Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Grandma's Homemade Dill Pickles

Learn how to make these crunchy Dill Pickles using pickling cucumbers from your summer garden and a simple brine. 
Use this simple recipe to transform garden fresh cucumbers into crisp, delicious Dill PicklesLast summer was the first year that I made homemade pickles. I always thought it was difficult to do, but I couldn't of been more wrong. 

The first pickles I canned were these Bread and Butter Pickles and then I moved onto Kosher Dills and these delicious Homemade Dill Pickles. I made so many pickles last year that I had plenty to last the entire year and still have extras for family and friends.  

Well, fast forward to this summer and my pickling cucumbers are overloading in my garden yet again. The only pickling cucumbers seeds that I plant is the Ferry-Morse Sow Easy Boston Pickling Cucumbers. The Ferry-Morse Sow Easy are the one brand that I know will grow and produce a high yield of  cucumbers which are perfect for pickling.  

Once the cucumbers start coming in, I end up picking at least 5-7 pickling cukes a day!!!  I usually just pick the cucumbers throughout the week and then store them in the refrigerator in a big bowl until I'm ready to make pickles. If you leave them out on the counter they will get limp rather quickly, so keeping them cold is best. I also use Ball's Pickle Crisp Granules when I can pickles which is just another step in ensuring that the pickles stay crisp after canning. 

The recipe below is a basic recipe for old fashioned dill pickles that, I found in my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving cookbook. This is the same cookbook that I used to make my bread and butter pickles so I highly recommend this cookbook if you like to home can.

I have given out numerous jars of pickles and everyone who tastes them always asks for the recipe. I have to say that I was amazed myself the first time I tasted them, because they tasted exact to store bought pickles. Let's get started on the recipe. 

Wash and dry cucumbers and trim away blossom ends (which contain enzymes) that will make the pickles limp. Cut the cucumbers into spears. In a large glass or pot layer cucumbers and ice. Dissolve half of the pickling or canning salt into 4 cups of water. Pour the water mixture over the cucumbers. Refrigerate or let stand in a cool place for 12 hours but no longer than 18. This step is very important in keeping the pickles crisp. No one wants limp pickles. 

After 12 hours, transfer the cucumbers to a colander placed over the sink and drain. Rinse the cucumbers with cool running water, drain thoroughly and set aside.  

Tie the pickling spice and bay leaves in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine remaining 2 cups of water, vinegar, remaining pickling salt, sugar and spice bag. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Reduce heat, cover and gently boil for 15 minutes, until the spices have infused the liquid. 

Lay the jars sideways and pack the cucumber spears and fresh dill into the jars within a half inch from the top of the jar. Stand the jars upright and add  1 teaspoon mustard seed, 1 clove garlic and 1/2 teaspoon pickle crisp granules to each hot jar. 

Ladle hot pickling brine into hot jars to cover cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove any air bubbles and add more hot brine if needed. Wipe the rims of each jar with a clean cloth. Center lids on jars and screw on bands to fingertip tight. 

Place the jars in the hot water bath canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil, cover and process jars (quart size jars 15 minutes, pint size jars 10 minutes). 

Remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing  jars to a the counter lined with a thick kitchen towel. As the jars cool the lids will pop and seal. When completely cool make sure lids are pressed down in the middle and sealed. If the lids are not sealed then reprocess again. 


Pickles are ready to eat about one week after canning. 



Grandma's Homemade Dill Pickles 

4 - pounds pickling cucumbers, trimmed and cut into spears 
8 - cups ice cubes
3/4 - cup pickling or canning salt, divided
6 - cups of water
3 - cups white or apple cider vinegar
1 - tablespoon pickling spice
2 - bay leaves 
1/8 - cup sugar
3 - 4 teaspoons mustard seed (1 teaspoon per jar) 
3 - 4 garlic cloves divided (1 clove per jar)
fresh dill weed 
Ball pickle crisp granules (1/2 teaspoon per quart size jar) 

  1. Wash and dry cucumbers and trim away blossom ends (which contain enzymes) that will make the pickles limp. Cut the cucumbers into spears.
  2. In a large glass or pot layer cucumbers and ice. Dissolve half of the pickling or canning salt into 4 cups of water. Pour the water mixture over the cucumbers.
  3. If necessary place a large clean inverted plate on top of the cucumbers and weigh the plate down so the cucumbers stay submerged. Refrigerate or let stand in a cool place for 12 hours but no longer than 18.
  4. Transfer the cucumbers to a colander placed over the sink and drain. Rinse the cucumbers with cool running water, drain thoroughly and set aside.
  5. Prepare water-bath- canner, and lids. Wash 3-4 quart size canning jars in hot soapy water and rinse well. Fill the jars with hot water and place in the canning pot and  sterilize the jars in boiling water. Remove jars and place on a towel on the counter.
  6. In a small saucepan, bring approximately 3 inches of water to a simmer. Add the lids and rings, cover the saucepan and remove from heat.
  7. Tie the pickling spice and bay leaves in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.
  8. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine remaining 2 cups of water, vinegar, remaining pickling salt, sugar and spice bag.
  9. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Reduce heat, cover and gently boil for 15 minutes, until the spices have infused the liquid (brine).
  10. Pack the cucumber spears into the jars within a half a inch from the top of the jar. Add 1 1/2 fresh head of dill , 1 teaspoon mustard seed, one clove garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pickle crisp granules to each hot jar.
  11. Ladle hot pickling brine into hot jars to cover cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove any air bubbles and add more hot brine if needed.
  12. Wipe the rims of each jar with a clean cloth. Center lids on jar and screw on bands to fingertip tight.
  13. Place the jars in the hot water bath canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil, cover and process jars (quart size jars 15 minutes, pint size jars 10 minutes).
  14. Remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing  jars to a the counter lined with a thick kitchen towel. As the jars cool the lids will pop and seal.
  15. When completely cool make sure lids are pressed down in the middle and sealed. If the lids are not sealed then reprocess again. 
  16. Pickles are ready to eat about one week after canning. Store jars in a your pantry for up to 12 months.

    Recipe yields:  3 - quart size jars
    adapted from: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving 





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