The best tastin’ pickle I ever heard

So remember about two weeks ago when I went to the lake with some friends?

No. You probably don’t.

I went to the lake a couple of weeks ago with some friends. And when we arrived my friend Jen Hatmaker gave us all our own cute little jars of pickles.

That she made.

From scratch.

Like from cucumbers she grew in her garden.

(Side note: Jen has a book out called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Maybe you’ve heard of it. If not, you need to buy it and know it may change your life a little bit.)

I feel like I need to clarify she didn’t make the jars from scratch. Just the pickles. Although for all I know she may have some sort of glass-blowing set up in her garage.

Anyway, the pickles were delicious. I’m pretty sure we ate most of them before we ever made it home and I wasn’t even a little sad that Sophie and Angie were afraid to try to take their jars home on the plane for fear of the airlines throwing their luggage and thereby wreaking pickle juice havoc on all their clothing.

I think I may have said, “Oh, I’m so sorry you can’t travel with them” as I packed them in my car and drove away. Because I have a weakness for a good bread and butter pickle.

Which is why I was amazed when Jen explained that they were easy to make. Up to this point in my life I’d always believed making your own pickles was for people who fell into one of two categories:

1. Pioneers

2. People who would rent a shovel and think it’s fun.

But it turns out there is a way to make pickles that doesn’t involve the traditional canning method. Not that I know what the traditional canning method is. I just think it involves things like a pressurized device that could blow up your house if you use it wrong.

So when I got home I got on the Google to find this easy way to make bread and butter pickles. And then I went to the store and bought actual mason jars and celery seed and something called turmeric.

I also bought cucumbers.

(Rome wasn’t built in a day, my friends.)

(I’m going to see if I can keep the plants on my front porch alive for a whole summer before I subject a bunch of innocent vegetables to homicide.)

And on Sunday I made pickles.

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I felt this level of accomplishment.

Which might be a sad commentary on my life, but whatever because, dude, I MADE PICKLES.

(And apparently now I say “dude”.)

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  1. Leigh says

    Melanie, I saw that recipe on Pinterest just last week and printed it out to try. So, are the pickles good? I have never canned, or pickled anything. Did own a pressure cooker when I first got married (it was a gift) but it always scared me so I never used it. And, if you won’t subject innocent vegetables to homicide I won’t either! If the good Lord had wanted me to grow my own produce there wouldn’t be a giant HEB within walking distance of my house!

  2. says

    Were they the Hungarian pickles you leave in the oven to seal? Made those for the first time myself this year and they were awesome! Sweet with a little kick at the end:)

  3. Erin Seaman says

    Ok, I have wanted to be a pickle-maker because I LOVE a good pickle. Unfortunately, I am trying the wrong recipes. I’ve only made 2 but they were both horrible. Yuck. And when you go through all the effort to actually make pickles, they better be good! So, if these turn out good, let me know. If not, could you get Jen’s recipe? I am on the hunt!! And good for you!

  4. says

    I love pickles! I’m going to have to try this recipe out. But what I think impressed me the most is now you say “dude”!

  5. says

    I, too began my journey in canning this year. My husband decided he would (for reasons still unknown to me) that he grow a garden this year. He planted TONS of banana peppers and brought them in and sat them on the counter. Umm..I only like banana peppers out of a jar and these were clearly not in a jar. So I put my big girl panties on, called my momma for help, and canned my very own peppers. And I must say…they’ve got Subway’s peppers beat by a long shot. SO worth it! Congrats on the pickles!

  6. Alyson says

    I have an awesome recipe I found for Knock-off Clausen pickles. They were so easy to make (no canning) and are DELICIOUS!!!!! Crunchy and garlic-y!!!! I’m hoping to make another batch this weekend from the remaining cucumbers we got from our garden.

  7. says

    I am dying over here. I felt the same way the first time I made freezer jam. I felt like I should have been one of the Boxcar Children or something.

  8. Sara says

    Bread and Butter piclkes bring back such fond memories. My Aunts always make them every summer. I was so facinated with the whole process when I was a little girl.
    Those Aunts canned everything that they grew in their very large gardens and that was a lot. Oh the house got so hot on they days they were canning( this was before AC) but those memories are such a good part of my life. Bread and Butter pickles are the best!

  9. Abby says

    I can’t keep the plants on my porch alive, but for some reason I can keep veggies alive. My garden is pretty dependent on God–(i.e. I often forget to water it!) Thus some years it’s great (this year!) some years it’s so so (last year during the drought), but every year it produces at least some veggies. You should try it–I think it seems easier than making pickles.

  10. Marie says

    How does one get to be 40 years old and has never made a pickle? I’m just curious.
    I was canning at 10 years old with my mother and continued until I finally retired my garden because of the (teenyweeny) yard. It’s the one thing I miss most of all – homemade pickles – 3 kinds. Well those and pickled beets.

    Now you know what you have been missing.

    Hugs from Minnesota

    • Laura B says

      I am 45, never made a pickle, and honestly, never intend to. Now that I know Big Mama is making them, I have a new source. Thanks Big Mama!!

    • says

      The same way you get to be 64 and have never made pickles!! There’s always something left to put on my bucket list! Melanie, i stand in awe of you and your pioneer woman efforts in the pickle department! Dude indeed!

      I’m on Hubby’s ipad in case this comes up with his name. He could care less about making pickles!

  11. says

    One adjustment of jungle life is the fact that pickles are a rare occurrence. By that I mean, you can’t run to the store and grab some Claussen’s off the shelf. I really want to make some because my daughter is a pickle maniac. In fact, her brother nicknamed her pickles. Needless to say, she is really missing her pickle fix. You’ve given me hope that maybe I too can make pickles all by myself.

  12. says

    I usually can once a year with my mom who has all the equipment (applesauce, tomatoes, salsa, beets, etc), but this year I made some bread and butter pickles all on my own and they were delicious! I bought my pickles as well (although they were from a farmers market) and I can’t believe I hadn’t done them before. I will be making pickles for years to come. I made some dill pickles as well, but I need to perfect the recipe on those because they didn’t turn out as delicious as the bread and butter pickles. Enjoy your pickles!

  13. says

    Homemade pickles are AWESOME! I first made refrigerator pickles back in the olden days when I was a newlywed trying to impress my husband. Wow, did we go through them fast! The next spring, I planted a dozen cucumber plants in my garden. Well, that was wayyyyyyy too many to make refrigerator pickles, so I learned how to do water bath canning and made Kosher dills, spicy dills, sweet pickles and — my favorite — garlic dill pickles. (You can find my recipe on my blog if you’re interested… there’s even a refrigerator-only option for it.)


  14. Kristy_mommy says

    I believe pickels are “all the rage” this summer as us middle agers tackle canning!!! At our house my husband and I love to go to the local Farmers Market, buy some cucumbers just right for pickling and then head home and get to work! It’s a project we share and I should at this point make the disclaimer that my husband is not domestic in any other way! It is just that he absolutely loves pickles and especially his own b/c he can make them as sour as he wants. We make hot garlic dill and also some bread and butter that are more like a good relish with peas and cornbread than a pickle. Anyways, I have done a lot of rambling but I just wanted to say “Bless your heart” and welcome to the pickle club! Aint’ it fun?!

  15. JustBetty says

    Two things.
    1. At the risk of awakening my comment-phobia self, I just needed to tell you I Loved Every Word of this Post.
    2. Amen! I was 7’ized [not a word] last year. And if I had a nickel for every person I strong-armed into reading that marvelous book, I’m pretty sure I would be a multi-thousandaire by now.
    3. Rule-breaker at heart, I would love to add a third thing -[here]- about my intense love bond with bread and butter pickles – but I’ll resist the urge.

  16. momof8 says

    Homemade pickles are the best! Make sure you use pickling cucumbers for the best results–happy pickling everybody!

  17. Nicole says

    So funny! I have been sitting on a sweet & sour home made pickle recipe for the last month – putting it off because the recipe states you MUST WAIT A WEEK for your pickles to, well, pickle and be ready to eat. There is no way I can wait a whole week! 24 hours I can do! : ) Thanks! Also, I think I could become addicted to cute jars!!

  18. says


    BIG MAMA NOW SAYS DUDE. YOU JUST MADE MY NIGHT. Now when you come to FL on your book tour, you can fit right in with the surfers. hahaa. Please say yes. Or else we will CRY.

    and also – YES. you can make the Worlds Best Pickles without canning. Awesome, huh?

  19. Marilyn says

    I used to pickle green beans. Yum. One time, though, I made a mistake reading the recipe and instead of putting the 1/4th tsp. of ground red pepper in the liquid to be used in all the jars, I put 1/4th tsp. in every jar. That was quite a zingy! batch, but good.