Growing cucumbers in your garden? Get a lesson in making pickles

MILWAUKEE - Is your garden growing like crazy? We're going to help you save some of that food for the future. All summer long, Master Food Preserver Christina Ward is going to offer some ways to preserve your produce.

Kick Out The Jams

Preservation The Art and Science of Canning, Fermentation and Dehydration

Milwaukee Dill Pickles

    Note: Pickling cucumbers are rated by number. Read the section about pickling cucumbers to learn more.  This recipe makes a large batch of pickles; feel free to halve for smaller projects.

      Brine solution

        Step One:  Gently wash cucumbers. In a large bowl, mix cold water and salt.

        Step Two: Remove the ‘blossom end’ (opposite of the stem) either scraping off the residue or cutting the ends completely off.  Place cucumbers in cold saltwater bath. Repeat until all the cucumbers are finished. Set aside.

        Step Three: Clean and slice onions; set aside. Separate and peel garlic; set aside. Rinse pickling dill and place on kitchen towel to dry; set aside.

        Step Four: Make pickling solution. In a large, non-reactive stockpot, mix vinegar, water, sugar, and salt.  Tie spices into spice bag and place into mixture.

        Step Five: Over medium heat, bring pickling solution to boil while covered. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

        Step Six: Into prepared jars, place a few strands of onion slice, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 Tablespoon of mustard seed, and dill flower head and leaves. Press firmly into bottom of jar.

        Step Seven: Pack cucumbers tightly into jars, up to shoulder (or curve) near the top of the jar. (The ideal pack is when none of cucumbers move if you shake the jar.)

        Step Eight: Remove spice bag from pickling solution.  Ladle pickling solution over peppers in jar, making sure that all peppers are covered and within the required headroom.  (You may have to add or remove a pepper.)  Remove bubbles.

        Step Nine:  Put on lids and process.  Or Place in refrigerator.


        This is the classic recipe for Midwestern-style dill pickles.  You can use this same recipe and technique on green beans and asparagus. If you like the ‘dilly’ taste, feel free to use this pickling solution on nearly everything.

        You can make this ‘hot’ by adding a few hot peppers or red pepper flakes to the bottom of the jars.

        *Pickling Spice

        Makes 1/3 cup

          Note: Midwesterners include whole clove in their pickling spice. East coasters omit the clove.  Follow your personal preferences.