If I had to choose an essential canning project for the season it would be dill pickles. A year without homemade dill pickles to accompany our grilled cheese sandwiches would be incomplete.
Since my garden isn’t doing too well in the pickling cucumber department, I had to call in some help from Pure Prairie Farm. They are one of my favorite farm stands at the Oswego Farmer’s Market, and when I saw on Facebook that they were selling pickling cucumbers, I arranged to pick up ten pounds last Sunday. They were very generous with their pickling cucumbers. I think I paid a little over a dollar a pound–a fine price in exchange for having pickles year round.
I used a recipe for Pop’s Dill Pickles that I found on All-Recipes. I haven’t used this one before, but I liked it because it said to soak the pickles in an ice water bath for several hours. This cold bath helps create a crunchy pickle. The key to keeping a crunch is to get them nice and cold, pour the hot brine over them, and process them immediately. It’s all about timing, so make sure your canner and brine are boiling before you start packing the jars with cucumbers.
Total working time was about one hour. This doesn’t include soaking time or waiting for the water to boil. Stretched out, it took an afternoon–well worth the effort for a winter of pickles!
Here is the recipe. I doubled the amount of brine because I always run out. Maybe I don’t pack the jars tightly enough?
Adapted from All Recipes ”Pop’s Dill Pickles”
- 8 pounds small pickling cucumbers
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups distilled white vinegar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup pickling salt
- 3 tablespoons pickling spice, wrapped in cheesecloth
- 7 1-quart canning jars with lids and rings (I used 9)
- 7 heads fresh dill (or one teaspoon dill seed [not weed] for each jar)
- 7 cloves garlic
- Place cucumbers in a large pot and cover with ice cubes. Let them sit for at least 2 hours but no more than 8. Drain and pat dry.
- Place the water, vinegar, sugar, pickling salt, and pickling spice into a saucepan. Bring to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
- Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the cucumbers into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Place 1 dill head and 1 clove of garlic into each jar. Pour the hot pickling liquid into the jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.
- Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 5 minutes, or the time recommended by your county Extension agent.
- Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). If any jars have not sealed properly, refrigerate them and eat within two weeks. Store in a cool, dark area, and wait at least 1 week before opening.
And look at the cutest little Roma I found in the garden!
This post was shared on the Little House in the Suburbs Friday DIY Linky #12. Take a look and see some other exciting ideas.