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!
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.