Dustin and I have been talking about making pickles for what seems like forever.
You would not believe how easy it is, either. After making Fresh Peach Jam this summer, I thought pickles would be similar in the amount of work.
Truth is — pickles are even easier.
Basically: Cut, Pour and Seal.
The hardest part is having to wait at least one week while the pickles — well — pickle.
After doing some research, I chose a method for pickling the cucumbers that would make them as crisp as possible. ‘Cuz that’s how we like our pickles in the Baier household.
Oh — and please learn from my
super annoying mistake and don’t buy your pickling cucumbers four days early. Those little guys go bad fast! On Tuesday when I bought them, they were good and crisp but, on Thursday, they were already turning soft and even liquefying. Not so good for crisp pickles. Boo.
Needless to say, I had to buy seven pounds of pickling cucumbers twice. (Um…sorry to anyone who wanted to make pickles that week and shopped at my grocery store. I cleaned them out. Twice.)
This recipe for dill pickles is a pretty basic one. We wanted to start with a simple recipe on which we could build.
I really like bread and butter pickles so that’s definitely on my list. You can also add cloves of garlic or peppercorns to flavor the pickles if you so choose.
Homemade Dill Pickles
Tools You’ll Need
- Large Canner with Lid
- 7-10 1-Pint Canning Jars, Lids and Bands
- Large Pot
- Wide-Mouth Funnel
- Small Saucepan
- Jar Lifter
- Silicone Tongs
- Clean Cloth to wipe rims
- 7-8 lbs. pickling cucumbers, preferably 3-4-inches and crisp
- 1 1/2 cups pickling salt, divided
- 6 cups water
- 6 cups white vinegar
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use less if you really want to limit sweetness)
- 9 tbsp. dill seeds
- Optional: whole peppercorns, garlic cloves
Day 1 (Do this step if you want to maximize crispness)
Gently scrub cucumbers under running water to remove dirt and prickly bits. Trim off 1/8-inch from each end and prick all over with a fork.
In a large bowl, layer cucumbers and 1 cup pickling salt using about one-quarter of each per layer. Add enough cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Place a plate on top to weigh down the cucumbers. Cover and let stand at a cool room temperature for 12-24 hours.
Wash canning jars thoroughly in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Fill the jars with hot water and place in the canning pot. Fill the canning pot with hot water, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Cover the pot and bring the water almost to a boil over medium-high heat for at least 30 minutes. When the water is almost boiling, reduce the heat to keep at a simmer and keep the pot covered until you’re ready to use the jars.
In a small saucepan, bring approximately 2 inches of water to a simmer. Add the lids, cover the saucepan and remove from heat.
Rinse the cucumbers well and drain. Slice into spears (quarters, lengthwise) or into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and set aside.
In a large pot, combine the remaining 1/2 cup pickling salt, sugar, water, and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often until salt is dissolved. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and keep liquid hot. Keep covered to prevent evaporation when you’re not using the liquid.
Use the jar lifter to lift a jar out of the simmering water. Pour the hot water out into the sink and put the jar on a towel on the counter. Pack cucumbers into the jar, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace. Place the canning funnel over the jar and, using a ladle, pour hot pickling liquid into the jar, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add 1 tbsp. dill seed into the jar. Wipe the rim with a clean cloth or paper towel dipped in warm water. Using the silicone tongs, remove a lid disk from the saucepan of hot water and place it on the jar. Wipe jar rim and adjust lid until tight. Repeat with remaining pickles and jars. Discard any remaining hot vinegar mixture.
Place the jars into the canner and return to a boil. Process for 10 minutes (start timing after the water has reached boiling again). Turn off heat and remove the lid from the canning pot.
Use the canning tongs to transfer the jars to a clean towel on the counter and let them stand for 24 hours. The lids will make a “pinging” noise as they cool — this is the jar sealing. Any jars that do not seal should be refrigerated.
Let stand 1 week. Chill pickles thoroughly in the refrigerator prior to opening for best texture.
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