Secrets To Making Your Very Own Prized Pickles

pickles We have been making pickles all week and my husband The Viking in my life have canning fever!  This week we have made Dill Pickles, Dill Sandwich slices, Relish, and Bread and Butter Pickles and today I begin my salsa and canned tomato adventures….I love the summer canning season it is so exciting and tiring all in one!

If you are new to canning you need to have the following items on hand to make pickles whether you are making dill pickles or bread and butter pickles.  Using the right supplies, suppliers, and know how are all critical to your canning success!    The great thing about canning pickles is you don’t need a bunch of fancy supplies at all a few basics will get the job done and you get to impress every one with your very own prized pickles!


Basic Canning Supplies You Will Need:

You need a water canning bath

Granite Ware 0707-1 Steel/Porcelain Water-Bath Canner with Rack, 21.5-Quart, Black

canning jars

canning lids

pot holders

Cheesecloths and or Draw String Bags are nice too.

towels to put your hot jars on (I use older clean towels)

canning jar lifter

canning funnel

canning equipment


If you have questions ask your fellow canners, join a Facebook group, join Twitter on #Canningchat but if you proceed without answers proceed at your own risk.  Canning is a way to take control over your food life in a more self-reliant way and it is fun but you must follow canning guidelines and proper hygiene practices.

Having a great place to store all of your wonderful canned goods is crucial too.  A couple of years ago my husband brought me home a primitive canning pantry cupboard which I love and you can tell by the way it is worn inside that it was designed for this purpose and I love it.  You can get creative though you can place your goodies in a plastic container in the closet or under your beds if you need too just make sure it is opaque and not see through to best store your home canned produce!


Before we can any food at all we always sterilize our jars, rims, and seals.

We get all of our recipes from The Ball Book and then we tweak them of course to make them are own.  So my first bit of advice is no matter how many canning books you own or collect that there is no other book as accurate and as helpful as The Ball Book.

I use several cookbooks but when I get stuck in the weeds with a question The Ball Book is the final authority for our household on canning.  Another major resource we rely on is Pantry Paratus they have a wonderful selection of all American made canners,  they share video tutorials and have a fabulous blog I hope you take the time to check them out.  At this time I do not use the Tattler canning lids however I would love to try them some time because I love the “Re-usable” concept.  Currently we use mostly Ball jars and soon I will be trying out some canning jars from Freund Containers as well.

crispy pickles

Okay now time to dive in!  I love pickles however some of the recipes including those in the books I mentioned above don’t mention secrets to a crispy pickle and I am here to tell you that pickling lime is the secret to a crisp pickle BUT IT SHOULD NOT BE EATEN!  You soak the pickles in a pickling brine solution and then after several rinses…..they recommend 3 rinses I rinse mine about 6 or 7 times and then I hand scrub the lime off each pickle that being said when we use pickling lime I don’t have soggy pickles.  Some say you don’t need pickling lime and it’s not healthy… is not as healthy as not using it but it is safe to use as long as you follow proper instructions.  Unfortunately what will happen if you make a bunch of pickles and then they are all soggy and slimy you will go to the store to buy pickles and I promise you they use some sort of pickling lime or crisper to crisp up those pickles for commercial resell.  It is a little bit of extra work however I think it’s worth it.



Have fun with your pickle spices and seasoning mixes there is no tried and true rules…recently when I was making my Bread & Butter pickles and YES I am the Bread & Butter pickle addict in our home it stems from my sweet tooth be sure to not be afraid to mix things up.  We were out of mustard seeds so I just seasoned my Bread & Butters with dill and celery seed and a dash of turmeric I know they will be delicious.  Also some books recommend soaking your Bread & Butter pickles for 3 hours in canning salt prior to a rinse I only do mine for 2 per the Ball Book and I am quite pleased with the results.  These are your pickles so throw in some garlic or bay leaf if you would like just make sure you have a strong vinegar mixture to keep everything preserved  and some pickling spices on hand so they are yummy and delicious for the future!

Also just for fun I wanted to share the History Of The Canning Jar From My friends at Freund they have sent me a set of canning jars and I will be reviewing them soon for all of you!

I wish you the best in your canning and pickling adventures!  Oh and just a note we are fermenting too and I will have a blog post coming soon to share all about “Fermenting” at our Lil’ Suburban Homestead!  Have a great Thursday!

Karen Lynn

Other Canning Related Posts You May Enjoy!

Homemade Carrot Marmalade – Canadian Budget Binder

How To Store Dry Foods In Canning Jars – The Survival Mom


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9 thoughts on “Secrets To Making Your Very Own Prized Pickles

    1. Lorraine it is we so enjoy it! You will have to listen to me being interviewed by The Survival Mom this Tuesday on her show with our other Homesteading writer for The Survival Mom Team I think you will love it as we discuss canning and I share my husband and I how we make a game of things! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I’m going to be canning my own pickles for the first time this summer (fresh from the garden – so exciting). I love all the tips you give + how fun that you did this with your hubby! You’re the best, KarenLynn!

    1. Caitlin I hope this will serve as a good starting point as you know it is easy to have 3 cookbooks in front of you while cooking and thanks for the visit! I love canning with my hunny 🙂 I so appreciate your kind words!

  2. I have been canning for as long as I can remember and pickles are always a big disappointment for me. I have never used pickling lime but I am going to give it a try. I don’t remember seeing it near the canning supplies in the stores. Where do you buy yours?

    1. Tracy sorry it took me so long to reply I have been out of the country for a brief hiatus. I have found pickling lime at our local hardware stores, Walmart, and Kmart. Thanks for the comment sorry it took so long for me to get back to you 🙂

  3. I love pickles, but hubby not so much. I use a steam canner, which works great with high acid foods. I’ve found you don’t need to do the labor intensive pickling lime. Instead I use Ball brand “pickle crisp granules”. I bought mine at Wallyworld. Just add to your brine, all done. You can use it for fridge pickles too! Or you can use grape leaves, or 1 Tsp. black tea leaves per Qt…

    1. Nancy we did use grape leaves for our batch of pickles that we fermented (blog post coming soon :)….)I have not seen pickle crisp granules at our Walmart but I could try the other one across town. I did not know about the black tea leaves I have bunches of that! Thanks for the info although our pickling season is over this year I love learning from all of you 🙂 Thanks so much!

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