Home Pickling 101

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Home Pickling 101

By Paula Deen Test Kitchen

You can pickle just about anything that you can grow, and some things you can’t grow!

Generally pickles are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium and Iron. Nearly fifty percent of all cucumbers grown in the United States are pickled. And while a pickle is a cucumber, any vegetable or fruit can be pickled. With a simple brine, you can pickle fruits, eggs, meats, and really just about anything if you are adventurous enough. Paula has been known to pickle everything from Watermelon Rind to Okra. One of her favorite Gifts From The Kitchen is a jar of Pickled Shrimp all wrapped up with a pretty bow and presented in a handmade sweetgrass basket.

Of all the canning projects, pickling is the easiest. True pickling is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in a brine (a solution of salt and water) or marinating and storing it in an acid solution (usually vinegar). Since it’s a high acid process, it’s very difficult to mess up.

“From vine to brine in less than 12 hours” is the rule of thumb for home pickling. This brine is so simple to make and can be made in large volumes so you can pickle as you pick those young tender carrots, baby cucumbers, okra and green beans. Add a slice of garlic (like Paula’s Garlic Pickled Carrots) or a dried hot chili for an extra flavor pop!

You’ll find a lot of ways to utilize pickled vegetables from your garden. They make a wonderful gift for your friends, family and neighbors. Nothing is more appreciated than a basket of homemade preserves, condiments and pickles because of the love that went into making them.

Paula’s Basic Brine Recipe and Pickling Directions
Yields 3 pints:


2 1/2 pounds freshly picked vegetable of similar size, washed and vine-end trimmed
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup canning salt (Kosher salt or sea salt)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
1 bunch dill weed divided into 3
3 tiny red chile peppers or 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes in each jar


•Sterilize 3 pint jars with rings and lids. Keep warm. Cut vegetables to 1/2 inch shorter than the jar.

•Drop a chile and a garlic into each jar. Arrange cut vegetables in jar with cut ends toward the top, packing beans in fairly tight so they won’t float up to the lid.

•Tuck dill weed into the center of the beans.

•In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a boil and stir until salt is dissolved

•Pour boiling brine over vegetables up to 1/4-inch from top of jar. Wipe the lip of the jar and seal with lid and ring.

•Let rest in a draft-free area. Vegetables will ferment in the refrigerator in about 2 weeks.

•For longer storage, place hot jars into a boiling water bath with 1 inch of water covering the tops. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove to a draft-free area and once cooled check that lids have properly sealed. If the lids do not spring back when pressed they are sealed. Refrigerate any jars that have not sealed.

•Store sealed jars in cool, dark pantry for 1 year or longer.

Try All of Paula’s Pickled Favorites:
Suzie’s Peach Pickles
Bobby’s Pickled Shrimp
Candied Dills
Pickled Okra
Garlic Pickled Carrots
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Icebox Bread and Butter Pickles

Need more canning inspiration? Check out Home Canning 101 with step by step images and plenty of recipes!

Read More From Kitchen Basics.

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Reader Comments:


Paula, I had a great pickle onion recipe and cannot find can you help me with one thanks Love ya

By Pat on March 24, 2014


Wow ! Ive recently got in to pickling and gardening more and more and am so happy to see that Paula is on the internet with some help for me. I saved this article to my favorites and will be looking for more from you. Thanks for the tips. I will be experimenting with some of these this summer. I'm looking forward to it and hope to see more from you for years and years to come. Scott

By Scott Maxwell on February 09, 2014


Hi Paula, I make sweet pickles every year. It is a recipe that my grandmother and mother made, and they are delicious. If I ever get back to Savannah, I would love to bring you a jar to try. I love your recipes, they are so much like the ones I grew up eating. I miss your show and hope you will be back on tv soon. My granddaughters met Bobby in Fairhope last year and bought me a cookbook. They enjoyed him so much so tell him hello for them. My family supports you so keep your head held high! Happy pickling.

By Jean Heim on August 12, 2013

I just pickled some quail eggs they are a big hit its the first thing i’ve every tried the longer they sit the better they get.

By cindy walton on August 01, 2010

Hey Bunny! Lower the heat 25º and cook it another 25 minutes. Keep watching it though!!!! If for some reason it doesn’t work, let it cool and make a sundae out of it! It will still be out of this world! Have a great weekend with your family.

Libbie Summers, Food Editor

By Lisa the Admin on July 30, 2010

Paula, I’m a retired school teacher went to your restauant last year and loved it in Savannah. I have alittle problem I’m baking your Mississippi Mud cake and it has been cooking for 40 minutes, it is not done . The marshmellows are on top What should I do? It is still moving around, Should I cook it another 30 minutes? The only thing I did different , I put in 6 small almond joys cutup in the cake. My family are heading to the beach tomorrow . I have made your Mexican Taco dip,and black bean salsa(6 recipes)my men love this recipe, and the MS Mud cake. Help me if you can !!!!

By Bunny whitelaw on July 30, 2010

We’ve pickled carrots forever—-way back to grandma—-just used the same brine we used to make dill pickles—-left out the dill—-they are so crisp and good—-mom always put one carrot in each jar of dill pickles—-kids fought as to who would get it. Now just buy baby carrots and pickle them—-no fighting when there is a whole jar. MMMM good. Paula’s right—-you can pickle anything.

By Joan Bloom on July 30, 2010

Pickling is a great way to store all the veggies that cant be eaten or given to friends and family while still fresh. Paula’s bring recipe is a good one..

By Ericka on July 30, 2010

This is perfect I just pickled my first cucumbers boy are they good and crisp. but I want to experience making more recipes and vegetables next it will be salsa.

By Karen Berg on July 30, 2010

I love to can dilled green tomatoes and dilled banana peppers (there’s a theme here….“dilled”)

By Don Amber on July 30, 2010

do you have any ideals for figs?i have 2 trees and just give them away but would like to find a few recipes useing figs.thank you

By colleen gaskins on July 30, 2010

vary good

By albert weisbeck on July 30, 2010

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