newbie making pickles and canning/jarring

Joined Nov 24, 2008
ok, i KNOW the knowledge is out there....

So i thought it would be "fun" to make pickles...i saw walmart had a "bread n butter" mix on sale, i found 5 bags of pickling cukes at the market this weekend for a buck a bag...

THEN i get home and decide, oh i should read the instructions....

says i need to slice them and put them in jars...ive never canned anything before. i dont even know where to begin! haha

can someone give me a crash course...explained as if you were telling a 5th grader! ;-)


Joined Feb 1, 2007
Dave, the short course is to purchase a canning kettle and kit. The kit will include all the tools you need, and should have a copy of the Ball Blue Book as part of it. If not, get one---everything you need to know as a beginner will be covered in the BBB.

You'll also need a box of jars. I'd suggest starting with pint sized. They'll come with rings and lids. When you reuse the jars later on you'll need to buy lids separately.

You might also want to check the articles Pam Grant has written right here at Cheftalk.

Meanwhile, here's a thumbnail description of the process:

1. Low acid foods can only be canned with a pressure canner. So forego them, for now. All others (that is, high acid and sugar cured) foods can be processed in a boiling water bath.

2. Prepare the food as per the recipe. Meanwhile, fill the canner with water and put it over high heat so it comes to a boil.

3. Meanwhile, prep the jars. Nowadays they do not recommend sterilizing, per se. But you should wash the jars well. And it's better if they are warm when filling.

4. Put the lids and rings in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water.

5. Fill the jars with the prepared food, leaving the proper amount of head space. Remove all air bubbles. Wipe the jar lip. Fit a lid in place, and screw down the ring just finger tight. Biggest mistake made by beginners is tightening the ring too much.

6. Transfer the filled jars to the water bath. Water should fully cover them by at least 1 inch. Cover. Process for the recommended time. Note: Processing time starts when the water has returned to a full boil.

7. Transfer the jars to a standing location. Make sure they do not touch metal or other cold surfaces. Use either a wooden board, or put them on a dish towel. Let them stand, away from drafts, until they cool. You will hear the music of the lids as the seal with an audible pop.

8. Next day, remove the rings and test the seals by inverting each jar over a bowl and giving it a good shake or two.

9. Wipe down the jars, if necessary, and store in your pantry.

10. Enjoy!

One cautionary note: Canning and preserving can turn into a pernicious habit. So, unless you're looking for another hobby, give it some deep thought.
Joined Aug 18, 2007
I always keep a stock of B&B pickles, but unlike KYH, I just use donated jam jars (so long as the lids are not metal. They usually have a protective coating of some kind these days)
I sterilise the micro way:- Put the lid in a wee bowl. Fill the jar 1/2 way with cold water.Micro on full til its boiling. Pour the water onto the lid... The jar's ready.

I use 3lb cucumber sliced with 1 lb sliced onions. Cover with 2oz salt and mix well. leave for 3 hours.

Rinse well and put in a pan with 1pt white vinegar, 6oz sugar, 1tsp turmeric, 2tsp mustard seeds, 3 cloves, and , if you can get it, 3 tbs of grated horseradish.

Heat gently to the boil to make sure the sugar dissolves first then quickly fill the jars to the very top n get the lids on. Thats it. Leave for a few weeks. (i've used mine after 3 n they're great on a burger.

PS. Forgot to mention. I now substitute 3oz supermarket corn syrup for 3oz sugar to get the authentic American taste.
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