If you’ve found yourself wondering what you’re going to do with your backyard fruit and vegetable bounty, consider turning them into relishes and pickles that will last through the seasons. Peaches, green tomatoes, okra, squash and beans can also be pickled for a delicious addition to any meal or as a snack. Spiced apples, muscadines, crabapples and corn, pepper and pears can all be used to make relishes.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Andress, University of Georgia Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist, one just needs to follow several simple rules for tasty pickled products.

  • Ingredients are very important to the process of pickling. First, make sure to use only good quality, fresh fruits and vegetables. This is especially important because if you do not start with good ingredients, your product will not be as successful.
  • Fresh whole spices are important in some recipes to give good flavor and prevent darkening of the pickled product.
  • Salt is an integral part of many pickling processes and flavor twists. Canning or pickling salt that does not contain iodine or non-caking material is ideal.
  • Read every recipe carefully. There is a reason for each step, and cutting corners may compromise the quality of the product or make it unsafe to eat. Make sure that each recipe used is modern, up-to-date and kitchen-tested, and that all pickled products to be stored out of the refrigerator are processed in a boiling water canner for the recommended length of time.
  • Stainless steel, glass or unchipped metal pans should be used when heating pickling liquids. Aluminum can be used if the brine will only be in it a short time. Some metals such as copper and brass can react with acids or salts to create discoloration or undesirable compounds.

If you’ve never preserved or pickled products at home, you should first read the “Principles of Home Canning” by the United States Department of Agriculture, or call UGA Extension Fulton County at 404-332-2400.

Many tested, safe pickle recipes can be found in “So Easy to Preserve”, a book available from UGA Extension. To find other UGA tested recipes, visit nchfp.uga.edu/ or contact your local Extension Office. Happy pickling!


Pickled Green Beans (makes about 4 pints)

  • 2 pounds green beans
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 heads dill
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2½ cups water
  • 2½ cups vinegar (5%)
  • ¼ cup canning or pickling salt

Sterilize canning jars. Rinse, trim ends and cut beans into 4-inch pieces. Pack beans, lengthwise, into hot jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. To each pint, add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic and 1 dill head. Combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Pour boiling hot liquid over beans, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water canner. Let beans stand for at least two weeks before tasting to allow the flavor to develop.

Note: If you’re preserving at an altitude higher than 1,000 feet above sea level, adjust the process time for pickled green beans as follows: 1,001-6,000 feet = 10 minutes; 6,001-8,000 feet = 15 minutes.

This recipe is from “So Easy to Preserve, 6th Edition.