Any tips for making your own homemade pickles?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mattsmom277, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    There's a fantastic produce sale near me and I noticed the cucumbers used for making dill pickles are selling at a fantastic price, so I'm going to take a stab at making dill pickles. I've been lax on canning this summer so I'm hoping this venture gets me more "into it". There's so many things I'd like to make before the growing season winds down. I'm going to pick up a ton of cucumbers in the morning.

    I have all of the things needed to make them including packages of all the seasonings for the pickles. Since I've never done pickles I was wondering if there's any good tips you might have for having them turn out great, or any pit falls to avoid. These cucumbers are great for pickling, but they are a bit large so I'm going to have to make them thick sliced dills, not whole. Not sure if that makes a difference in the end product or not.

    I know many of you do your own canning, so any tips would be awesome. I can't wait for tomorrow to take a stab at them :).

    Later in the week I'd like to take a stab at making and canning some sauces. As in bbq sauces or marinades or something. My S/O has been saying he'd like to make our own for grilling so I thought I'd see too if any of you have any good recipes, the only thing we don't like is that really smoky type flavoring.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I can't help you with the pickles. My mom is still around and does all those. I do have a couple wonderful recipes for BBQ sauce and an awesome marinade I've used on chicken and steak for kabobs. For camping, we put the meat in and freeze it all right away. By the time we're ready to use it, it's thawed. I will dig out the recipes and get them to you.
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I'm no expert by any means but I've made pickles before and they're fairly easy if you use the pre-packaged spices and just follow the directions. For the bigger cucumbers you can either make slices or cut them length wise to make spears. I've made dill pickles, sweet pickles and the bread & butter pickles and they all came out as good if not better than the ones you buy in the store. If you have a little extra space in your yard, the pickling cucumbers are really easy to grow and you can pick them at whatever size you want.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'll ask my Dad, he used to make them in those HUGE jars, took about a month for a batch in the fridge. And he used some pretty good sized cucumbers and fresh dill.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I've made pickles lots of times and through trial and error I've got a couple of tips. First, make spears, before placing them into the clean jars, put a clove of garlic and some fresh dill and peppercorns into the jar. Then stuff with spears, pour your brine over spears and then...veery important if you want crunchy pickles and not soggy ones...sprinkle about a teaspoon of Alum into the jars. Close them up using sterilized tops and rings. Boil in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes for pint sized or 15 minutes for quart sized. After you take them out, place somewhere they can't be moved until the tops 'pop'. Then move them somewhere they can rest for at least two weeks. You can eat them the same day, but they're best if you wait a bit. You can go to the Bell canning website and find great recipes. I found mine at another canning website. I can everything, from mixed veggies into escabeche, pickles, chutney, pie fillings, sauce, salsas, whatever. I've made jams but I don't really eat those so not so much. have fun with it. As long as you begin with sterile jars and lids you can pretty much can anything!
  6. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Great tips, I'm stumped at what Alum is though?

    I just began canning last summer and I love it!! I have had so much going on that this past month or so when I planned to get crazy in the canning department, I had no oomph for it, my mind was on other stuff. But I'm anxious to do the pickles, some sauces, salsa and relish (and corn relish YUMMM) this week. I've done a few jams this season, sugar free and we use them a lot so its fun for me to do them. I'm going to do a few more types. Last years apple sauce and apple butter was gone so quick that I'm going to have to quadruple (if not more) the amount I made last year.

    I've been given mixed reports about pie fillings being canned. Any good recipes for the ones you can? I have to do all sugar free so its a pain to do all that work for just the odd pie. It would be great to do a ton at once for the pantry. Around here the pie favorites tend to be pumpkin, cherry, blueberry, raisin and apple. My sugar free pumpkin pies last Thanksgiving were a huge hit. But I've yet to can fillings. Curious about this one!
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'd be more tempted to freeze those piefillings than to can them... canning sugar-free is tricky to start with, and pie-fillings (as you've noticed) aren't on the "simple" list either.
    That is... you'll have to COOK them before you freeze them... just like if you were going to can them. So it only works with some fillings - like raisin, cherry, blueberry... not sure about apple, not so likely on pumpkin (given what goes into it...)
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    dont know a thing about the pickles but I learned yesterday about how to make your own fresh, homemade, real vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste. I think it is incredible and will be doing it as soon as I can.

    You go buy some dried vanilla pods. You can find them where they sell spices. Then you place them in a jar large enough to hold them and still screw the lid on. Pour vodka in to cover the pods. Leave in pantry or dark, cool cabinet for at least a month but 6 months is even better. When done, take out the pods and you can squeeze out the bean paste to use in things like a vanilla cake, vanilla ice cream, anything you want the little brown specks to show real vanilla in. Store that in fridge. vanilla extract can be stored in either the fridge or the doesnt go bad. You could do the same thing with lemon rinds for lemon extract. Orange extract. Any extracts.

    I found this incredibly enlightening considering how expensive those little bottles are on the I am going to be making my own vanilla, maybe lemon and most definitely pecan or almond.
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    You can buy Alum in your spice section of the grocers. I've frozen apple filling and didn't cook it first-it was semi-cooked during the water bath, which made for a shorter bake time later.