How to Make Pickles 

How to make pickles depends on what kind of pickles you want to make. There is a big difference in pickle recipes from soft sweet bread butter pickles to crispy dill pickle recipes. Pickles do not even have to be made with cucumber like many think. Pickles are often made with fruits and other vegetables; even from some rinds.

The word “pickle” comes from a Dutch word meaning brine which is why the popularity of pickles is attributed to the Pennsylvania Dutch. Every Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook contains dozens of recipes for all types of pickles; every meal served by them is suppose to contain seven sweets and seven sours.

NOTE: For added crispiness to pickles, add 1 or 2 clean grape leaves to each quart of pickles OR 1 ½ sticks of horseradish and can as usual.

When learning how to make pickles, we generally think anything cured with vinegar is pickled; however pickles can be made without vinegar. The old fashioned BRINED PICKLES are cured with a brine made from salt.

The salt encourages fermentation or the growth of friendly bacteria naturally found on food as it does when making sauerkraut. Cucumbers are typically placed in a crock or wooden barrel with the salt brine and a variety of spices like garlic and dill. These pickles without vinegar are usually kept in the refrigerator and do not last as long as ones preserved with vinegar.

How to make pickles that are quick process or FRESH PACK. This type of pickles is the easiest to prepare. They are soaked in a low salt brine for several hours, then drained and processed in boiling hot vinegar solution seasoned with spices. They are packed and processed immediately to store.


  • Make a brine using 1 pint of salt with enough water to cover and make thick liquid.
  • Soak 7 pounds of cucumbers in this brine for 4 days.
  • Drain off and soak in clear fresh water (each day) for 3 days.
  • Drain again and add 2 cups vinegar, 1 tablespoon powdered alum and enough fresh water to cover.
  • Place on low heat and simmer for 1 hour; drain.
  • Combine 6 cups vinegar, 4 cups sugar and 3 tablespoons pickling spice in kettle.
  • Bring mixture to a boil and pour over cucumbers.
  • Let cucumbers stand 3 days; each day drain liquid and bring to boil and pour over cucumbers.
  • Bring cucumbers and liquid to a boil; fill sterilized jars and seal.


How to Make PicklesHow to Make Pickles

 A favorite family recipe when you learn how to make pickles.

  • 8 Cups thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 3 Cups thinly sliced onions
  • 4 Thinly sliced green peppers
  • 3 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 Cups vinegar
  • 3 Cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons celery salt
  • 2 Tablespoons turmeric

Combine cucumbers and onions; add salt, cover with cold water and set for 1 hour.

Drain well and add remaining ingredients.

Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Pack in hot sterilized jars and seal tightly.

When canning foods and when learning how to make pickles, many people traditionally make FRUIT PICKLES. These are prepared with a wide variety of fruits and made into pear pickles, peach pickles and watermelon rind pickles. They are simmered in sweet sour or spicy vinegar syrup and then packed and processed.


  • 6 Pounds watermelon rind not peeled
  • ¾ Cup salt
  • 3 Quarts water
  • 2 Quarts ice cubes
  • 8 Cups sugar
  • 3 Cups white vinegar
  • 3 Cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
  • 6 one inch pieces cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Thinly sliced lemon with seeds removed

Peel rind and all pink from edges of watermelon; cut into 1 inch squares.

Mix salt with 3 quarts of water to make brine; pour over melon squares.

Add ice and let stand 5 to 6 hours.

Drain and rinse with cold water.

Cover with fresh cold water and cook about 10 minutes or until tender (do not overcook); drain.

Combine sugar, vinegar and 3 cups water.

Tie spices in cheesecloth and add to vinegar mixture; boil 5 minutes and pour over watermelon with spices and sliced lemon.

Cover and let set in refrigerator overnight.

Heat watermelon in syrup until boiling and cook about 10 minutes; remove spice bag.

Sterilize pint jars and pack pickles loosely in jars...

To each jar add 1 piece of cinnamon from the spice bag; cover with boiling syrup to within ½ inch of top.

Run knife around inside of jar to remove air bubbles, wipe rim of jars clean and adjust lids and rims on jars.

Process in boiling bath for 5 minutes from time jars are placed in boiling water.

Remove jars and place upright to cool placing jars several inches apart.


  • 8 Pounds peeled peaches
  • 6 Cups sugar
  • 4 Sticks cinnamon 2 inches long
  • 2 Tablespoons whole cloves crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger
  • 1 Quart vinegar

Wash and peel peaches; drop into a solution of ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid and 2 quarts water.

Place vinegar in saucepan; add sugar and stir until dissolved.

Cook over medium heat; boil 5 minutes and skim off foam.

Tie spices in cheesecloth and add to pickling solution.

Drain peaches and place in boiling syrup.

Cook until peaches can be pierced with a fork but are not soft.

Remove from heat, cover and allow peaches to set in syrup overnight in refrigerate to plump up.

Bring peaches to a boil.

Sterilize wide mouth canning jars and spoon peaches into jars; add boiling liquid to ½ inch from top.

Wipe rims clean and place lids on jars; process in hot water bath 10 minutes to seal jars.

If learning how to make pickles, RELISH RECIPES are also a form of pickles. They are made with chopped fruits and vegetables, then cooked with seasonings and vinegar; usually hot and spicy or sweet and sour. After cooking they are packed and processed. Some of these are Piccadilly, chow chow and chutneys.

PEAR RELISH RECIPE When learning how to make pickles many considered anything that is pickled (or made with vinegar) to be pickles such as relish recipes.

  • 1 Peck diced pears
  • 6 Large white onions chopped
  • 6 Large sweet peppers chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Pounds sugar
  • 5 Cups vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon allspice

Coarsely grind pears, onions and peppers; place in a large pot with salt, sugar, vinegar and allspice.

Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 30 minutes; pack in hot sterilized jars and seal immediately.


Learn how to make pickles with crab apples. You will love these.

  • 2 Quarts perfect crab apples with stems on
  • 4 Cups sugar
  • 3 Cups vinegar
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon mace
  • 1 Teaspoon allspice
  • 4 Drops red food coloring

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT APPLES in a large pot; bring to a boil and cool.

Add the apples and heat again to boiling; boil apples until almost tender.

Turn off the heat and let the apples stand in the syrup overnight.

In the AM, pack the apples in clean hot sterilized jars; bring syrup to a boil.

Pour hot syrup over the apples leaving 1 inch space at the top of jars.

Wipe the rim of the jars and place hot lids tightly on jars; place jars in hot water bath for 20 minutes.

Recheck lids making sure they are snug; let stand at room temperature to cool.