Friday, October 3, 2008

My Dill Pickle Recipe

Here is a great recipe for dill pickles. I make these about every 2 years and I have never had to buy a jar of pickles in about 6 years. It sure is a money saver as well as tasting better than commercial pickles since you do not have to buy individual jars at the store. My recipe makes about 7 quarts so I just double it and make about 14 quarts of dills. I also make my own sweet pickles and my own bread and butter pickles, but we will just start with the dills here. I got my recipe out of my grandma's old cookbook called Freezing and Canning Cookbook by the Food Editors of Farm Journal; copyright is 1963 and if you can find this at a used book store or a vintage book store, it is a great book (and no my store does not have it, I already checked).

In this picture, on the left is my sweet pickle slices and the right is my dills which uses this recipe.

Fresh Pack Dill Pickles

17-18 lbs (3"-5") pickling cucumbers
2 gallons of water
1 1/2 cup salt
6 cups vinegar
3/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
9 cups water
2 tbsp whole pickling spices
whole mustard seeds
dill heads, fresh or dried

1. Wash cucumbers; cover with brine made by adding 1 1/2 cups salt to 2 gallons of water. Let stand overnight. Drain.
2. Combine vinegar, 3/4 cup salt, sugar, water, and pickling spices (tied loosely in a cloth bag). Heat to boiling.
3. Pack cucumbers into hot quart jars. Add 3 dill heads and 2 tsp mustard seeds to each jar. Pour boiling vinegar mixture, spice bag removed, over cucumbers to within 1/2" of jar tops. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath (212 degrees F) for 20 minutes.
4. Remove jars from canner and complete seals unless closures are self-sealing type. Makes 7 quarts.

A. Letting the cucumbers stand overnight in the salt water gives them their crunch. Do not skip this step or else your pickles will be soft and not at all crispy.
B. You can not only pack these as whole pickles, you can slice them or make spears out of them and do the same for the other directions no matter how you cut the cucumbers.
C. Utilize your farmer's market for your dill heads and cucumbers, they are willing to cut deals on bulk purchasing. I usually buy about 40-50 lbs of cucumbers at a time since I make 3 different kinds of pickles.
D. Beware of the boiling vinegar mixture, the fumes will knock out a horse, they are very strong. Ventilate your kitchen well when making pickles.
E. I NEVER open my pickles until 2 weeks after I pickle them, that way it makes sure they have a great dill taste when you do open them, sometimes cucumbers need the time in that confined space of the jar to soak up that great dill flavor.


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