Saturday, July 30, 2011

Basic Dill Pickles

This morning my garden decided it was time to start Canning Season (unfortunately it didn't ask me - I was planning to clean the house!) I found 20 good-sized cucumbers (the first of the season), so it was definitely time to make the year's first batch of pickles. Coincidentally, this was also the day we used up the last jar of last year's pickles, so that worked out nicely!

My kids are huge pickle lovers, and they are particularly fond of my homemade pickles. Only through strict rationing does one summer's harvest last through the whole year! Thankfully, these are very easy to make:

Dill Pickles (very similar in flavor to Vlasic Dill Stackers)
(makes about 7 quarts)
10 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
Mix these together in a large pot and bring to a boil.

Into each quart canning jar, place:
2 cloves garlic
2 heads dill
Cucumbers to fill jar (this recipe works for slices or spears equally well)

Pour vinegar water over cucumbers in each jar, leaving ½ inch headspace. Process 7-10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

(If you have the space, these are good uncooked. Simply store them in the refrigerator until cured. They stay nice and crispy, and have a more cucumber-y flavor)

For pints, use 2 cups water, 6 Tbsp vinegar, and 1 ½ Tbsp salt

Since we all know our gardens don't produce by the canner load, sometimes you end up with half a jar of cucumbers, or one jar extra. Instead of wasting that half jar, or boiling a whole canner of water for just one jar, you can prepare the amount you do have (combine dill, garlic, cucumbers, and brine in the jar - just make sure you have enough brine to cover your cukes) and put them in the fridge until you get more. You can even half-fill your jars, store them, and fill them up later.

This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop at New Life on a Homestead


  1. I don't have a lot of luck with dill pickles. I'm told it's the water. What kind of water do you have, well, city, city treated, soft, etc? We have treated, softened well water. I'm not sure this is the reason, but thought I would check with someone who has success with canning dill pickles.

  2. We have well water. It's untreated, except for going through a string filter in the basement. What kind of trouble do you have? I thought you weren't supposed to use softened water for drinking/cooking?

  3. I don't know about not using softened water for drinking or cooking. This is a first. My DB says he thinks it's the amount of salt. Too much. The pickles are mushy, but I think they have good flavor. I am still using them. I cut off the inside, discard it and then use the part closest to the skin. But I really want a crisp dill.

  4. I've always found mushiness to be caused by cooking them too long. The lids didn't set on my first batch this year, so I boiled them again (they still didn't set - grrr. Must have been defective lids) and they were REALLY mushy! Perhaps try cutting back on the boiling time when you can them?

  5. Thanks. I'll try different water and reduce my processing time. I'll let you know how they turn out.

  6. Please do! I've never had to work with hard water, so it would be good to know if it really makes a difference.

  7. Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog today and every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings