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Updated on August 30, 2017

Make Your Own Pickles

The love of gardening and growing my own vegetables and fruit has led me to some wonderful ideas for making my own preserves and pickles. But there is one book that stands out and it is from this that most of my pickle recipes are taken.

Called 'Putting Food By' it is a sizable book by Ruth Hertzberg, Beatrice Vaughan and Janet Greene and it covers everything from canning, bottling, freezing and drying to root-cellaring and curing. Published 1973-4 by Stephen Greene Press in Vermont, USA, it has been in my possession for over 25 years and every year it is used repeatedly to make the finest pickles you can imagine.

The variety and quality is superior to anything on the market and, because I use my own home grown produce, they are all that much better. That's why this lens is being written. It is to show the audience that you can do it on your own and save heaps of money by doing it. Even if you don't have a garden you can buy fresh produce from a farmer's market and it is usually just as good.

By the way there are some great recipe lenses here as well.

There is Nothing like Fresh Vegetables

So what do you grow?

Just some of the things I grow

My garden comprises over 30 different fruit varieties on a normal size suburban block. One day a friend would not believe that many were possible so he went around and counted them. He came back with 36 as the final number but he had included the pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers in the tally, which I had left out. Of course he is right, these are fruits as the seeds are inside.

The zucchini and cucumbers make the best pickles and there is nothing like your own display of healthy produce to turn the appetite on at meal times. It was that same friend's children who would swing open the pantry doors to gaze at my jars of pickles and jams. They announced to a rather large audience that "it is better than TV"

Well thanks kids. Of course they always got some to take home so that was an incentive to praise my work. But it is a labor of love for when others enjoy the things you make as much as you do then you just go on making them.

Fresh Vegetables are the best - Home Grown are Tops

Few people these days seem to take the trouble to grow their own fruit and vegetables. In my opinion they don't know what they are missing

If you have a choice would you grow your own fruit and vegetagles?

It was the biggest cucumber I could find

And I was thoroughly enjoying it.

Pregnant lady enjoying a dill cucumber

One day when my son was just 4 to 5 months old it seemed a good idea to take him for a walk in his pram. At that stage my shop was in the main street of Bondi and my mum was minding it for me. She loved it as it was a baby shop with all the pretty gear and clothes for little ones.

As we walked the urge for a pickle came over me and the deli was on the way back. Stopping by there the large jar of dill cucumbers was perched on the counter and my mouth was watering for one. The assistant wrapped it in a piece of white paper as I said I wanted to eat it straight away. So off we went back to the shop with me munching happily on the biggest cucumber you could imagine

As soon as she saw mum blurted out "Norma, you're pregnant."

"What!" I remarked back.

"Well look at you eating that thing." She said as I continued munching away hardly drawing a breath. It was the most delicious thing that had passed my lips for days. Of course she was right. Nine months later my beautiful daughter was born.

My dad always told a story of a woman he knew who craved strawberries when she was pregnant but she never got them. When the baby was born he had a strawberry like patch on his shoulder and he always swore blind that if you did not get what you craved for during pregnancy your baby would have a birth mark resembling it. I could not have imagined my daughter having a huge cucumber stuck on her face or body somewhere, so I was glad the shop sold this essential piece of salvation.

Another Pickled Cucumber Method - Demonstration of cold pickles

Dill Cucumbers

It was my first one

The funny thing was that I hated cucumbers. Not since a child had one passed my lips and yet the beautiful taste of this wonderful vegetable was my life saver. So when this recipe came my way it did not take me long to master it. I adjust the recipe according to the amount of fruit on hand.

Dill Cucumber Pickles

17 to 18 pounds of pickling cucumbers (3 to 5 inches) - I prefer to use apple cucumbers

2 gallons of 5 percent brine (3/4 cup pickling salt per gallon of water)

6 cups vinegar (white)

3/4 cup salt

1/4 cup sugar

9 cups water

2 tablespoons whole mixed pickling spices

14 teaspoons whole mustard seed (2 in each quart jar)

7 to 14 cloves garlic (1-2 per quart jar) 21 dill heads (3 per each quart jar)

OR 7 tablespoons dill seed (1 per quart jar)

Put washed and brush scrubbed cucumbers in a non corroding crock or kettle and cover with the brine. (I use a good quality large plastic bucket). Let stand overnight, then drain and pack cucumbers in clean, hot quart jars. Add the mustard seed, dill and garlic to each jar.

Combine vinegar, salt, sugar and water; tie pickling spices loosely in a clean, white cloth and drop into the mixture. Bring to the boil. Take out the spice bag and pour boiling liquid over cucumbers in jars, leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Adjust the lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath (212 F) for 20 minutes. Makes about 7 quarts.

(Putting Food By 1973 p209)

Dill Cucumbers are Great - Other Pickles fail by comparison

There is nothing like a good dill pickle with snitzels or barbecues. Some people eat them straight from the jar. They also go well with cheese on a sandwich or in a salad. Try them to on hamburgers and pizzas. There is really no limit to the way they can be used as an accompaniment to food.

Do you like dill cucumbers?

Dill Beans

Another Great Favorite

You really must try this recipe. The beans are superb and they come straight from my garden for this special. eat them with cheese and buns for a ploughman's lunch or have them as a side dish with barbecues or other meats.

Dilled Green Beans

3 pounds whole green beans

11/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper

6 garlic cloves

6 dill heads or 2 tablespoons dill seeds

31/4 cups vinegar

31/4 cups water

6 tablespoons salt

Wash beans; cut off ends. Pack lengthwise in clean, hot, pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Add 1 clove of garlic, 1 head of dill (or 1 teaspoon of dill seed) and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to each pint jar. In an enamel kettle mix water, vinegar and salt; bring to boil and pour boiling hot over beans. Leave 1/4 inch headroom. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes (212* F).

Full flavor develops after about 2 weeks.

(Putting Food By 1973: p210)

Dill Beans - Another way to make them

Dill Beans go with Just About Anything - But my favorite is with bread and chesse

Some people call that combination a ploughman's lunch. It is a wonderful midday snack for a hot day and the dill beans add just the right touch.

Have you ever had dill beans?

These Zucchini Pickles are the Best

Have you heard of pickled cucumbers?

It is only through this dish that you come to realize how closely associated cucumbers and zucchinis really are. These are my stand by pickles to have on cheese for a quick snack, on pizzas, hamburgers, and many Chinese dishes these lovelies willl enhance and add pleasure.

The first thing I do every spring is to get my zucchini bushes going. Usually around 6-10 to get me through the season, as they are great with just about all summer foods. But towards the end of the season, when the big crops are on, pick them while reasonably small for the best results.

Zucchini Pickle

2 quarts thin slices of zucchini (small and unpeeled)

2 medium onions peeled and sliced thinly

1/4 cup salt

2 cups vinegar (white)

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

2 teaspoons mustard seed

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Combine zucchini and onions. Sprinkle with the salt, cover with cold water and let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse with fresh water, and drain again.

Combine remaining ingredients in enamel kettle and bring to the boil. Let boil for about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and onions, remove from heat, let stand for 2 hours.

Bring again to boiling and cook for 5 minutes. Ladle hot into sterilised hot pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes to ensure a seal. Makes about 4 pints.

(Putting Food By 1973 p213).

Zuccini Recipes in Spanish - But you can get the hang of it OK

Still images from Dreamstime - click here

© 2009 norma-holt

What do you think about pickles? - Will you try these receipes

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    • norma-holt profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @aesta1: Have a great time. The home made pickles are delicious.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I would love to be able to make my own pickles. Will keep the link to this and try it one day.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I love homemade Bread and Butter pickles, Pickled Okra, and Squash Pickles. Thank you for sharing your Pickle Recipes.

    • Rosaquid profile image


      6 years ago

      Pregnant or not, I love them!

    • mrsclaus411 profile image


      6 years ago

      I like them. I would like to make some of my own.

    • whats4dinner profile image


      6 years ago

      I love pickles. I think I would like to try the dill beans.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      6 years ago

      Oh my! what a pickle lovers dream page! Thanks for sharing your recipes, ideas and so much more on here. *Blessed today because, well, because I love pickles as much as this page! (You are now featured on my bread and butter pickle page.)

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I love pickles. I've never made them though - yikes!

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      7 years ago from UK

      I love pickled onions and make my own for the extended family every year. I have tried others, notably cucumber, but never quite got the same satisfaction. Thanks for an interesting lens

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      7 years ago

      I have always loved pickles. I put sweet pickles in potato salad, yum, and dills to eat are wonderful.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yumm, now I'm hungry! Thanks for featuring my lens on lavender.

    • Eklectik1 profile image


      7 years ago

      I love, love, love pickles especially any homemade ones!! Great lens...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Each season I say I am going to grow my own and then pickle them, maybe this coming season.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like pickles of any kind but my most favorite are bread and butter pickles.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Amazing Pickles lense .. Love it :)

    • DelightfulDanie profile image


      7 years ago

      I love pickles!!!! Creative lens!!!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Great pickle lens. I love dill pickles the best. Thanks for adding my Homemade Chicken Noodle soup lens.

    • piedromolinero profile image


      8 years ago

      I love pickles, especially pickled cucumbers and pickled peppers. Thank you for featuring my eggplant lens on here. Thumbs up.

    • MirandaBrooks LM profile image

      MirandaBrooks LM 

      8 years ago

      I think pickles are Awsome, just like this lens! lol

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      8 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I enjoy pickled vegetables but have never tried pickling myself. I think I need to give it a try. The recipes in your lens sound delicious.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Pickles are great, I buy them all the time. Wish I knew someone that made these, I'll just have to settle for the store bought until I can start a garden. Sounds good!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Love pickles and this lens makes me want to eat them right away!

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 

      8 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Lots of great tips- I love everything pickled! Blessed by a Squdi Angel today and added to my Angel lens.

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 

      8 years ago from London

      I have really enjoyed your lens. I mostly make fruit conserves, and probably put myself off making pickle by following an incredibly complicated and time consuming piccallily recipe once. Just going through the questions has spurred me on to make some pickle again, so I will try one of your recipes.

    • myneverboredhands profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens, I really enjoyed it... I wish I would be able to do it again, but ... living in the big city in a 21-story building its simply impossible...

    • KarenHC profile image


      8 years ago from U.S.

      We've never made our own pickles -- I like the idea though!

    • blue22d profile image


      8 years ago

      Never met a pickle I didn't like.

    • GonnaFly profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      What a fabulous garden you must have! And now we're just coming into Spring here in Aus. Time to get busy again :-)

      Lensrolled to my vegetables to grow lens

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Would you believe I have never had Zucchini Pickle? They must be great.

      Pickles are just plain great, and so is this recipe lens.


    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      8 years ago

      I've canned bread and butter pickles but I haven't tried dill. I would love to find the recipe my grandmother used to make watermellon pickles. They were incredible.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 

      8 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      My husband has been looking for the dill pickle he remembers from his childhood. He's gramma used to make them. He has been thoroughly disappointed for the twenty years that I've known him. I'll have to send him to this recipe.

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 

      8 years ago

      We love fresh pickles. These sound amazing. Thanks for the great info.

    • strayspay profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Lens! Five Stars. I've never heard of zucchini pickles but really want to try them.

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 

      8 years ago

      Who doesn't love pickles?

      Love the story about craving the pickle because you were my middle son it was those giant queen size green olives...Blessed!

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssss! That's what I was looking for before starting to grow pickles! Actually, I was looking for an understandable recipe, I just found three, eheh!



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