Dill Pickles

This is our first year with a big garden, and I am loving it!!  Our cucumbers are gorgeous, and we’ve had enough to snack on as well as enough for the one thing I’ve been waiting for…pickling!  I pretty much heart dill pickles.  This brine comes from my Gram’s recipe, but the spice ratios I ad-libbed for our tastes.  I used dill heads from our own garden as well, so extra fun.  I did use pickle crisp because I did a BWB so they’d last a year+ and didn’t want soggy spears.  Also, I was out of canning salt so used sea salt (about the only alternative to avoid the anti-caking).

For planning purposes, 20 medium to large pickling cucumbers and about 40 dill heads yielded 9 jars of pickles.  The worst thing is waiting six weeks to see how they turned out!

pickles

For the brine:

  • 6-8 cups of white distilled vinegar
  • 6-8 cups of distilled water

The ratio is 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar per quart jar.  I use pints myself, best for eating the food before it spoils and also for gifts.  So 12 pints = 6 cups.  And I like the room for error and splashing. 🙂  If you’re a mess like me, go with 7 or 8 cups of each.

In the PINT jar (spices):

  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 6-10 peppercorns – I mixed it up with black, green, and pink
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 2-3 dill heads (if they’re big, 2 is good), or 2-3 teaspoons dill seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon pickle crisp

**Double the above for quart jars

Start a canner or large pot of water to boil.

Sterilize jars and simmer lids and rings.  Keep all hot until ready for packing.

Bring brine to a boil .  Place the spices in each pint jar.  Halve, quarter, or slice the cucumbers and pack them over the spices.  Pour enough brine into the jar to leave a 1″ head.

Place lid and ring on jar and tighten by hand – not too tight!  Tightening too much creates air bubbles that interfere with processing.  Process each pint jar in a boiling water bath for about 8 minutes, and each quart jar for about 15 minutes.  The bright green should juuuust disappear from your cukes (but they will have cooked and changed to an olive green – when done, you should still see some “raw” color).  You don’t want to overcook because it will make for mushy spears.

Place jars in a cool, dry place for about 6 weeks.

 

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