Tips for Canning Pickles

If you want to make your own homemade pickles, you'll want to follow these simple tips for canning pickles every time.

Always Sterilize Jars Before Use
When canning pickles, make sure you pick up the proper canning supplies. You'll want to invest in quart-sized jars and tight seal lids, plus equipment for the hot water bath process. Make sure you sterilize your jars and lids every time you use them, boiling them for at least 10 minutes. While you can reuse the jars and rings, you'll need to buy new sealing lids for every batch of pickles you make.

Soak Cucumbers in Ice Water for Ensured Crispness
The last thing you want is mushy pickles. If you grow your own cukes for pickling, pick them the day of pickling, and then soak them in an ice water bath for two hours to ensure crispness.

Use a Non-Metal Pot
Do not use a metal pot, as it will react with the vinegar. Instead use an enamel, glass, or Teflon-coated pot.

Use Dill Weed That Is Just Going to Seed
Dill weed that is just beginning to go to seed will deliver the most potent dill flavor.

Mash the Garlic Cloves (Slightly)
By mashing the cloves (just slightly because you want them to retain their shape but to release the precious garlic flavor), you'll enhance the garlic flavor of your pickles.

Add Fresh Hot Peppers If You Like Extra Spice
Pickles can be enhanced with the use of hot peppers of any type. Just make sure you don't add too many. Experiment to find out how hot your family likes its pickles.

Use Boiling Brine to Cover Cucumbers
While you want to keep the cukes as cold as possible until you pickle them, you want to use boiling brine to get the pickling done. This process semi-flash-cooks the pickles, allowing the cukes to absorb the flavors quickly while retaining crispness.

Process Jars for 15 Minutes in a Hot Water Bath
Make sure you process the jars in a boiling hot water bath for 15 minutes to seal the jars completely.

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Pickles require specific measures. To create a great batch of pickles, make sure you use the proper ingredients and tools. Though vinegar and salt are used, pickles still must be boiled in an open water bath to kill the enzymes that cause spoilage. Earmark hollow or odd-shaped cucumbers for relish and use only pickling cucumbers.

If you want to make homemade pickles, you'll want to check out this refrigerator pickle recipe for details on how to make crisp, delicious pickles without bothering with canning.

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