Try Pickling to Preserve Perishables

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Image by Anne & Saturnino Miranda from Pixabay 

Juicy, crunchy, homemade pickles have a long, rich
history, and
pickled cuisine pops up in cultures across the globe. You can find
pickled onion on menus in British pubs, pickled ginger served with
sushi in Japan, and pickled peppers (perchance picked by Peter
Piper) spicing up Mexican salsas.

Yes, you can pickle just about anything from your garden, and
not only does pickled produce make a tasty, unique addition to your
veggie tray, but pickling is also a great way to stretch your
summer harvest into the colder months.

To ‘pickle’ something means to raise its acidity enough to kill
bacteria that cause spoilage. The process works using heat and the
preservative properties of salt and vinegar. Canning is easy and
inexpensive, even for beginners. All you’ll need is a water bath
canner (available where cooking appliances are sold), a Mason jar
(available at grocery or hardware stores), a few simple ingredients
and a bit of patience as your pickles take a few weeks preparing
themselves for prime crunch time. For more information, see
Learn to Can for Homegrown Flavor.

Below are some traditional recipes adapted from that are
sure to get you into a delicious pickle.

Dill Pickles

Dill pickles will keep up to two years if stored in a cool, dry


  • 1 pound of 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp pickling salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 sprig fresh dill weed
  • 1 head fresh dill weed


  1. Wash cucumbers and place in a sink or large pot with cold water
    and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice water for at least 2 hours, but
    no more than 8 hours. Add more ice as needed.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water
    and pickling salt. Bring to a rapid boil.
  3. In a 1 quart Mason jar, place 2 half cloves of garlic, one head
    of dill and your cucumbers (1 pound should fill the jar). Add 2
    more garlic halves and 1 sprig of dill. Fill jar with hot vinegar
    mixture and seal.
  4. Process sealed jar in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
  5. Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating.
    Refrigerate after opening. Serves 8.

Pickled Okra

Pickled okra will keep up to two years if stored in a cool, dry


  • 1/2 pound fresh okra
  • 1 dried red chili pepper
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt


  1. Place okra is a sterilized 1 pint Mason jar. Add the dried chili
    pepper and dill.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix together the water, vinegar and salt
    and bring to a boil. Pour vinegar mixture over the ingredients in
    the jar, seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10
  3. Store okra for 4 to 5 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after
    opening. Serves 8.

Image by Santanu Manna from Pixabay 

Pickled Eggs

Pickled eggs will keep for several months if refrigerated.


  • 12 extra large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp pickling spice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring
    water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let
    eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot
    water, let cool and peel.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix together the water,
    vinegar and pickling spice. Bring to a boil and mix in the garlic
    and bay leaf. Remove from heat.
  3. Transfer eggs to Mason jars. Fill the jars with the hot vinegar
    mixture, seal and refrigerate 8 to 10 days before serving. Serves

Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay 

Try these other pickled treats:

General Tips

Be sure to always sterilize Mason jars and lids for at least 10
minutes in your canner or pot before use, and clean the rim of a
jar before sealing. Use special tongs to remove hot jars from your
canner (most water bath canners come with this tool). When you’re
finished, check that the center of the lid hasn’t popped up, which
would mean the jar did not seal properly. Write the date on all

Do you have a pickling tip, a different approach to the recipes
above or your own palate-pleasing pickling recipe? Share it with us
by posting a comment below.

Megan Hirt is an Associate Editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on .