How to Make Pickles

Perfect pickling is within the grasp of every home preserver using these easy instructions on how to make pickles. You can vary the spices and vegetables or fruit to give your own homemade pickles a unique twist. Just pick a pickle recipe to get started!

| August/September 2014

Easy-to-prepare pickles pack a powerful punch of flavor and crunch. Even kitchen novices can learn in a flash how to make pickles and quickly concoct their own unique blends of preserved vegetables and fruits to add a tangy zing to everyday meals.

You can preserve vegetables using these three basic methods: lactic fermentation (cured with salt), canning (soaked in pickling lime) and refrigeration (immersed in a vinegar solution). Each type of homemade pickles described here includes a simple recipe for you to try.

Fermented Pickles

Many pickle enthusiasts swear fermentation yields more complex flavors than you get from pickles made with vinegar. Also called “crock pickles” or “brine pickles,” they are acidified by lactobacilli bacteria and yeasts — microbes that thrive without oxygen while submerged in brine and that suppress the growth of other microbes that cause spoilage. The lactobacilli also produce B vitamins and flavor compounds. These probiotics may improve digestive, intestinal and immune function.

The basics: Mix food with flavorings and place inside crock. Make pickle brine and pour into crock. Cover with a weight to keep food submerged, and drape with a towel to keep out dust. Ferment at room temperature for 2 or more weeks. Check container daily, and skim any scum from the top. Fermentation bubbles may be visible. Taste pickles regularly.

When your fermented pickles reach a flavor you like, you have three options for storing them:

1. Refrigerate to slow lactic fermentation. Pickles should last 4 to 6 months this way. Note that pickled vegetables last longer than pickled fruits, which generally keep well for only 2 to 3 months.

7/30/2015 10:05:33 AM

I made some pickles by naturally fermenting them in brine. They turned out fantastic!! My question is: Can I reuse the brine to make more pickles or should I start with a new brine?

7/20/2015 3:17:18 PM

I love how you mentioned that this recipe is good for cooks of all levels. Cooking is one of those things that you have to learn step-by-step. I haven't yet tried pickling anything, but I am excited to do so. Canned pickles do not appeal to me at all, but I am interested to see how homemade pickles could be different. Daelin |

8/4/2014 11:38:16 AM

Hi, When making my lacto-fermented pickles I add a few of all the leaves mention as well as a bit of horseradish root or greens, depending what's handy, cayenne pepper (whole pod) and a bit of mustard seeds. Delicious if you like a bit of heat in your pickles. A friend visited me and ate almost whole 1/2 gallon jarful of such pickles. Couldn't get enough of them. :) I also add cayenne to my sauerkraut and many other pickles (carrots, radish...)

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