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: July 2014: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries tomatoes, corn and most vegetables are being picked in most places; strawberries are finishing or done; Peaches are in and early apples will start in late July. Find a local blueberry festival and blueberry picking tips here. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! Make your own homemade strawberry ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors))  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!

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Making Homemade No-Canning Needed  Refrigerator Dill Pickles or Bread-and-Butter Pickles

Click here for a PDF print version

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!

Click here for the page of frequently asked questions (with answers) about making pickles.

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:

  • 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. Quick Process is what these instructions show.  Other types are:
  • 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.
  • Fruit pickles are whole or sliced fruit simmered in a spicy, sweet-sour syrup. Examples include spiced peaches and crabapples.
  • 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.

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? 

Get them all here, delivered direct to your home,  at the best prices on the internet! 

 

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
That should cover 6 cups of thinly sliced cucumbers.

Pickle Mixes

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?

See this page for a more complete set of frequently asked pickling questions and answers

 

 

Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs 
            to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter 
            - to remove lids from the pot 
            of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid 
           - disposable - you may only 
           use them once
  4. Ring 
          - holds the lids on the jar until after
          the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
          - to fill the jars

 

   
Ball home canning kit water bath canner

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!



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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
Vinegar 4 cups $0.99  Safeway,
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
$0.99
Pickle mix 1 packet $3.00 per package Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.) $3.00
Total $15.00 total
 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:

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

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Picking Tips

[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]

Home Canning Kits

Features:

Ball Enamel Waterbath Canner, Including Chrome-Plated Rack and 4-Piece Utensil Set

* All the tools you need for hot waterbath canning - in one comprehensive set!
* Complete with 21 1/2 qt. enameled waterbath canner
* Also includes canning rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrencher, bubble freer, tongs and lid lifter.
* A Kitchen Krafts exclusive collection.

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. 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!
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!