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  • Writer's pictureMatt Suprunowicz

How to Make Fresh Dill Pickles

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

How can we preserve fresh ingredients when canned items are in short supply?


This Lesson Plan is part the Nutrition Module of SustainEd Farms' virtual programming.

Background: Making Fresh Dill Pickles

The coronavirus has disrupted markets across the globe, causing concerned observers to stock up on supplies from toilet paper to canned food. While it may seem unlikely that grocery stores will run out of food completely, farmers’ work has been disrupted by the virus, placing potentially significant distress on the world’s food supply. In the food world, these supply-side disruptions due to labor force-displacement and travel restrictions -- put in place to keep people safe, mind you -- come at a particularly bad time for farmers in the northern hemisphere as they enter a critical period of planning and working during the early spring months. With these crucial interruptions in the biological timing of the planting process, U.S. consumers may be forced to shift their typical food consumption habits.

Learning to preserve certain foods on your own is not only handy and fun, but is a great way to alleviate ongoing concerns you may have about the food supply, especially while canned and jarred items fly off of the shelves. The process of pickling a food preserves fresh ingredients for the long term, and transforms your original produce into a savory treat with a wide variety of uses.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Preserve their own cucumbers, making them into fresh dill pickles!

  • Use the skill of food preservation for their own economic security and health

  • Understand and navigate the coronavirus pandemic’s influence on food supply chains

Academic Vocabulary

pickling /pik(ə)liNG/ noun. - the act of preserving a food for storage, usually in a vinegar or brine


1. Gather your materials. You will need the following supplies: (adjust for number and size of your jar)

Several mason jars with lids and bands · large pot · knife + cutting board · 3-5 pickling cucumbers · several cloves of garlic (to taste, or about 2 per pint jar) · 2 tablespoons kosher salt · 1 cup apple cider vinegar · 1 cup water · dill seed, to taste · crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

2. Watch the following Youtube video to see a demonstration of how to make dill pickles. Then, follow the steps below.

3. Sterilize your mason jars by boiling them in hot water for 10 or more minutes. Allow them to cool before using.

4. Pour the vinegar, water, and kosher salt into a pot, and bring it to a boil. After boiling for 5-10 minutes, turn off heat and set aside.

5. Slice your cucumbers into “coins” about ¼ inch thick. Remove and dispose of the ends of the cucumbers (Think: compost!).

6. Fill your jars with the solid ingredients, then pour your vinegar mixture into each jar, filling to the neck of the jar. If using pint jars, place around two cloves of garlic (gently smashed), about a tablespoon of dill seed, and about ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes into each jar before filling them to the neck with cucumber “coins,” and adding the liquid. Try not to smash your cucumbers.

🥒Looking to spice it up, or add some sweetness?... Other ingredients you may consider adding include:

  • Black peppercorns

  • Sweet onion, sliced thin

  • Fresh dill sprigs

  • Mustard seed

  • Coriander

  • Sugar

7. Place the lids and bands on your jars, and seal tightly. You can store your pickles in the fridge for around 2 weeks. If you are looking to store them for longer, consider using a water bath or a pressure canning technique.

🌶 Wow, pickling is great!... Looking to pickle other things? Odds are, someone has pickled it before. Think about pickling these vegetables or fruits:

Jar of homemade dill pickles

Additional Resources:

Download the PDF version of this lesson plan:

How to Make Fresh Pickles
Download PDF • 898KB

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