Since I love both cooking and gardening I will also be posting healthy recipes I love and sharing gardening tips with you. Exciting I know. The first of many from my heart to yours. A classic – Dill Pickles!
In canning dills over the years I have come to learn – there IS such a thing as bad pickles. Too Vinegary. Or soft (the worst 🙂 ) Honestly, finding the best dill recipe is a bit like the three bears. Or a first date. You really do want them to turn out “just right“. 🙂
That being said, this year I landed on a good one.
A friend of mine Teresa had come across a book while adventuring in the NC mountains with her family. I decided to veer off from the recipe I typically use from my mother. And combine my mother’s with the one Teresa had shared. Enjoy.
3 c. distilled white vinegar
2 tbsp. kosher / pickling salt
3 c. filtered water
6 tbsp. pickling spice – 1 tbsp/jar
6 nice sprigs of garden dill, washed + 1/4 tsp of dill seed per jar
12 Cloves garlic ( 2 – 3 / jar )
6 lbs cucumbers, cleaned and speared
36 peppercorns – 6 per jar
Cayenne – small pinch per jar
1 carrot peeled and speared ( for a pop of color )
Before you dig in prepping your ingredients you are going to want to process / clean your jars and lids to kill off any and all bacteria. My favorite way to do this in the dishwasher. Simply run them through and finish on the “HOT” dry cycle. If this is not an option for you, take a look into how to process your jars in the oven. You can do it there as well. While your jars are getting ready – you can get started with the ingredients you need for your pickles. Clean and chop your cukes, garlic and carrots ( if you are using ) And get your spices ready
When you stuff your jars there are two things you want to pay attention to. 1) Leave head room at the top as a general rule, I leave the width of my jar rim this leaves lots of room for brine and air space for sealing. If you do not leave space there is a good chance your jar WILL NOT seal. I repeat. You may be wasting your time. 2) Pack them tight. And I mean super tight! Work from one side to the other, until your jars are packed nice and full. If you have any cukes which are too tall simply slice them off. If you don’t pack tight your pickles will float off into oblivion when you add your brine. Work One jar at a time. Add in the Dill, Spices, Garlic, Carrot ( if Using ) and then Dills.
Time to prepare your brine. Into a pot on your stove add: vinegar, salt and water. Mix constantly over medium high heat until mixture boils and salt reduces fully into vinegar.
Add Brine to Jars and Seal
Using a funnel, carefully add brine to each jar. Pay close attention not to slop the brine on the mouth of the jar. If you are messy here there is a good chance your lid will not seal! So try your best to not make a mess. If you do slop – it is ok, just be sure to use a clean wet rag and wipe the rim. You will want to leave 1/2 inch head space to leave room for sealing.
Using a hot water bath or steam canner, process jars for 7 minutes. You do not want to process your jars longer than this as you do not want to cook your pickles.