Pickling with Lemon Juice

July 20, 2019 S Malik 4 Comments

pickles on a plate

I was gifted a home canning starter kit by Bernardin. I have never pickled before, so I was excited. There was only one problem that is we cannot have vinegar as both my children get a reaction whenever they consume it. So I decided to substitute lemon juice for vinegar, so this is how I ended up pickling with lemon juice. I used Sweet Sliced Dills recipe as the base and then made necessary adjustments. If you have no problem consuming vinegar, I would recommend using the recipe as is on Bernardin website.

There were some mistakes along the way which I have adjusted in the recipe below. For example, my husband said it was way too salty. My daughter said it is not crunchy, otherwise they were very similar to store bought pickles. This maybe because following the recipe I cooked the onions and cucumbers in the pickling liquid, which of course softened the cucumbers. Also the liquid turned cloudy, I don't know whether it was because of the lemon juice or because of cooking the onions/cucumbers in the liquid. So instead of cooking the cucumbers, next time I will put the cucumbers directly in the jar. I would love to hear what mishaps you had when you made pickles for the first time.

This recipe has two major steps. The first one is to brine the cucumbers in pickling salt for 12 hours or overnight. Then the actual pickling takes place the following day. This recipe roughly makes 6 jars of pickles.

  • 40 hrs.
  • Makes: 6 jars
  • Medium


Adjust Servings:
4 lb pickling cucumbers
4 cups salt water - 1/2 cup pickling salt dissolved in 4 cups water
4 medium onions, sliced
4 cups lemon juice (from bottle)
1 cup water
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup pickling salt
6 cloves garlic
6 heads fresh dill, or 10 tsp mixed pickle spice

Nutritional information

Sat. Fat

Day Before

1 min
washing the pickling cucumbers
Wash the cucumbers.
5 min
spreading ice in a potspreading the cucumbers on top of ice
Layer ice in a glass or stainless steel container and then add cucumbers.
5 min
  • making the brine solution with Bernardin pickling salt and water
  • pouring the solution onto the cucumbers
  • covering cucumbers with extra water
Mix 1/2 cup pickling salt with 4 cups water and pour over the cucumbers. Add additional water to cover the cucumbers if needed.
12 hrs
fill freezer bag with water and place on top to immerse the cucumbers in the brine solution
Add water to a freezer bag and place on top of the cucumbers to keep them submerged. Leave in a cool dry place or in the fridge for at least 12 hours or overnight.

Preserving Day

10 mins
boiling water in hot water canner pot
Fill canner pot with water and bring to boil.
5 mins
jar lids in hot water
In a seperate bowl add hot water. Take off the lids of 6 jars and add to the water.
10 mins
  • placing empty jars in canner to sterilize
  • immerse jars in boiling water
  • keeping the jars hot until ready to use
Once the water in the canner starts boiling, place the jars in the canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Keep them hot until you use them.
10 mins
  • cutting cucumbers into spears
  • slicing onions
  • sliced vegetables
Drain and cut the cucumbers into spears or slices. Peel and slice the onions. Peel the garlic.
10 mins
Combine lemon juice, water, sugar and pickling salt in a pot and bring it to a boil.
10 mins
  • placing jars on counter top to fill
  • adding spice mix and garlic to each jar
Take the jars out of the canner. Add cucumbers, onions, a garlic pod and either a head of fresh dill or 2 teaspoon of pickling mix in each jar.
10 mins
  • Filling jars with pickling liquid
  • measuring if the jar is filled correctly
  • taking out a lid
  • placing the lids on a jar
Now add the pickling liquid to the jars, up to 1 cm of the rim. Now screw the lids.
10 mins
  • put the jars back into the  canner
  • making sure enough water to cover jars
Place the jars back in the canner and make sure at least an inch of water is covering the jars. Cover with lid. Bring to boil and continue to boil for 10 minutes.
24 hrs
After the processing time remove the lid and let it stand for 5 mins. Then take the jars out and rest them on a protected work surface and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours.

Cook Notes

  • Leave the onions out, if you dont like them.
  • You can use both the dill heads and pickling spice mix.
  • Cut cucumbers into slices or spears.

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  1. Interesting idea making pickled cucumbers with lemon juice. The acidity of the lemon juice or the salinity of salt will kill certain bacteria for the pickling process to occur. Both the salt and cooking will change the structure of the pickles making them softer. Also salt will draw moisture from the cells of the pickle causing milky canning water.

    One thing that you said makes me think that you might want to look into histamine intolerance for your children. Many types of vinegars are high in histamine You may be able to use apple cider vinegar instead, which has a surprisingly low level of it.

  2. interesting will try the apple cider vinegar

  3. Can you leave the sugar or most of it out? We like garlicky dills. Can you substitute Monk Fruit sweetener? It’s so much better on our glycemic levels.

    1. You can leave the sugar out. However, I am not sure about the monk fruit. It might turn bitter with a long cooking time.