I think these are the best homemade dill pickles. When chilled, they are crunchy and swimming in the yummy brine. This is a like a gift from heaven and fairly low salt content. YUMMY!!!
- 8 pounds pickling cucumbers, 3-4 inches
- 1 1/2 cups pickling salt
- 2 gallons filtered water (like the through the fridge door or a Brita)
- 1 1/2 quarts white vinegar (5%)
- 1/4 white sugar
- 3 tablespoons mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons mixed pickling spice
- 14 sprigs fresh dill
- 7 tablespoons dill seed
- 7 cloves of garlic
- 20-30 whole black peppercorns
- Dissolve the 3/4 cup of salt in the 2 gallons of filtered water in a large stockpot, usually by bring the water to boil, and pouring the salt in and letting cool. Cut a small slice across the blossom end of each cucumber, but leave the stem end. Keep cutting and adjusting till you get all your jars and cucumbers packed and fitted nicely. Remember you are going to leave 1/2 inch headspace of liquid, so make sure your cucumbers are 3/4 from the top of the jar or lower.
- Place the cucumbers in the large stockpot and allow them to stand 24 hours in the brine. I often load up this brine with mustard seed, and other loose pickling spice. After 24 hours drain well, rinsing several times to remove the excess salt.
- Prepare to make pickles 24 hours later
- Get the jars and lids sterilizing. The dishwasher is fine for the jars. Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap! It’s also a good time to start heating up the water in the canner and the small pan of water to boil the lids. Personally the trick I use is that I ran the jars through whatever my last load of dishes was and then leave them in the dishwasher. (I think I am like a lot of people in that I pre-rinse most of my dishes before loading them in the dishwasher anyway, right?) Then after washing with soap and other dishes, I just wash them again with no soap.
- At this point where you are ready to start packing and making pickles, go ahead and get the water-bath canner water started heating. Let it get up to a boil and then turn it off if you are not yet ready for it. Keep the lid on it to retain heat and steam evaporation.
- Lids: Put the lids into a pan of boiling water for at least several minutes. This helps soften the sealing compound of the lid. This is why the little lid lifter with the magnet is cool, because they get very hot. I have also found it good to layer my lids in an alternating fashion in the pan, so they don’t stick to each other.
- Make the canning brine
- Back in the large stockpot; combine the vinegar, the other 3/4 cup of salt, sugar, 2 quarts of filtered water, and mustard seed. This time use a small spice bag like from muslin (which you can get from the store, in a good house wares, or kitchen store) for the 2 tablespoons of mixed pickling spice. Add the mixture in the bag to the new brine and set it to a boil for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, start packing the cucumbers back in the jars. Make sure you add 1 tablespoon of dill seed and 3-4 black peppercorns to each jar. I also add a whole clove of peeled garlic, with the root end snipped off and often if I have it a sprig of fresh dill to each jar, and sometimes I slip a bay leaf in as well.
- Remove the spice bag and cover the pickles in each jar with the boiling briny syrup leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Make sure you wipe down the rims of the jars, and carefully seat the lid and hand-tighten the ring around them. Be sure the contact surfaces (top of the jar and underside of the ring) are clean to get a good seal!
- Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 20 minutes for pints. Remember to adjust the time if you are at a different altitude other than sea level!
Let sit for 4-6 weeks before eating.
|About MichaelMichael loves gardening, cooking, canning and playing with the kids. Teaching Max, Brandon and Jonathon about cooking from Scratch and Living with the Land and Off the Grid.|