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From the garden to the pantry all in a single afternoon. Dill pickle spears are our family’s favorite way to preserve the cucumbers we grow each summer. After a 5lb harvest this weekend, it was time to break our the canning kettle and put up some pickles!
My dill pickle recipe is a little different than others you may find. For starters, you don’t have to soak the cucumbers in salt water first. You also don’t have to cook your cucumbers in the pickling liquid. The result, a crisper dill pickle. The only downside is that you have to wait about 3 weeks before opening a jar because the flavors need time to develop, but trust me, it will be worth the wait!
The best cucumbers for making pickles are pickling cucumbers. I know, its obvious isn’t it. But the smaller variety “kirby” cucumbers just work better. You cut each cucumber into 6 pieces – half long ways, and then in thirds – and then stack them in the jars. Every now and again, you will need to shorten your cucumbers so they aren’t too tall. We put those chunks in a separate jar and top them off with the brine just for us (not gifting nor for the fair).
For 8 pints of pickles you will need:
6 cups of white vinegar
2 quarts of water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 cup kosher salt
Assembling Your Jars
Each hot, wide-mouth pint jar gets:
Then, stack your cucumbers neatly. Fit as many spears into each jar as you can.
Top the jars with your pickling liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Wipe the rims and top with hot lids and clean rings.
Canning Your Pickles
You now have 2 options. Option 1 – let your pickles cool on the counter and then pop them in fridge where you ignore them for at least 3 weeks before opening. Option 2 – can your pickles so that they are shelf-stable and then store them in the pantry a minimum of 3 weeks or up to a year (flavor and appearance may change after a year, but your pickles are still safe as long as they have been stored properly and remain sealed).
I opt to can all of our pickles, with the exception of any partial jars (usually the jar of chunks from cutting the cucumbers down to size).
Place your jars in a hot water bath canner, so that the hot water is covering the jars by at least an inch. Bring the canning kettle to a boil. Once the water reaches a boil, set your timer for 10 minutes. Adjust times for your elevation. When they are finished processing, turn off the heat, and remove the jars to a tea towel on the counter.
Leave your jars on the counter to cool for 24-hours. You will hear the jars ping as they pull a seal. At the end of 24-hours, test your seals. Any jars that didn’t seal go into the fridge. All of the sealed jars, remove the rings for storage, wipe down the jars, and into the pantry they go.
- 5-7 lbs of cucumbers
- 6 cups of white vinegar
- 2 quarts of water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp pickling spice
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp mustard seed
- 1/8 tsp Pickle Crisp Granules
- 3 springs of fresh dill
- Yield: About 7 Pints
- Place all of the pickling liquid ingredients in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Once at a simmer, let it go for about 5 minutes, and then you are ready to top your jars.
- In each jar, put 1-2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of mustard seed, 1/8 teaspoon of Pickle Crisp Granules, and 3 springs of fresh dill.
- Stack your cucumbers neatly, fitting as many in each jar as possible.
- Top the jars with your pickling liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims and top with hot lids and clean rings.
- Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (adjust time for your altitude).