Your favorite pickle recipes?

owiebrain(5 MO)August 7, 2011

I know there are some on the harvest forum but I want to hear favorites from my friends here. I've tried various recipes over the years and never really liked any of them so end up using those packs of Mrs. Wages. I LOVE the flavor of those but they're now almost $4 a packet. Yowzers! So, once I use up what I have in the pantry, I'll be back to homemade. I so wish I had gotten my grandmother's pickle recipes. She made wonderful pickles.

We only like dills and I make bread & butters for extended family but if you have a favorite sweet recipe, post it here anyway, please. Someone else could use it and I'll even copy it down for my recipe box just in case I'm ever implanted with alien DNA and start liking sweet pickles.


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Diane, does a sort of relish qualify? I have one that's called "End of the garden" that's more of a mixed pickle condiment than it is a true relish, since the chunks are fairly large. It's really good. Not that any of us will have anything left in the garden this year, but maybe next? If you want, I'll dig it out. It's kind of a bread and butter flavor. I also have a tomato-apple relish that's really good.

I haven't made any dills for years, since I discovered Clausen's and decided I was wasting my time trying for good crisp dills by making them at home.

I think one of the best books I've ever found for that sort of thing is the old Farm Journal Freezing & Canning Cookbook. It was first printed in 1963, but you should be able to find a used copy on Amazon for a few dollars.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 12:12PM
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Have you tried fermenting? I've yet to get enough cukes to bother, but my godmother used to ferment her pickles and they were to die for. I know I sure liked my fermented pepper garlic sauce and sauerkraut last fall!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 3:49PM
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Yes. I used to have a 5-gallon pickle crock to use for making dills. I finally got away from all of it because there was just me to eat it, unless I gave it away to the ranch hands and friends. What with growing, watering, weeding and tending, and then the work of all the canning on top of it, I decided I'd been doing that long enough. I moved to where we were growing fruit instead of a big veggie garden and made jams and preserves instead. I still do, to a certain extent. Mostly it's fancy gourmet stuff that takes forever to make. One batch of strawberry preserves takes 3 days, if you can imagine, but then I give it away as gifts to people who love it.

It's kind of like starting from scratch to make your own chocolate-covered cherries, which I've also done. Lots of work for a pretty small return.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 4:03PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Pat, I'd love to see the mixed pickle relish.

Tracy, I'd fiddled with fermenting but not pickles. I've always just bypassed those recipes because I assume it's a pain. When the cukes start coming in, they come in hot & heavy and I need to crank out pickles pretty quickly. With fermenting, I just imagined 200 jars sitting & fermenting, taking up a whole lot of room somewhere and needing me to keep an eye on them. Maybe I should quit assuming and just give it a try?

I got to thinking yesterday, maybe I've been going about this all wrong. Maybe I've been trying all the various spice combinations for recipes when my taste buds are looking for something simpler. I don't even like most of the spices that make up a lot of the recipes so why would I like pickles flavored with them? Duh. So now I'm going to search for simple, simple recipes.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 7:19AM
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Diane- you would probaly want to ferment in five gallon, food grade plastic buckets, if you can find them. Would actually slow down the rush of pickle season, since you would throw a big batch into the bucket with the salt brine and spices, Add the weight , which would probably be a plate with a plastic bag filled with brine and leave the bucket. Check it and skim the scum of the top (takes a minute, max daily) and in a couple of weeks, on a quiet day, when you feel like they're ready, you process them.
I have "the Joy of Pickling" by Linda Zeidrich, which has fantastic fermented and vinegar recipes. I've yet to make a recipe from there that I didn't like. The sauerkraut that I made, with apples, onions, and caraway, was fantastic. I also fermented a pepper/garlic mash from her book, which turned out awesome.
I made some of the vinegar recipes which were all good as well. I've still not gotten a single pickling cucumber to grow in AZ, but I keep trying, in hopes of making homemade pickles.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 9:47AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I also like the recipes from 'The Joy of Pickling' and use both those and the ones from the Ball Blue Book. I haven't used any of the Mrs. Wages' mixes in years, but liked them when I used them.

I haven't made any pickles this year even though 'County Fair' has held up well and was producing until I stopped watering it. There are too many fire interruptions in the middle of the day and I haven't canned a single thing yet. You can't just run off and leave for a little while once you're in the middle of a canning project. I do intend to make Habanero Gold jelly but probably am not going to can anything else this year.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:42AM
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Diane, as far as I'm concerned, pickles and relishes are a very individual taste, and most recipes can be adapted to fit what you like. Someone created them to begin with and wrote it down because they liked the taste. There's no reason why you can't do the same thing. When I'm making a pickling syrup for something like peppers, I get it all ready (the way I want it) in a pan before I add the veggies. That way there are no surprises with the flavor when the jars are opened later. With the following recipe, I go light on the green peppers but might add in a few pieces of a spicy pepper, and leave out the cabbage completely. You can play with it according to what you like or have. Spice it up or tone it down. About the only thing you can't successfully do is use Splenda or powdered artificial sweetener in pickles, because it will make them cloudy. I've used liquid sweetener with no loss of quality, but it's a pain in the neck to measure it out properly.

Here's the recipe. Coarse-cut the veggies so they are in pieces you can pick up with a fork.


1 C sliced pickling cukes
1 C chunked green peppers
1 C " " onion (or very tiny white onions)
1 C chopped cabbage
1/2 C canning/pickling salt
2 Qts water
1 C green beans, cut to 1" length
1 C Yellow beans, " "
1 C slender carrots, 1/2" length
1 C celery
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp celery seeds
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
2 C cider vinegar
2 C sugar
2 Tbsp ground turmeric

Put cukes, peppers, onions and cabbage (if using) into 1-gallon crock. Dissolve 1/2 C salt in 2 qts of water, pour over veggies, cover and let stand for 12-18 hours. Drain.
Put beans, carrots, celery and 1 tsp salt in 4-qt kettle, cover with water and boil for 15 minutes. Drain, add remainder of uncooked veggies, celery seed, mustard seeds, vinegar, sugar and turmeric. Bring to boil, simmer 15 minutes. Pack into hot jars and seal. Process in water bath for 15 minutes.
Makes 3 1/2 pints.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:00PM
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I found this one at and have used it twice already, and we really like the pickles. I want to stress that this is a recipe for refrigerator pickles .... they are not processed with a water bath and therefore can't be stored on the pantry shelf as that would be unsafe. But what I love is that it is quick and simple and I can quickly make a couple of jars of pickles with a very small amount of cucumbers. It calls for one large cucumber, but mine are the pickling variety so I have been using 2 or 3 small to medium size cucumbers.

Microwave Bread and Butter Pickles

1 large cucumber, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar (note: I used 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1.In a medium microwave safe bowl, mix cucumber, salt, onion, mustard seeds, white sugar, distilled white vinegar, celery seed and turmeric.
2.Microwave on high 7 to 8 minutes, stirring twice, until cucumbers are tender and onion is translucent.
3.Transfer to sterile containers. Seal and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

I'll add the link below as well, in case you want to read the comments/reviews that people have posted about this recipe.


Here is a link that might be useful: Microwave bread and butter pickles

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:31PM
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Would anyone like a recipe for Sweet Dills? It has half the sugar of a sweet pickle, plus dill and onion, so it's sort of a sweet-and -sour pickle. It's a fast recipe to make. No crock required.

I have another one for a sweet-hot mixed vegetable pickle, with beans, carrots, cauliflower, green tomatoes, onions and peppers if anyone wants it.
Some of my favorites are the home-made chutneys. Delicious!


    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 5:04PM
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I'd love for you to share the recipe for sweet-hot mixed vegetable pickles. That sounds like something my husband will love. Thanks!


    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 7:11PM
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Hi Suzie,

Okay, this is another recipe that's fully adjustable for heat and the veggies you want to put in it. I don't know that I'd add garlic because of the sugar, but you can easily use the sort of peppers you like best (hot, mild, some of several kinds, or in between) and take out or leave in the veggies according to preference.. It's a big recipe, so obviously you can cut it down to fit your needs. Half of it is probably plenty. If you have a big spice ball, that's great. If not, cheesecloth works just fine to hold the spices.


2 lb pickling cukes
2 lb green tomatoes, cored and coarse-chopped
1 1/2 lb of onions, peeled and sliced
2 red peppers, seeded and cut into strips
2 green peppers, seeded and cut
1 C pickling salt
1 gal. cold water
2 C tender green beans
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut to 1/2" length
2 C celery, cut to 1/2"
2 C lima beans if desired
1 med cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbsp canning/pickling salt
8 C 5% vinegar
7 C sugar
1/4 C mixed pickle spices
4 Tbsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp celery seeds
(if you want it hotter, you can add extra peppercorns, or even a bit of fresh ginger, or both, to the spice bag, or you can drop a few peppercorns into each jar.)

Wash cukes and cut into about 1/4" slices
Combine cukes, tomatoes, onions and peppers in 2-gallon crock. Dissolve 1 C salt in 1 gallon cold water and pour over veggies. Cover and let stand 12 to 18 hours. Drain. Pour boiling water over veggies and drain immediately. Set aside.
Put green beans, carrots, celery, cauliflower and limas into 8 qt kettle. Add 1 Tbsp salt and water to cover. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Drain.
Combine vinegar, sugar, pickling spices (tied in a cheesecloth bag) mustard seeds and celery seeds with all vegetables in kettle. Bring to a boil. Simmer 3 minutes.
Ladle into sterilized hot jars to within 1/4" of top. Wipe jar rim and cap jar. Process in boiling water bath 5 minutes. Start to count processing time when the water in the bath returns to a full boil. Remove from water bath and let cool. Makers 7 quarts. We love it as a condiment on a holiday table.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 9:16PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Thanks, everyone! I'm going to see if my library has that book and I've put it on my wishlist for my next book order.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 9:31PM
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Diane, when I've lost or given away my old cookbooks, like the Farm Journal one, I've been able to find replacements on Amazon for practically nothing. Some of these books are long since out of print, so that's about the only place you'll find them. Just the pickle and relish recipes alone are well worth finding a copy.

One you might search for in the library is called 'Fancy Pantry'. I think it may still be in print, but it's not what you'd call a down-to-earth farm-style cookbook. Still, you might find some tasty and interesting things in it.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 12:12PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Pat, that's a good reminder. I buy most of my books used from Amazon and usually get amazing deals! In fact, I got my Farm Journal's Country Cookbook form there. I might go ahead and try their fermented pickle instructions. Or maybe it was in the Stillroom Cookery book. One of those two anyway. I poked through both last week but only skimmed over the fermentation recipes until you all mentioned it here.

I smell an experiment in my near future...


    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 3:57PM
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Thank you, Pat. Wow, there are a lot of ingredients in that recipe .... sounds yummy! And if this had been a normal garden year instead of a crazy hot bug-infested year, I'd have had at least half the ingredients to make these from our garden.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 6:40PM
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The whole trick to making good pickles is to start off with the absolutely freshest product you can get. Usually that means picked from your own garden that morning. I've bought pickle cukes from people who swore that they were picked the same day, and then thrown out all those wasted jars. Time and money down the drain. Never again. Carrots, cabbage or cauliflower are not quite as critical, but beans and cukes absolutely must be fresh. Tomorrow is too late.
I noticed that, in a normal year, Local Harvest lists a number of places around the state to pick your own if you run short of something you need. So does OK Land Bounty, available from the Dept of Tourism. Don't bother sending for the brochures, because you'll never receive them. Download them instead.

I think what I like best about a mixed pickle recipe like that is you can put in what you want and leave out what you don't care for. And since you can vary the heat or spices as well . . . . it turns out to be something special for your family. I usually follow the trick of boiling the vinegar and spices together to test the flavor and aroma before dumping in the veggies. Except with the addition of hot peppers, there won't be much change in the flavor of the brine in the finished product. If you get that the way you want it at the beginning, you're pretty sure to come up with a product you will like. Of course, you might run the rest of the family out of the house with the boiling vinegar . . . . . . . . .


    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 7:25PM
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I have given up on trying to do a boiling water bath pickle that turns out crisp, that goes for okra too, soooo disappointing! Do the fermented pickles end up crisp? BUT I do make a mean refrigerator pickle. I make mine Asian style using un or slightly diluted rice vinegar, fresh/powdered Ginger, sugar and the mc cormick mixed pickling spices. I have no clue what the measurements are I justly toss it in till it tastes good, then let them marinade overnight and use them up with in a week or so. Very tasty.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 4:24PM
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Great info yall! I have wanted to ask about canning resources for awhile. I have no, absolutely none, experience with canning or pickling. But I would love to try, I just wouldnt know where to begin or what to expect. I think I will get a book, maybe 'The Joy of Pickling', that Dawn mentioned. Any advise?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 1:44AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Since you are brand new to canning or pickling, I'd start out with the Ball Blue Book. It usually is available on the canning supply aisle at Wal-Mart, or you can often find it at a bookstore or order it online from Amazon. It costs about $10.00. All the recipes in the Ball Blue Book have been tested and are safe for canning when following precisely.

The best online source for canning information is the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation. It has all kinds of instructional information, recipes and how-to videos. All the recipes on this website are tested and proven safe.

The most important thing about canning is safety. Improperly canned foods can contain pathogens like botulism or listeria (and many others) that can be deadly even though the food looks and smells perfectly fine. So, use only safe, approved canning recipes.

There are many recipes available on the internet (and also sometimes found in magazine articles and books) that I wouldn't use because they haven't been tested and proven safe for canning. Once you're experienced at canning, you'll recognize them because you'll be able to look at the ingredient list and tell, for example, that they don't have enough vinegar for the amount of ingredients being pickled, or whatever. Sometimes I'll see a canning recipe is a magazine and can tell at a glance that is not safe and I'll say something to my DH about it. Then, in a few weeks, the next issue of the magazine, or the next one after it, will arrive with a printed correction. I wish they'd be sure of the safety of their canning recipes before they print them to begin with.

Also, be sure to use the precise form of canning recommended. Some foods can be canned using a boiling water bath while others must be pressure-canned. Once again, this is a safety issue. Boiling water baths only work for a few types of veggies and fruits, and you have to use pressure canning for others. Each recipe will tell you whether to use a boiling water bath or pressure canner.

Also, just remember you cannot substitute anything in a canning recipe unless the recipe says such a substitution is safe and is allowed. Safety is based on the pH of the ingredients and on the density as well. If you make any change that alters the pH or the density, you alter the safety of the recipe. I'm not trying to scare you---canning is perfectly safe when you use approved recipes and follow them precisely. A lot of folks like to freelance though, and while that is fine with regular cooking, it is not fine when canning food.

I'm going to link the Ball Blue Book so you can see what it looks like. As of last week, they still had them on the canning aisle at my local Wal-Mart, but often they only have them during the height of the growing season and don't stock the book year-round, so you may or may not find it in your local store.

Canning is fun and is a great way to preserve food. I canned over 700 jars last year when the garden was producing much more abundantly than it has this year.


Here is a link that might be useful: The Ball Blue Book

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 7:45AM
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Dawn, thanks for adding those good tips for canning. You're absolutely right that things should not be substituted or altered in a recipe unless you really know what you're doing. Canning is pretty safe and easy if you follow the rules, and can be lethal otherwise. I'm not trying to scare anyone. Just stating fact.
I know I said you can leave certain things out of the mixed pickle, or alter the spices, and it's true, BUT, you'll see that I never ever add in a different vegetable or alter the pickling brine aside from adjusting the spices to our personal taste. That would not be a smart move, and could be dangerous as well. If it calls for peppers, you can substitute hot ones for sweet and vice versa, but you can't do something like adding pea pods because it sounds like it might work. Don't go there.

Yes, the Ball Blue Book is probably the best primer there is, and it's more than just a primer. Although I've been using one of their books since about 1970, I always make sure to get mine back if I loan it out to anyone.. The company has been in business since the 1930s, back in the day when women poured hot wax over the top of jam in a jar to seal it and preserve it, which sometimes did and sometimes didn't. It's the job of companies like Ball and Kerr to see that things are done safely and properly in food preservation. They update the books pretty often, so the recent volumes have the latest information. If you can't find one locally, you can get it from either Amazon or eBay.

One final thing to add: I often see novice canners leaving too much air space in the top of the jar. It's probably the most common mistake there is. Maybe a gap of as much as 3/4 to 1" of air, and that's way too much. You want the ingredients to come within 1/4" of the top and be completely covered in liquid, brine, or whatever, without it actually touching the lid. Using a knife or thin spatula to exhaust trapped air bubbles is also important. You don't want any more air in the jar than is absolutely necessary, and always wipe the jar rim thoroughly with a piece of damp paper towel or something to be sure it's clean before sealing, to be sure no syrup or bit of ingredient is on it to prevent a tight seal..


    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 4:30PM
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want to make the cinnamon candy pickles - found recipe but it calls for pickling lime...i couldn't find so bought Ball pickle crisp granules. need to know how to make using the granules. thnx for your help.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Seedmama discussed this very topic yesterday or the day before on the cucumber thread I've linked below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Cucumber Thread

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:53PM
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I just want to chime in and thank everyone for the recipes. These are probably years away for me but I've printed, cut and bound them in my garden book(s). I love fermented foods and think that is a terrific idea for the pickles and the excess juice would be a wonderful edition to the compost (?)

I was lucky enough to stumble across a ball blue book canning guide online for free and downloaded it. Tremendous blessing as I know I'll never be able to afford a new book, but those in the second-hand stores which may not be up to date.

So, the question I have is: is this book all I need to learn to perform all the basic canning methods safely? I've only peeked at the download once. I suppose I should, at least, purchase some fresh produce and fruit from the store and can for practice. That thot just crossed my mind.

Does anyone here have experience with making home-made browning sauce from veggies? In today's age it is far easier to purchase from the store (and probably contains 'crap' I'd like to rid) but I'd want to try to make it considering it utilizes veggie scraps. I already make bone broth (and a type of gelatin) using the canner as well as veggie broths. The browning sauce is just a highly concentrated form of broth, right?

I try to imagine the "old days" and have empathy for the hours they must have spent in the kitchen and using a wood burning stove. Paupers' meals must have been very boring and dull. I complain if I'm in there for more than four hours chopping and prepping for three different meals!



Oh, LOVE the end of garden recipe. Can't stand those flavors but my husband would dearly love that taste and what a great way to use up those veggie scraps.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 10:31PM
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Okay, got the answer for the ball blue book as I began reading further down. I'm too impatient and not reading everything after something pops in my head. Thanks for that, Pat. Your tips will be invaluable.

I'm really nervous about the whole canning idea constantly reminding myself that people have been canning for eons and I'll get through it. More than once I've read someone's writing exactly "follow the book precisely". I guess that's all there is to it. Thanks all


    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 10:35PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


The Ball Blue Book is great.

The ultimate authority, however, is the website of the National Home Center for Food Preservation. If you ever find a conflict between the BBB and the NCHFP, I'd do whatever the NCHFP advises. This is the website where government-approved (in terms of safety) recipes and guidelines can be found.

There is so much info at the NCHFP website that it should cover any questions that arise.

Start with something simple like jelly or pickles. Both are very easy and will turn out just fine as long as you follow all the directions. You also can make freezer jam, which doesn't require being boiled in glass jars. You just fill up the plastic freezer jars and put them in the freezer. Nothing could be simpler. As you build confidence, move on to other stuff.

Once you start canning and see how easy it is to get good results from proven, safety-approved recipes, you'll be hooked on canning. It is a great way to utilize the excess garden produce that you cannot use fresh.

Please note that the NCHFP website covers not just canning, but freezing, dehydrating, fermenting and other methods as well. All the recipes are safety-tested and approved.


Here is a link that might be useful: Website of National Center for Home Food Preservation

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:23AM
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That is awesome. Thank you. I need to start "jumping in" because I'm understanding what needs to be learned is based upon my own little ecology, needs, abilities and desires. This site may be more useful for me right now as I explore the various preservation options that might be more suitable for me.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 5:37AM
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