Growing and Making Pickles

by on December 21, 2015
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CLICK HERE for an index of all Grandpa’s Pickle Recipes.


Simply put, lacto-fermentation is a microbial process using beneficial bacteria including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium spp. and other lactic acid bacteria (LAB) (commonly known as probiotics), which thrive in an anaerobic fermenting environment.  Beyond preservation advantages, lactofermentation also increases or preserves the vitamin and enzyme levels, as well as digestibility, of the fermented food.

Balance is crucial.  Too salty and fermentation does not take place.  Not salty enough, and they rot.  It is not a fine line, but one that needs to be considered.

Planting your own Pickles

  • Plant specifically pickling cucumbers.
  • They are a bit smaller than regular ones.
  • The take about 4-5 weeks to harvest, so plan your time accordingly.
  • The first part of August is a good time to plant.

Pickling ingredients

  • Enough for a one quart canning jars
  • Different vinegars contain different acid levels, which affect the taste of your pickled ingredients.
    – LOW ACID: Apple cider vinegar
    – MEDIUM ACID: White wine vinegar
    – HIGH ACID: Red wine vinegar – increase sugar
  • Main pickling ingredients:
    – 1/2 C sugar (dissolved in heated vinegar)
    – 1/2 C salt (dissolved in heated vinegar)
    – 2 C heated white vinegar – heated in microwave 1 minute
    – 1 C water – also heated
  • Flavor ingredients:
    – 2 large (or 3 small) cloves garlic – whole, but squashed
    – 1 dried arbol chili – dried, but flexible – not brittle
    – 1 lemon – zest and juice
    – 1 bay leaf
    – 1 rosemary sprig
    – 1 tsp black peppercorns
    – 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    – 1/2 tsp tarragon
    – 1/2 tsp thyme
    – 1/2 tsp vanilla

Basic Steps… Really Easy

  • Stuff jar full of whatever you are pickling
  • Pour in hot salty brine – About 1 sugar, 1 salt, 2 water, 4 vinegar
  • Process with hot water bath for 10 minutes

If you are going to eat them within a month or so, you can skip the canning process, but you still want to use jars and lids that have been sterilized.  If you do this, they will stay good for up to four months.

  • Pickles should always set for at least 36 hours before you eat them.  A week is even better.  In the case of olives or peppers, a few weeks is in order.

Items that are good pickled

  • Hard boiled eggs – whole
  • Red  or sweet white onion – cut into slices
  • Cucumber medallions with sweet onion slivers
  • Radishes – small ones whole, big ones halved
  • Jalapeño peppers
  • Small pickling cucumbers
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Red or brown olives fresh from the tree (2 week cure time) – Black is too ripe
  • Shredded cabbage (sauerkraut)
  • Green beans

Most seasonal vegetables can be pickled as long as they have some structure to them. Forget leaf vegetables, apples, pears, etc.

Grandpa’s Refrigerator Pickles


  • 2 C water – About 1 sugar, 1 salt, 2 water, 4 vinegar
  • 2 C white vinegar
  • 3 TBL kosher salt
  • 3 TBL sugar
  • Several sprigs fresh dill – whole
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 10 cloves peeled garlic – whole


  • 6 Kirby or Pickling Cucumbers
    Quartered lengthwise


  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Green beans
  • Cauliflower


  • Bring your brine up to boiling
  • Simmer 5 minutes
  • Place 1 clove of garlic and some of the peppercorns into your jars
  • Pack with vegetables
  • Pour the boiling brine into the jars
  • Put lids on them
  • Process in hot water bath if keeping for more than 4 months, otherwise just put the lid on and you are good to go.
  • Always best after a few days.

Grandpa’s Bread and Butter Pickles


  • 15 Small Cucumbers
  • 3 onions – thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper – thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 C salt
  • 2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1 TBL mustard seed
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric


  1. In a large bowl, toss together cucumbers, onions, green bell peppers, garlic and salt. Allow to stand approximately 3 hours.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix the cider vinegar, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, whole cloves and turmeric.
  3. Drain liquid from the cucumber mixture. …
  4. Transfer to sterile containers.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for up to three months

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