Penn State 'Let's Preserve' booklet leaves no one in a pickle

October 24, 2008

University Park, Pa. – Pickles are so popular that Americans consume more than 2.5 billion pounds of them each year. Since they always are in high demand, Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences makes it easy to can your own pickles with its booklet, "Let's Preserve: Quick Process Pickles."

Produced by the Department of Food Science, the booklet is part of the 14-publication "Let’s Preserve" series, which provides advice on how to safely can, freeze and preserve fruits and vegetables. The series provides instructions in a simple, recipe-style format that takes the guesswork out of food preservation.

Outdoing Baskin Robbins’ 31 flavors of ice cream, pickles are available in more than 36 varieties. The average-size dill pickle is the most popular and contains a mere 15 calories.

"Let's Preserve: Quick Process Pickles" provides a helpful, easy-to-follow recipe for fresh-pack dill pickles along with recipes for sweet pickles and pickled beets, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. The booklet also shows how to process pickles using either a boiling-water canner or a low-temperature pasteurization treatment. Processed pickle products that remain sealed are good for up to 24 months.

It is not safe to change vinegar, water or food proportions in a pickle recipe, said Penn State food safety specialist Martin Bucknavage, and using vinegar with an unknown acidity could lead to botulism. One should also use quality ingredients including firm, unblemished cucumbers. "You can tell a cucumber is bad when it softens up," Bucknavage said.

Additional information about preserving homegrown fruits and vegetables is available by contacting your local Penn State Cooperative Extension office or by visiting the Penn State Food Safety Web site at online.

Single copies of "Let's Preserve: Quick Process Pickles" can be obtained free of charge by Pennsylvania residents through county Penn State Cooperative Extension offices, or by contacting the College of Agricultural Sciences Publications Distribution Center at (814) 865-6713 or by e-mail at For cost information on out-of-state or bulk orders, contact the Publications Distribution Center. The publication also is available on the Web at online.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009