Last weekend I made and canned Dill Pickles for the first time. I don’t know why I didn’t do it last summer, it’s pretty easy and I’d love to have enough canned pickles for the whole winter and not have to buy them.
I picked up the pickling cucumbers from a local farm at the Farmer’s Market, made up the pickling spice mixtures, made up the brine, and although the recipe from my Williams-Sonoma Art of Preserving book said to slice them into 1/2″ slices, I wanted long pickles so I quartered them lengthwise.
I ended up getting five jars, which I was pretty disappointed by since I had several jars ready for canning and 7 lbs of pickling cucumbers sliced, but ended up running out of brine, and out of white vinegar to make more brine. I think the recipe has a shortcoming in how much brine it calls for having boiling and ready, but it could be from the way I cut my pickles.
Anyway, now we have to wait two weeks to let them set and develop flavor, so I’m anxious to pop open a jar and try them… and can more pickles. =)
(adapted from The Art of Preserving, adjusted to my liking for 8-9 pint jars)
5 lb pickling cucumbers, each about 1 1/2″ thick, quartered lenthwise
6 c. distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
4 T kosher salt
6 c. water
6-9 dill heads
16 cloves garlic
10 T. pickling spice
2 dried bay leaves, crushed
3 T mustard seeds
2 T coriander seeds
1 t whole allspice
1 T mixed peppercorns
1 T dill seeds
1 t red pepper flakes
Combine and store in an airtight container for up to one year.
Quarter cucumbers lengthwise and set aside.
In each of the 8-9 sterilized and hot pint jars, fill with 1 dill head, 1 T pickling spice, 2 garlic cloves, and 5 peppercorns. Heat up vinegar and salt in a nonreactive saucepan/dutch oven and add the water. Bring the brine to a boil, and keep at a boil, until ladling into the jars. Fill the jars with the cucumber slices as tightly as possible, filling to within 3/4″ of the rims. Ladle the boiling hot brine into the jars, to 1/2″ of headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe the rims, and seal tightly with the lids.
Place the hot jars (work quickly so your jars are still hot) into the boiling water bath and process for 11-12 minutes (for 4-5k’ elevation). Set aside jars for two weeks to allow flavors to develop. Store in a cool, dark place and enjoy within a year.