Canning pickles is a very important process which must be done with great care and precision. Pickles need to be canned well before they are consumed. Storage of pickles is done in cans so that they are ready to be eaten. Canning pickles is a long procedure and involves the following steps;
1. Bring together all the utensils and equipment necessary while canning pickles. Clean the equipment well. Ensure that the utensils are functional and not broken or chipped.
2. The pickle barrels and jars must be examined minutely for any cracks, scratches or chippings. The bands of the lids must also be examined properly.
3. It is recommended that the jars be washed in hot water with a bit of soap in it. Allow them to boil properly. Heating of the jars is necessary as it enables forming an air tight seal and thus prevents any sort of contamination of the pickle.
4. Dry the bands of the jars as well as lids.
5. Follow the recipe of the pickle to be made. When the pickle is ready, carefully place it inside the jars. Remove any air bubbles with the help of a spoon or a spatula.
6. Lid the jars firmly and tightly. Rubber bands may be used for securing the lids well in place.
7. Wipe the jars and the lids with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Residue may cause improper sealing which may prove dangerous.
8. Additional processing is required. This is done by placing the jars in simmering water for about 10 minutes until it comes to a boil. This additional processing ensures killing of microbes. After this processing when the jars are cooled, they become air tight and thus microbes are prevented from entering the inside of the jars. The heat should be properly adjusted and should not cause cracks or damaging of pickles. The heating can be done by 2 methods. Either a canner may be used which contains water and the cans are placed in it or else a large pot may be used in which the jars can be directly placed.
9. After the processing period ends, remove the jars from the boiling water. Dry them with the help of clean and dry towels. Spread them onto the towels to enable proper and natural air circulation.
10. It is recommended that after 12 to 20 hours the seals of the jars along with the bands must be checked properly.
11. Wash properly the exterior of all the jars. Once this is done, label the jars properly and store them in a cool, dry and a dark place.
12. After about a month the pickle is ready to eat. The pickle should be eaten within a year of its opening.
13. Once a jar of pickle is opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator.
Proper canning ensures that the pickle stays about as long as 1 to 2 years. Improper canning may cause the pickle to get damaged. If pickles are exposed to shelves without canning, this may cause spoiling of the contents. Thus, it can be seen that canning is the most important and necessary step while making pickles.