How to Make Pickles: A Step-by-Step Guide

Pickles are easier than you think. You can even go beyond cucumbers with our handy step-by-step guide

Photography by Michael Alberstat

Photography by Michael Alberstat

So maybe your kids don’t usually shout “I want to make pickles!” when you ask, “What should we do today?” It’s not a top-of-mind kind of family activity. But that’s about to change.

The process of pickling—picking fruits and veggies, cleaning them, seasoning them, labelling them, eating them—can foster a love of growing things, local farms and fresh food. It teaches kids about seasons, agriculture and preservation. It can be a little messy (but not too messy), which is fun for little ones, and the costs involved are minimal. It can also allow you to get a jump-start on holiday gifts (oh yes, we took it there). And one afternoon of work will leave you with results that can be enjoyed well into next year.

There is a plethora of ways to pack a pickle, but here’s a basic recipe and equipment list to get you started.

How kids can help

Because you’ll want to be the one dealing with the boiling water, here are some safe ways to keep your kids involved:

  • Picking the cucumbers
  • Handing you ingredients to go into the jars
  • Wiping jars after they’ve cooled
  • Making labels—it’s part of the fun, and can spruce up a jar for gift-giving!
  • Taste-testing
  • Gift delivering
  • Putting the jars away for storage

 

Try pickling other foods, too!

Cukes aren’t the only thing worth pickling. Explore some of the suggestions below:

  • Beets (with cinnamon, sugar, cloves and onions)
  • Carrots (with honey, onions, garlic, jalapeño, pepper and cilantro)
  • Pears (pickled with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and allspice)
  • Yellow or green beans (with garlic, dill and red pepper flakes)
  • Pearl onions (with sugar, mustard seed, chili flakes and bay leaves)

 

A basic recipe + step-by-step directions

Give our Speedy Garlic Dills a try!

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