Eat: Homemade Quick Pickles for Teething

It’s cucumber season! As a family of serious pickle-lovers, mid-July is pickle mania in our household, and we usually most of our July weekends picking, pickling, and canning. Our pickles aren’t just for the adults though – we’ve discovered they make PERFECT toddler teethers! These crisp, chilly dills are great for gumming, healthier than store-bought, and only take about 10 minutes to throw together!  


Name brand pickles are often heavily salted and contain preservatives or sugars you don’t want to expose new teeth and growing bodies to, so I thought I’d share our favorite classic dill recipe, made into “teething pickles” with a couple of small modifications specifically for toddlers. Added bonuses? DIY’ing your pickles is less expensive, way more eco-friendly, and supports your local growers.


For more simple homemade kids’ snack options, try making your own cinnamon apple chips, DIY mozzarella cheese, or our lower-sugar DIY peach applesauce.

DIY Quick Pickles Ingredients:

Yields roughly 2 pint jars


  • 1 Lb. (about 4 Pickling Cucmbers or 6 Mini Cucumbers)
  • 2-4 Partly-Crushed Garlic Cloves
  • 6 Sprigs of Fresh Dill (Use the whole sprig!)
  • 2 tsp of Pickling Spice (Optional)
  • 2 tsp Mustard Seed
  • 1/8 tsp Pickle Crisper per jar


  • 1 c. Water
  • 7/8 c. Distilled White Vinegar (you could also use champagne or white wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 Tbsp Kosher Salt

You can reuse pint jars you have around, or pick some up (we’re big fans of our locally-owned Ace Hardware!).

Pickling cucumbers are just younger cucumbers that are flooding most farmers’ markets right now. And for anyone who wants to do a little experimenting, carrots and green beans also make excellent pickling yummies.

These crispy, chilled homemade dill pickles are perfect for toddlers cutting new teeth, only take 10 minutes to make & are healthier and more eco-friendly! | via barley & birch

DIY Quick Teething Pickles Instructions:

  1. Prep your jars and cucumbers

    Sterilize your jars, and thoroughly scrub your cucumbers. You can use the pickle whole (I still like to nip off the ends) or slice them into quarters. I’ve found bigger pickles make better teethers, but you may want to slice some up for yourself!

  2. Toss cucumbers and salt together and soak in an ice bath for 15 minutes

    If you want your pickles to have extra flavor and crispness, throw them into an ice bath with a toss of salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse. I recommend this, but it’s not necessary!

  3. Add the spices and seasonings to your jars

    Prep your jars by filling each with 1-2 garlic cloves, 2-3 sprigs of fresh dill, 1 tsp mustard seed, 1 tsp pickling spice, and crisper.

  4. Prepare your pickle brine

    Combine the water, vinegar, and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil.

  5. Add cucumbers to jars and fill with brine

    Stuff your jars with cucumbers, then slowly add brine until you’ve covered the cucumbers. Because we won’t be boiling and sealing our jars to store for months, you don’t have to follow all the rules traditional canning requires (like filling brine within a 1/4 inch of the top).

  6. Lid, refrigerate and let sit for 2-3 days before eating

    Lid, refrigerate and start enjoying after 2-3 days! You should store these pickles in your fridge and can safely eat them for up to 1 month.

To make the spicier “adult ” version of these, follow the same process, but add 1 bay leaf, an extra 1 or 2 garlic cloves, and 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (onions and red peppers are great to throw into the mix as well) per jar. Also, add an extra 3/4 Tbsp of salt to the brine. 

As with all of the simple recipes we share, this one provides lots of lovely opportunities to involve your little ones. And you don’t have to stick to just quick pickles either – I love these veggie variations and tips for involving kids in the pickling process from How We Montessori.

For more ideas to help develop your kids’ practical kitchen skills, visit our big collection of hands-on kitchen learning activities!

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Amanda E.
With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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  1. this is awesome. True story, I was sold what I thought were zucchini plants but turned out to be cucumbers. I seriously have cucs coming out of my ears. I will be printing out this post and making myself some pickles this week.

  2. One of my best friends grand mothers used to make the best pickles in the world! We would get in trouble hiding out in the garage gorging ourselves on them! I don’t know what it was, but they were soooooo sweet and they had little red things in them, and I have no idea what they were! But, oh! They were so good! I really miss her!
    Now my son and I eat them like they are going out of style, so I am really going to have to try to make these! Thanks for the recipe!

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