done by the time I'm ready to fill the jars. If you don't have a dishwasher, submerge the jars in a large pot (the canner itself) of water and bring it to a boil for 10 minutes.
Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap!
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Step 5 - Mix the vinegar with the pickling mix and bring to a near boil
OK, you can make your own pickling mix from spices, salt, dill, etc.; but it is MUCH more time-consuming, complicated, and prone to problems. This method produces pickles which are just as crisp - as long as you pick very firm cucumbers. It also helps to add 2 grape leaves to every jar (I kid you not, they have something in them that makes the pickles crunchier).
The stores (grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger and Safeway and local "big box" stores, sometimes even local hardware stores) sell several varieties of refrigerator pickle mixes - Kosher dill, bread-and-=butter and sweet pickles are the most commonly seen. And be sure to get them by July - they tend not to re-order them when they sell out. Mrs. Wages "refrigerator pickle mixes" are the easiest.
If you want to try to make your own, the Missouri State extension service recipe is:
- 1/2-cup (packed) fresh dill (from your garden or the grocery store's fresh vegetable dept)
- 2 cups thinly sliced onions
- If you want Bread-and-Butter type pickles also add 1-1/2 cups sugar, honey or Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda). Skip this for dill pickles.
- 1-1/2 cups white vinegar (5%)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (canning or kosher is best, but not vital)
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
To interject a crass commercial here, I have found the best (crispest, best tasting) pickles from a mix are with the "Mrs. Wages Polish Dill Refrigerator Pickle Mix" They REALLY are good AND you don't need a canner - you store them in your fridge right after making them. They're ready to eat in 24 hours! Our affiliate sells the mixes (and at really good prices, too)
Whether you want dills or sweet pickles; canning them or straight into the refrigerator; there is a mix for every taste and need here!Get them all here, delivered direct to your home, at the best prices on the internet! Get everything you need to make pickles: mixes, salt, brine, etc. here!
Step 6 - Heat the pickle mix
Bring the mix and 2 cups of vinegar to a near-boil - just simmering! The homemade mix does NOT use any added water. Some store mixes call for added water, in that case check your packet of mix!
Be sure to use a NON-metal pot - or a coated metal (teflon, silverstone, enamel, etc.) without breaks in the coating. the metal reacts with the vinegar and makes the pickle solution turn cloudy.
Step 7 - Fill the jars with cucumbers and put the lid and rings on
Pack the cucumbers, whole or slices in and pour the simmering pickle mix liquid over them. Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, seat the lid and hand-tighten the ring around them.
To make your dill pickles crispy, put a fresh clean grape leaf in the bottom of each jar. Continue with the process as usual!
Step 8 - Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate
Easy! About 2 hours later, pop them into the fridge and wait at least 24 hours!
Step 9 - Eat!
When can you start eating the pickles? Well, it takes some time for the seasonings to be absorbed into the pickles. That's at least 24 hours, but for best flavor wait 1 week.! Ah... the wait...
Be sure to keep them refrigerated!!!
Pickle Making Problems?
From left to right:
Home Canning Kits
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to
make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts
for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a
plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball
Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll
never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)!
There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see
more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Pickles - makes 12 pint jars, 16 oz each*
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2009||Source||Subtotal|
|Cucumbers||30-36 (about 3 per pint jar)||free from the garden, or $3.00 cents at a PYO||Pick your own||$3.00|
|Canning jars (pint size, wide mouth), includes lids and rings||12 jars||$8.00/dozen||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$8.00|
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Pickle mix||1 packet||$3.00 per package||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$3.00|
or about $1.25 per jar INCLUDING the jars - which you can reuse!
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning. For example, Classico Spaghetti sauce is in quart sized jars that work with Ball and Kerr lids and rings. Note that the Classico's manufacturer does not recommend reuse of their jars: see what they have to say on this page:
How to make other pickles - recipes and instructions:
- Cucumber pickles (quick process, canned)
- Cucumber pickle relish
- Pickled beets
- Pickled green beans
- Pickled dilled okra
Canning processing times (just for comparison purposes)
Type of pickling method
|Jar size||0 to 1,000 ft above sea level||1,001 to 6,000 ft above sea level|
|Quick process, (raw cucumbers put in the jar, hot liquid poured over them)-||pint||10 min||15 min|
|Quick process, (raw cucumbers put in the jar, hot liquid poured over them)-||quart||10 min||15 min|
Can't find the equipment? We ship to all 50 states! Use our Feedback form!
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]