Sweet & Spicy Pepper Jelly

Pepper jelly is a delicious enigma: the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. It is nothing short of perfection on a cracker with cream cheese. This recipe is extremely versatile, use whatever color peppers you have on hand, and adjust the heat level to your liking, from just a hint of heat to inferno-in-your-mouth. This […]

Pepper jelly is a delicious enigma: the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. It is nothing short of perfection on a cracker with cream cheese.

This recipe is extremely versatile, use whatever color peppers you have on hand, and adjust the heat level to your liking, from just a hint of heat to inferno-in-your-mouth.

Jars of red and orange pepper jelly with printable labels

This sweet and spicy pepper jelly is one of my favorite recipes from my canning ebook series, That’s My Jam. It’s been a few years since I’ve made it, but recently a glut of peppers from our CSA left me no other choice than to make a batch or two. The result was so pretty I decided to share it here, complete with brand new labels (the ones in the ebook are specifically for red pepper jelly, so a new, more color-versatile label seemed to be in order).

I’m actually not particularly fond of peppers, if you can believe it. Pepper jelly is the exception, however, and I will devour an entire jar myself with gusto.

Bright sunlight making the red and orange pepper jelly sparkle

I’ve actually posted a pepper jelly recipe before, a traditional recipe using liquid pectin, but I reworked the recipe using Pomona’s pectin for the ebook a few years back. The updated recipe also incorporates the chopped peppers rather than straining them out, which results in a slightly chunkier but noticeably more flavorful jam (not to mention a higher yield).

Another benefit to using a low sugar pectin? It’s much quicker. In fact, the third batch of this jelly I made (I had high hopes for the purple version using some pretty purple sweet peppers, alas, ’twas not meant to be…) only took 30 minutes start to finish, minus the water bath (which I opted to skip for the third batch since it was smaller and ugly and not worth preserving). Even including the 10 minute boiling water bath, you can easily be done in 45 minutes… an hour total if we’re including dishes. Still, for jam, that’s definitely on the quick side, and one of the reasons I love canning with Pomona’s pectin.

(Be sure to click through and scroll to the bottom of this post for the printable labels… including a NEW editable template option for your canning convenience!)

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How to Make Dill Pickles

Here’s how to make dill pickles! Follow this easy, no fail tutorial to fill jars with the best tangy flavor and satisfying crunch. Did you know you can make homemade dill pickles in just 20 minutes? They’re tangy, salty sweet with just the right crunch: infinitely better than store bought. So why not try your hand at it? Not only will you feel a pride in your new skill, you’ll have two pint jars of bright green spears to eat for lunch, dinner and snacks. Trust us: the jars won’t last long! Here’s everything you need to know about how to make dill pickles. Finding the right cucumbers These dill pickles use small pickling cucumbers (also called baby or Kirby). Don’t even think about using a standard cucumber! The type for canning are small, thin cucumbers. They’re labeled different things at the store, so you might see them called baby cucumbers, pickling cucumbers or Kirby cucumbers. Other ingredients for this dill pickle recipe Other than the cucumbers, all you need is a handful of ingredients to make this dill pickles recipe! Here are the remaining ingredients you need for how to make dill pickles: Fresh dill: We like using fresh […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make dill pickles! Follow this easy, no fail tutorial to fill jars with the best tangy flavor and satisfying crunch.

How to Make Dill Pickles

Did you know you can make homemade dill pickles in just 20 minutes? They’re tangy, salty sweet with just the right crunch: infinitely better than store bought. So why not try your hand at it? Not only will you feel a pride in your new skill, you’ll have two pint jars of bright green spears to eat for lunch, dinner and snacks. Trust us: the jars won’t last long! Here’s everything you need to know about how to make dill pickles.

Finding the right cucumbers

These dill pickles use small pickling cucumbers (also called baby or Kirby). Don’t even think about using a standard cucumber! The type for canning are small, thin cucumbers. They’re labeled different things at the store, so you might see them called baby cucumbers, pickling cucumbers or Kirby cucumbers.

Other ingredients for this dill pickle recipe

Other than the cucumbers, all you need is a handful of ingredients to make this dill pickles recipe! Here are the remaining ingredients you need for how to make dill pickles:

  • Fresh dill: We like using fresh dill in our dill pickles. If you can’t find it or prefer a look without the herb, you can also use dill seeds! Use 2 teaspoons dill seeds for this recipe.
  • Peppercorns & coriander seeds: These seeds add big herby flavor.
  • Garlic: Garlic adds just the right savory note.
  • Salt & sugar: Brings the flavor to the pickling brine.
  • White vinegar: This is what makes the pickling action happen.
How to make dill pickles

How to make dill pickles…in 20 minutes!

Once you’ve assembled the ingredients, pickling is a breeze! Here are the basic steps that you’ll follow for how to make dill pickles:

  • Cut the vegetables & pack the jars. Slice up those long, thin cucumbers and pack them into the jars with dill and garlic.
  • Make the brine. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar and water: it takes only 1 minute on the stove.
  • Pour in the brine & cap the lid. Then pour in the brine, tap them on the counter to release any air bubbles, and cap the lid.
  • Refrigerate 24 hours, or process for longer storage. Keep reading…
Pouring in the pickle brine
Pouring in the pickling brine

Method 1: Refrigerator pickles

Our favorite way to make dill pickles is refrigerator pickles! What are they and what are the pros and cons? Here’s a breakdown:

  • Refrigerator pickles keep for 1 month in the refrigerator! You can eat them after 24 hours of refrigeration.
  • They’re not shelf stable, but really: who needs them to be? We always eat them faster than 1 month.
  • Refrigerator pickles are crunchy and bright green, with a crisp, tangy flavor. Processing the pickles makes them softer and milder. This is the main reason we love to make dill pickles as refrigerator pickles!
Refrigerator dill pickles
Refrigerator pickles come out bright green with a crisp texture and punchy flavor

Method 2: Shelf stable pickles

Want your dill pickles recipe to last up to 1 year? Then you can process your pickles. Processing the pickles is simply boiling them for 10 minutes in a large pot. This kills all bacteria and allows them to be shelf stable for 1 year. Here’s more about this method:

  • You’ll need a canning rack or any rack that keeps the jars off of the bottom of the pot.
  • It takes 10 minutes to boil a jar of dill pickles.
  • Processed pickles are softer, sweeter and milder, with a dull green color. This is because the boiling water cooks the pickles a bit. Alex and I prefer refrigerator pickles for their flavor and color, but the shelf stable pickles are delicious too!
Processed pickles
Processed dill pickles are shelf stable for one year!

Classic recipes with dill pickles

Now that you know how to make dill pickles: let’s eat! Our favorite way to eat them is to snack on them out of the jar (right?). But there are a few classic recipes that wouldn’t be the same without dill pickles. Here are a few recipes with pickles:

Let us know if you try our method in the comments below! PS check out our top dill recipes for what to do with the rest of your herbs!

This dill pickle recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
How to Make Dill Pickles

How to Make Dill Pickles


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 pint jars
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s how to make dill pickles! Follow this easy, no fail tutorial to fill jars with the best tangy flavor and satisfying crunch.


Ingredients

  • 2 1-pint wide-mouth mason jars with lids
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds small cucumbers (like Kirby)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1 large handful fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dill seeds)

Instructions

  1. Wash two mason jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse, and let air dry.
  2. Quarter the cucumbers into four slices lengthwise (cut off tips so they to fit inside the jar). Peel and cut the garlic cloves in half.
  3. In a saucepan, place the coriander seeds, whole peppercorns, sugar, kosher salt, white vinegar and water. Whisk over low heat until fully dissolved, about 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
  4. In the two clean mason jars, tightly pack the cucumbers, garlic and fresh dill.
  5. Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers. Tap the jars on the counter to release any air bubbles and top off the jar with extra water if any cucumbers are exposed.
  6. Wipe jar rims dry and place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings until they are hand tight.
  7. For refrigerator pickles (our favorite): Leave the jars in the fridge for 24 hours before tasting. The pickles last up to 1 month in the refrigerator (they’re not shelf stable, but they never last that long!).
  8. For shelf-stable canned pickles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and have a canning rack ready. Place the jars in the boiling water with the jars lifted off of bottom of pot with a canning rack (or any rack that keeps them off the bottom). Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool in the water for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to cutting board and allow to cool to room temperature. Check the lids for a seal after 12 hours (make sure the lids pop down: if not, store the pickles in the refrigerator like in Step 8). Store in a cool place for up to 1 year.

  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Canned
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: How to Make Dill Pickles, Dill Pickles Recipes

More types of pickles

Love pickles? (Us too.) You can pickle all sorts of veggies: not just cucumbers! Here are some more to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños)

These classic pickled jalapeños, or jalapeños escabeche, are made with fresh jalapeño chili peppers, white onions, garlic, carrots, cider vinegar and herbs. Serve them alongside Mexican dishes, or slice them up for burgers, tacos, or salsas. …

These classic pickled jalapeños, or jalapeños escabeche, are made with fresh jalapeño chili peppers, white onions, garlic, carrots, cider vinegar and herbs. Serve them alongside Mexican dishes, or slice them up for burgers, tacos, or salsas.

Continue reading "Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños)" »

Drunken Peach Jam

Peach and bourbon come together in this delightfully tipsy drunken peach jam. With ripe summer peaches, a splash of lemon juice and more than a splash of bourbon, this might just be your new summer jam. Homemade jam is a perfect way to preserve the best of summer peaches to enjoy throughout the year. I […]

Peach and bourbon come together in this delightfully tipsy drunken peach jam. With ripe summer peaches, a splash of lemon juice and more than a splash of bourbon, this might just be your new summer jam.

Homemade jam is a perfect way to preserve the best of summer peaches to enjoy throughout the year. I mean, what’s better than a spoonful of sunshine in the dead of winter? How about a boozy spoonful of sunshine (indeed!)

Glass jars of orange peach jam on a pink background, with a small glass of bourbon and peaches cut in half.

Peach season is far too short, if you ask me.

May is really too early, even if you see peaches starting to pop up at the markets they are usually not the best, having been picked prematurely.

June is when the peaches really start to shine, and by July, when the heat of summer has infused the fruit with liquid sunshine and sugar, well, that’s your cue to eat all the peaches your stomach can handle.

But for the rest… the extra peaches sitting on the countertop, starting to soften and wrinkle… why not turn those peaches into homemade jam so you can enjoy them all year round?

Open glass jar of drunken peach jam with a gold spoon and hang tag label, showing the perfect texture of the jam.

I really haven’t felt like making much jam lately. Let’s just say I’m all jammed out. Which, if you count just how many jars of jam I’ve made over the past few years, sort of makes sense.

But… when faced with a giant box of seconds peaches, ripe and juicy and just begging to be used, I simply couldn’t resist getting out my canning pot, gathering a mishmash of random leftover jars, and diving right in to a big bubbling batch of this beautiful boozy jam.

Seconds are a great option if you’re willing to accept a few bumps and bruises. But for jam, since you’re peeling and processing the fruit anyway, it’s really not a problem (just cut out any bruised areas and make sure the fruit hasn’t gone rotten, otherwise it doesn’t matter what the peach looks like as long as it’s ripe and juicy!)

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Old-Fashioned Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Old-fashioned Meyer lemon marmalade is made with little more than lemons, sugar, water and time. The result is a vibrant citrine-hued marmalade with a perfect balance of sweet and tart. Meyer lemons, a cross between traditional lemons and mandarin oranges, have a sweeter flavor that makes them perfect for marmalade (it’s definitely one of my […]

Old-fashioned Meyer lemon marmalade is made with little more than lemons, sugar, water and time. The result is a vibrant citrine-hued marmalade with a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Meyer lemons, a cross between traditional lemons and mandarin oranges, have a sweeter flavor that makes them perfect for marmalade (it’s definitely one of my favorites).

Open jar of Old-Fashioned Meyer Lemon Marmalade, with whole and half lemons and full jars with printable labels.

When life (or in this case, your lovely Auntie) gives you lemons…

… make marmalade.

Ok, and maybe some lemonade too. And preserved lemons. And lemon bars. And lemon curd. And lemon poppyseed muffins. And… (she really did send me a TON of lemons).

Luckily I’ve got a wealth of Meyer lemon recipes to choose from.

Still, I couldn’t resist putting this perfect, untreated fruit to work in a batch of good old-fashioned marmalade.

Bright yellow Meyer lemons in a ceramic bowl on marble background

This is an old fashioned marmalade recipe, meaning it does not have any added pectin.

What it does have is quite a bit of sugar.

I know 7 cups seems like a lot, but please don’t try to reduce the sugar in this recipe. I won’t get into the science of it, but having the proper concentration of sugar is what allows the pectin to activate and the marmalade to form a proper gel.

I know it might seem like reducing the sugar will result in a less-sweet jam, but the point at which a marmalade ‘sets’ is when the sugar concentration reaches a certain percentage (typically 60-65%). If you reduce the sugar, you’ll either end up with a runny jam, or you’ll have to cook the jam for a longer period of time, essentially evaporating off more water until you end up with the same concentration of sugar as if you used the full quantity of sugar to begin with. So unless you want to spend more time to get a smaller quantity of the same thing, please use the full quantity of sugar as written.

I’d also argue that the sweetness is necessary to offset the tart and bitter notes of the citrus, much in the way sugar is pretty much a requirement for lemonade (drinking straight up lemon juice is anything but pleasant). In the case of marmalade sugar also works as a preservative, maintaining the stained glass-like color of the citrus for a much longer period of time.

That said, I do have some lower sugar marmalade recipes here as well as a few in my ebook which use Pomona’s pectin (this particular kind of pectin is designed to react with calcium, not sugar, so you can reduce the added sugar in jams by a significant amount without affecting the final set). I do find that these lower-sugar preserves, marmalade especially, do tend to darken in color over time, much more noticeably than the old fashioned kind.

Want to see the whole step by step process? I documented the entire marmalade-making procedure last weekend in my Instagram Stories, and saved to my highlights. Because sometimes it’s easier to see a recipe made to fully understand just how it works.

Also be sure to click through/scroll down to get the FREE printable labels I’ve designed just for you. :)

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Cucamelon Pickles

Cucamelons are adorable little fruits that taste like a cucumber and look like a tiny watermelon. This quick refrigerator pickle recipe treats them more like the later: with a hint of ginger, allspice and star anise that makes for a truly unique pickle. I stumbled upon these cucamelons a few weeks ago at the farmers […]

Cucamelons are adorable little fruits that taste like a cucumber and look like a tiny watermelon. This quick refrigerator pickle recipe treats them more like the later: with a hint of ginger, allspice and star anise that makes for a truly unique pickle.

I stumbled upon these cucamelons a few weeks ago at the farmers market, and they were simply too cute to pass up.

Handmade ceramic dish overflowing with tiny cucamelons.

Cucamelons, also called mouse melons (OMG) or Mexican sour gherkins, are tiny, cucumber-like fruits native to Mexico and central America. With a thick outer skin with a watermelon-like appearance, it’s obvious where they get their name (I also think they look a bit like dinosaur eggs).

The flavor is tart, like a sour, lemony cucumber. The skins are thicker than your typical cucumbers, more snappy not unlike a watermelon.

I bought a quart of them, without the faintest idea of what I was going to do with them, but pickles seemed like an obvious choice.

Pouring the cider vinegar-based brine into a jar packed with cucamelons.

Considering they have characteristics of both cucumbers and melons, I figured I could go one of two ways:

Treat the cucamelons like cucumbers and pickle them in my trusty garlic dill pickle brine.

OR

Treat them like melons and pickle them in a more aromatic blend of spices like you’d use for pickled watermelon rind.

In this case, I chose the later (but if you prefer the cucumber direction, my spicy garlic dill pickle brine will work equally well for cucamelons).

The aromatic mix of spices, with a hint of heat and gingery spice makes for a unique flavor experience. Chances are, you’ve never tasted a pickle quite like this one. And their tiny shape means you’ll find yourself popping more than a few in your mouth, one after the other.

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