July 18, 2015 - 01:00 PM / 01:15 PM

The demonstration will be led by Amy Baer of SLOW FOODS PITTSBURGH.

I am a 7th grade Life & Environmental Science teacher, who is also an avid organic gardener and over zealous canner. Last year, my husband and I grew over 400 lbs of food in our small, raised bed gardens in Monroeville front and back yards. Using that food, supplemented with local produce, we put up almost 800 jars of food in 2014. We share with family and friends, give as gifts and eat our goods throughout the year. I started canning about 4 years ago, learning from Slow Food Pittsburgh canning classes and a lot of reading and research online (using safe resources). Now I am part of the SFP board and continue to learn all I can from everyone involved with Slow Food Pittsburgh!


  • About 7 lbs of Pickling Cucumbers

This following brine will be enough for 7-8 pint jars depending on how tightly your cucumbers are packed in the jar.

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt (or canning/pickling salt)
  • 1/8 cup sugar

The following ingredients are PER pint jar:

  • 1/8 teaspoon dill seed (or a full dill head per jar if using fresh)
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/4 to ½ teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes (you could also use 1 whole dried chili pepper)
  • 1 clove of garlic

***I also add 1/8 teaspoon of Ball Pickle Crisp® – which can usually be found with the canning supplies or online. You do not have to use this product, but it is supposed to keep your pickles crisper after being processed.


  1. Scrub all of your cucumbers using cold water & a soft bristled brush. Trim off ¼ inch of the blossom end of the cucumber. It usually is the end with the small brownish spot. If you can’t tell which end is which, trim off ¼ inch from both ends.
  2. Cut the cucumbers to your preference. Spears, slices or chunks (to do chunks, make spears then cut into pieces – I like these because you can fit more into a jar).
  3. Combine the water, vinegar, salt and sugar in a stainless steel pot until it comes to a simmer.
  4. Put all of the spices from the ingredients list into each of the sterilized, hot jars. You can add or subtract amounts of the spices without having any negative safety effects on your finished product.
  5. Pack cut cucumbers into prepared hot jars. Remember when cold packing, (which means the item is not cooked before putting it into the jars) you want the cucumber spears not to exceed the 1/2″ headspace so that the hot brine will cover them in the jar. Cut the spears to fit vertically if needed.
  6. Pour heated brine over packed cucumbers leaving 1/2″ headspace. Remove air bubbles, refill to 1/2″ if needed, add hot lids and rings and process in the water bath for 15 minutes at a full boil.
  7. Turn off the hot water bath, leave the jars in the canner for 5 more minutes. Remove jars to a towel set on the counter. Do not touch the jars for at least 12 hours to let them seal and cool down.
  8. Remove rings, test seal to make sure the jars sealed. If there are any that didn’t seal, store those in the refrigerator and eat those first. Label with name of recipe and date canned. Store the jars (with rings off) in a cool dark place.
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