Don't you just love this time of year? What a thrill to walk out into the garden each day and find new treats to enjoy with our meals!
Our family always looks forward to the first harvest of fresh cucumbers. We grow some for slicing and some for pickling.
When the cucumbers and dill ripen at the same time, it's time to make pickles!
Every summer, I can a year's worth of pickles to eat on our weekly "Grilled Cheese, Pickles and Tomato Soup" night. While we prefer the crisp texture of fresh "refrigerator pickles", we simply don't have room in our fridge for 15 quarts of pickles, so I need to can them.
Over the years, I've tried many Water Bath Canning cucumber pickle recipes... and we've finally found our keeper!
This recipe uses the Water Bath Canning method. If you have never canned before, then ask around and see if you can learn alongside an experienced canner. While you can certainly learn how to can from a book, tutorial or video, there is NOTHING like first hand experience.
*To keep this post short and sweet, I'm going to assume you already know how to prep and sterilize all your equipment, and are thoroughly familiar with the canning process.
I found this recipe in the "Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving" (2009 edition). It is their classic "Dill Pickles" recipe, with the "Kosher-Style" variation. I've taken notes over the years, and my yields are a bit different than the original recipe in the book.
I highly recommend you add Ball Pickle Crisp to the recipe. We noticed a huge difference in texture when we compared batches made with and without the Pickle Crisp. You should be able to find it at your local grocery/hardware/farm store.
Fresh dill can be tricky to find, but never fear! We always grow plenty of dill on Three Acre Farm, so be sure to look for it on the Farm Stand - it's great for culinary use AND it looks great in floral bouquets. I love multipurpose plants!
Kosher- Style Dill Pickles
Yield: about 5 quarts
- 8 pounds small (4-6 inches) pickling cucumbers, cut into spears
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup canning salt
- 1 quart vinegar
- 1 quart water
- 3 tbsp mixed pickling spices
- Green or dry dill (1 head per jar)
- Bay leaf (1 leaf per jar)
- Garlic (1 clove per jar)
- Hot red pepper, fresh or dried (1 small piece per jar... or a pinch of red pepper flakes)
- Mustard seed (1/2 tsp per jar)
- Pickle Crisp (1/4 tsp per jar)
- Wash and drain cucumbers. Be sure to cut off the stem end, then cut into spears.
- Combine sugar, salt, vinegar and water in a large pot to make the brine. Tie pickling spices in a spice bag, cheesecloth or muslin. Add to brine mixture and simmer for 15 minutes.
- In each hot sterilized jar, drop dill, bay leaf, garlic clove, hot red pepper, mustard seed and Pickle Crisp into each jar. Then pack the jar with pickle spears, leaving at least 1/4-inch headspace.
- Ladle hot brine over the pickles, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles.
- Place lids and rings on jars. Process for 15 minutes in water bath canner.
- Once time is up, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Set the timer for 5 minutes, then remove jars once the time is up.
*If you happen to have leftover pickles and brine, but not enough for a whole jar, you can put the leftovers in a jar in the fridge and eat them over the next few weeks.
Enjoy! Nothing better than homemade pickles with grilled cheese sandwiches...
I would love to hear about your favorite summertime recipes!