Quick Process Pickles

This article details canning methods for different kinds of pickles.
Quick Process Pickles - Articles

Updated: September 18, 2017

Quick Process Pickles

Recommended Varieties of Cucumbers

Use a pickling variety of cucumber. Seed catalogs are a good source of information about cucumber varieties suitable for pickling.

Quality

Select firm cucumbers of the appropriate size--about 2 inches for gherkins and 5 inches for dills. When buying cucumbers,select unwaxed ones for pickling whole. Use odd-shaped and more mature cucumbers for relishes and bread-and-butter-style pickles.

Containers

A 1-gallon container holds 5 pounds of fresh cucumbers; a 5-gallon container holds 25 pounds. Do not use copper, iron, galvanized metal containers, or lead-glazed crocks. If you are unsure about the safety of a container, use an alternative. Glass and stainless steel containers are excellent substitutes for stone crocks. Other 1- to 3-gallon food-grade containers may be used if they are lined inside with a clean food-grade plastic bag. Do not use garbage bags or trash can liners.

Preparation

Wash cucumbers and cut 1⁄16 inch off the blossom end. If good-quality ingredients are used in pickling and up-todate methods are followed, lime and alum are not needed for crisp pickles. Soaking cucumbers in ice water for 4 to 5 hours prior to pickling is a safer method for making crisp pickles.

Canning Procedure

  1. Wash jars.
  2. Prepare lids according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Fill jars with product. Wipe sealing edge of jars with a clean, damp paper towel. Add lids and tighten screw bands.
  4. Process jars in a boiling water canner or use the low-temperature pasteurization treatment.

To Process in a Boiling Water Canner

  1. Fill canner halfway with water and preheat to 180°F for hot packs or 140°F for raw packs.
  2. Load sealed jars into the canner rack and lower with handles, or load one jar at a time with a jar lifter onto rack in canner.
  3. Add water, if needed, to 1 inch above jars and cover.
  4. When water boils vigorously, lower heat to maintain a gentle boil and process jars for the time given in Table 1.

To Process Using Low-Temperature

Pasteurization Treatment

  1. Place jars in a canner filled halfway with warm (120 to 140°F) water.
  2. Add hot water to 1 inch above jars. Heat the water and maintain a 180°F water temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Use a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180°F during the entire 30 minutes.

Temperatures higher than 185°F may cause unnecessary softening of pickles. This treatment results in a better product texture but must be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage. Caution: Use only when recipe indicates.

After Processing

  1. After processing is complete, set canner off heat and remove canner lid.
  2. Wait 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner with a jar lifter and place on a towel or rack.
  3. Do not retighten screw bands.
  4. Cool jars for 12 to 24 hours and remove screw bands. Check lid seals.

If the center of the lid is indented, the jar is sealed. Wash, dry, label, and store sealed jars in a clean, cool, dark place.

If lid is unsealed, examine and replace jar if defective, use new lid, and reprocess as before. Wash screw bands and store separately.

Pickles are best if used within a year and are safe as long as the lids remain vacuum sealed.

Quick Fresh Pack Dill Pickles

  • 8 lb of 3- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers
  • 2 gal water
  • 1¼ cups canning or pickling salt (divided)
  • 1½ qt vinegar (5%)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 qt water
  • 2 Tbsp whole mixed pickling spice
  • 3 Tbsp whole mustard seed

About 14 heads of fresh dill (3 heads to 1½ heads per pint jar) or 4½ Tbsp dill seed (1 Tbsp to 1½ tsp per pint jar)

Yields 7 to 9 pints

Procedure:

  1. Leave ¼ inch of cucumber stem ends attached.
  2. Dissolve ¾ cup of salt in 2 gallons of water. Pour brine water over cucumbers and let stand for 12 hours. Drain.
  3. Combine vinegar, ½ cup of salt, sugar, and 2 quarts of water. Add mixed pickling spices tied in a clean white cloth.
  4. Heat to boiling. Fill jars with cucumbers.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of mustard seed and 1½ heads of fresh dill per pint (or 1½ teaspoons dill seed).
  6. Cover with boiling liquid, leaving ½ inch of headspace.
  7. Adjust lids and process jars as described in Table 1 or use the low-temperature pasteurization treatment described earlier.

Quick Sweet Pickles

  • 8 lb of 3- to 4-inch pickling cucumbers
  • ⅓ cup canning or pickling salt
  • 4½ cups sugar
  • 3½ cups vinegar (5%)
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 Tbsp whole allspice
  • 2 Tbsp mustard seed

Yields 7 pints

Procedure:

  1. Leave ¼ inch of stem ends of cucumbers attached. Slice or cut in strips, if desired.
  2. Place in bowl and sprinkle with ⅓ cup of salt.
  3. Cover with 2 inches of crushed or cubed ice. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. Add more ice as needed.
  4. Drain well. Combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, allspice, and mustard seed in a 6-quart pot to make pickling syrup. Heat to boiling.

For a Hot Pack

  1. Add cucumbers and heat slowly until vinegar mixture returns to boil.
  2. Stir occasionally to make sure vinegar mixture heats evenly.
  3. Fill sterile jars with cucumbers and add hot pickling syrup, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Process as described in Table 1.

For a Raw Pack

  1. Fill jars with cucumbers and add hot pickling syrup, leaving ½ inch of headspace.
  2. Adjust lids and process jars as described in Table 1 or use the low-temperature pasteurization treatment described earlier.

Variation:

  1. Add two slices of raw onion to each jar before filling with cucumbers.

Sweet Gherkins

  • 5 qt (about 7 lb) 1½-inch cucumbers
  • ½ cup pure granulated salt
  • 8 cups sugar
  • 1½ qt vinegar (5%)
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • 2 tsp whole mixed pickling spice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ tsp fennel (optional)
  • 2 tsp vanilla (optional)

Yields 6 to 7 pints

First Day Morning:

  1. Wash cucumbers thoroughly; scrub with vegetable brush.
  2. Cut 1⁄16-inch slice off blossom ends and discard. Leave ¼ inch of stem.
  3. Drain cucumbers; place in large suitable container and cover with boiling water.
  4. Afternoon (6-8 hours later). Drain, add ¼ cup of salt, and cover with fresh, boiling water.

Second Day Afternoon:

Drain, add ¼ cup of salt, cover with fresh, boiling water.

Third Day Morning:

Drain and then prick cucumbers in several places with table fork. Make syrup from 3 cups of the sugar and 3 cups of the vinegar; add turmeric and spices. Heat to boiling and pour over the cucumbers. (Cucumbers will be partially covered at this point.)

Afternoon (6-8 hours later):

  1. Drain syrup into pan.
  2. Add 2 cups of the sugar and 2 cups of the vinegar to the syrup. Heat to boiling and pour over pickles.

Fourth Day Morning:

  1. Drain syrup into pan.
  2. Add 2 cups of the sugar and 1 cup of the vinegar to syrup. Heat to boiling and pour over pickles.

Afternoon (6-8 hours later):

  1. Drain syrup into pan.
  2. Add remaining 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla to the syrup; heat to boiling.
  3. Pack pickles into hot pint jars and cover with the boiling syrup to ½ inch from the top of the jar.
  4. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process as described in Table 1.

Source: Andress, Elizabeth L., and Judy A. Harrison, So Easy to Preserve, 5th ed. (Athens: University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, 2006)

Bread-and-Butter Pickles

  • 6 lb of 4- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers
  • 2 qt thinly sliced onions (about 3 lb)
  • ½ cup canning or pickling salt
  • 1 qt vinegar (5%)
  • 4½ cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 1½ Tbsp celery seed
  • 1 Tbsp ground turmeric

Yields approx. 8 pints

Procedure:

  1. Cut cucumbers into 3⁄16-inch slices.
  2. Combine cucumbers and onion slices in a large bowl. Add salt. Cover with 2 inches of crushed or cubed ice. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, adding more ice as needed.
  3. Add sugar and remaining ingredients to vinegar in a large pot. Boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain and add cucumbers and onions.
  5. Slowly reheat to boiling.
  6. Fill pint jars with slices and cooking syrup, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Adjust lids and process jars as described in Table 1 or use the low-temperature pasteurization treatment described earlier.

Variation:

  1. For squash bread-and-butter pickles, substitute slender (1½ to 2 inches in diameter) zucchini or yellow summer squash for cucumbers.
  2. Store for 4 to 5 weeks to develop flavor before eating.

Pickle Relish

  • 3 qt fresh chopped cucumbers
  • 3 cups chopped sweet green peppers
  • 3 cups chopped sweet red peppers
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup canning or pickling salt
  • 2 qt water
  • 1 qt ice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp each of mustard seed, turmeric, whole allspice, and whole cloves 1½ qt white vinegar (5%)

Yields 8 to 9 pints

Procedure:

  1. Add salt, ice, cucumbers, peppers, and onions to water and let stand for 4 hours.
  2. Drain and cover vegetables with fresh ice water for another hour. Drain again.
  3. Combine spices in a spice bag or cheesecloth bag. Add spices to sugar and vinegar.
  4. Heat to boiling and pour mixture over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  5. Heat mixture to boiling and fill clean jars while hot, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Adjust lids and process jars as described in Table 1.

Pickled Beets

  • 7 lb of 2- to 2½-inch-diameter beets
  • 4 cups vinegar (5%)
  • 1½ tsp canning or pickling salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 4 to 6 onions (if desired)

Yields approx. 8 pints

Procedure:

  1. Trim off beet tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color.
  2. Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cover similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes).
  3. Caution: Drain and discard liquid. Cool beets. Trim off roots and stems and slip off skins.
  4. Slice into ¼-inch slices. Peel and thinly slice onions.
  5. Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and fresh water. Put spices in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add beets and onions. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove spice bag.
  7. Fill jars with beets and onions, leaving ½ inch of headspace.
  8. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing ½ inch of headspace. Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations in Table 1.

Variation:

Pickled whole baby beets. Follow above directions but use beets that are 1 to 1½ inches in diameter. Pack whole; do not slice. Onions may be omitted.

Source: Complete Guide to Home Canning (USDA Extension Service, 2009).

Pickled Cauliflower or Brussels Sprouts

  • 12 cups of 1- to 2-inch cauliflower or small Brussels sprouts
  • 4 cups white vinegar (5%)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 cup diced sweet red peppers
  • 2 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 Tbsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Yields approx. 4 pints

Procedure

  1. Wash cauliflower flowerets or Brussels sprouts (remove stems and blemished outer leaves) and boil in salt water (4 tsp of canning salt per gallon of water) for 3 minutes for cauliflower and 4 minutes for Brussels sprouts.
  2. Drain and cool.
  3. Combine vinegar, sugar, onion, diced pepper, and spices in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Distribute onion and diced pepper among jars.
  5. Fill jars with drained cauliflower flowerets or Brussels sprouts and pickling solution, leaving ½ inch of headspace.
  6. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner according to the directions in Table 1.

Source: Complete Guide to Home Canning (USDA Extension
Service, 2009)

Table 1.
Pickle typeStyle of packJar size0-1,000 ft1,001-6,000 ftAbove 6,000 ft
*Use sterile jars. Place clean, empty jars in a boiling water canner, cover jars with water, and boil for 10 minutes.
Quick fresh pack dillRawPints101520
Quarts152025
Quick sweetHotPints or quarts5*1015
Pints101520
Quarts152025
Sweet gherkinRawPints5*1015
Quarts101520
Bread-and-butterHotPints or quarts101520
Pickle relishHotHalf-pints or pints101520
Pickled beetsHotPints or quarts304045
Pickled cauliflower or Brussels sproutsHotHalf-pints or pints101520

Prepared by Luke LaBorde, associate professor of food science; Nancy Wiker, senior extension educator in Lancaster County; and Martha Zepp, extension project assistant

Instructors

Tracking Listeria monocytogenes in produce production, packing, and processing environments Food safety validation of mushroom growing, packing, and processing procedures Farm food safety, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training Hazards Analysis and Risk Based Preventive Controls (HACCP) training Technical assistance to home and commercial food processors Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

More by Luke LaBorde, Ph.D.