Homemade Pickles




This instructable will teach you how to make homemade pickles using cucumbers, mason jars, brine, and any extra flavorings. The whole process requires about 6 steps.

1. Purchasing Supplies

2. Sterilizing Equipment

3. Making the brine

4. Preparing jars

5. Adding brine

6. Sealing

Step 1: Purchasing Supplies

The first step requires that you have the necessary supplies and ingredients to prepare your pickles. For this instructable, I used:

4 Cucumbers

1.5 Cups Apple cider vinegar

1.3 Cups distilled white vinegar

3 Cups water

1/3 cup kosher salt

3 Flowering tops dill plants

4 peppers

2 Mason Jars

1 Large Pot

1 Medium Pot

Measuring Cups

1 Large spoon

1 Cutting knife

1 Cutting board

All of the food ingredients are available at your local grocery store.

Step 2: Sterilizing Equipment

In order to prevent contamination and ruining your final product, it is essential to sterilize your mason jars, knives, and pots.

1. Fill the medium pot about halfway full with water.

2. Add the mason jars, including the lids.

3. Place on high heat for about 3-5 minutes, or until boiling.

4. Keep the water on medium to high heat until step 6.

Step 3: Making the Brine

In order to make the brine, you must mix the main ingredients into a large pot and heat to a boil.

1. In a large pot, mix 1.5 cups Apple cider vinegar, 1.3 cups distilled white vinegar, 3 cups water, and 1/3 cup kosher salt.

2. Bring to a boil and stir over medium-high heat.

Step 4: Preparing the Jars

While the brine is coming to a boil, you can prepare your jars by chopping up your cucumbers and adding any additional ingredients. For this instructable, we made both spears and chips.

1. Remove mason jars from the boiler water.

2. Chop up the four cucumbers into either form using the cutting knife and cutting board.

3. Add the dill, whole peppers and cucumbers into the mason jars.

4. Add any additional ingredients for flavoring. For this instructable, we added peppercorn, cloves, mustard seeds, and a dash of garlic.

5. Pack the jars tight with cucumbers!.

Step 5: Adding the Brine

Once your jars are packed with the cucumbers and additional ingredients, it is time to add the brine that has been boiling.

1. Be sure to keep the heat on high in order to keep the brine hot, this will create a suctioning effect once you cap the jars.

2. Fill the jars with the brine until about 1/2" of space is left between the brine and the top.

3. Remember to add the brine quickly in order to prevent any cooling.

Step 6: Sealing

Once the brine has been added, it is time to quickly seal the jars.

1. Remove the lids from the hot water in the medium pot.

2. Place the lids on top, and quickly seal.

3. Let the jars naturally cool off.

4. Make sure you feel for the suctioning of the lids (there should be no 'pop' to the lid).

Step 7: Finished!

Now that you have sealed off your jars, you are almost complete! Wait at least 3 - 4 days until opening the jars to enjoy your pickles. Keep them at room temperature until opening. Once opened, you can store in the fridge for up to 2 months, but do not place in the freezer!



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24 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

Do you have any experience with mushrooms? My grandma is from Russia, and when she comes to visit, always brings some pickled mushrooms. They are the most delicious thing I've ever eaten and I've wondered for a while how to make them myself.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

That is an art that is passed from generation to generation. Those pickles are watched by an expert in bucket pickles. If a mold starts it can tear up the ph real quick. They know how to correct and clean up the mold. I had a batch that I had in brine and I went on holiday and the mold took over. The big problem, what do you do with a mushy salt mucky stinky mess. Our recipes have the salt to float an egg. My friend said the salt in those barrels can launch an egg into outer space. I would love to taste one of those.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I use canning salt. It will help your product to be clear and not cloud.

it doesn't. I've never used kosher, always iodized. Caveat- you use much less table salt than kosher so best to look up other recipe amounts (my recipe is different all around so I can't list equivalent measurements).


4 years ago on Introduction

You found a wonderful old recipe. I am going to try this next season. This recipe seems wonderful and I will not have to brine the pickles.

I have access to a truck farm overflow. Last season I put down more then 375 jars of anything from tomatoes, pickles, apples to jelly. The old canning ways have been revisited by scientists that use microbiology to study canned foods. Then I am a 4H leader and the extension teaches safe practices. They found foods need to be hot bathed. I was afraid that I would destroy the foods with hot water bath. I was incorrect. The secret is 5% strength vinegar for canning. Vinegar that is more or less 5% is your enemy in canning. Watch your labels! I hot bath all of my canned pickles and the family enjoy them. They have a wonderful crunch. The hot water bath kills bacteria that gets into the foods through normal canning. The bacteria can be present in the air when you can. I use the sanitation setting on my dish washer is I am doing several bushels of food that day.Or boil my jars, lids, flats etc. I have not seen the new ball lids that do not need boiling. I will be careful to check the manufacturing information on the packages of flats. I still use great great Grandmas pickle recipes and hot water bath them. Grandma loves them and I carry goods back to her. She does not know I hot bath the pickles. But she knows they are Gr. Grandmas recipes. Keep canning. You have a beautiful product.

You are brave to start out without a mentor. BRAVO!


4 years ago on Introduction

Actually, it is food safe. That's what the brine is for. And besides, the natural yeast on the pickles adds a nice lactic twang. I make pickles, kimchee and other fermented food this way. Pro-biotic!

1 reply

While I make no claims as to food safety, they are procedurally correct. If you check out the Ball website for canning pickles you will find brine has nothing to do with it. Of course now I'm craving home made sauerkraut and Napa cabbage kimchee, a million times better than that dirty foot bath water they call Kefir.


4 years ago on Introduction

I feel like eating pickles just reading this. Nice instructable


4 years ago

Your canning method is not food safe. After you put the lids on you need to return the cans to a water bath for processing. By boiling the jars for 10 minutes you ensure that you kill all bacteria mold and yeast. Simply putting the lids in and letting them vacuum seal themselves is not enough.

2 replies

Reply 4 years ago

I agree. With low acid foods like cucumbers, always, always, always process in a hot water bath. Botchulism is a serious risk otherwise.


4 years ago on Introduction

These are, in many ways, like store bought pickles in jars in that they use vinegar for the sour instead of being fermented. I plan to try to make some fermented pickles (and sauerkraut) as they contain pro-biotics, which, at least some people think, are good for your health. There is more to it, but basically you add salt (and water) and let it ferment without exposure to air / oxygen to become sour on its own.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Obviously (to me, at least), the details of fermentation are appropriate for another instructable.


4 years ago on Introduction

Yes, the brine is a very effective bacteria and mold inhibitor. (Before refrigerators, meat used to be stored in brine or covered in salt to make it last longer)

Also, if you want the cucumbers to be crisp and not soft (uncooked), then wait until the brine is cold before pouring it onto the cucumbers.