I can always tell when The Husband has had one too many dill pickles by the tell-tale scent of dill emanating from his pores. It isn’t an unpleasant smell, but it is definitely distinct. After crawfish and chocolate pie, dill pickles are pretty high on The Husband’s list of favorite things to eat. Really, they don’t last long at our house. I buy a jar on Friday and by Sunday all’s that’s left is the brine.
But get this – he even drinks the brine!! He says it helps prevent muscle cramps after a workout. I say it’s gross. . .
The Husband’s love of dill pickles is the sole reason I decided to plant cucumbers this year. Between our garden and my mother-in-law’s garden, there have been plenty to go around.
Just a few notes:
These pickles are cooked, so they will be more limp than the crispy refrigerated Claussen pickles (although recreating that recipe is one of my goals before cucumber season ends).
The instructions call for you to use a nonreactive bowl and pot. This means use something other than aluminum or copper. Salt can cause aluminum to pit and vinegar will react with both metals and give the pickles a metallic taste. In this case clay, enamel, glass, plastic, or stainless steel is the way to go.
Something I learned from making this recipe:
A cucumber is 95% water. All that water can dilute your brine once you pack them in jars. Soaking cucumbers in salt water before pickling draws out some of the moisture and prevents this.
- 4 pounds pickling cucumbers
- 2 tablespoons canning salt or kosher salt
- 2½ quarts water
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons canning or kosher salt
- 6 teaspoons dill seeds
- 3 teaspoons pickling spices
- 6 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 6 pint mason jars, lids, and bands
- Slice cucumbers into ¼-inch thick slices.
- Place slices in a large non-reactive bowl. Combine two tablespoons of salt and the water. Stir until salt is dissolved. Pour salt water over cucumber slices. Cover and let stand overnight.
- Place jars in a large stockpot. Cover the pot with water until the tops are covered by at least one inch. Cover a bring water to a simmer over medium high heat.
- Fill another saucepan with enough water to cover lids and bands (don’t add your lids yet, though!). Bring water to a boil, then remove from heat. Place lids and bands in the water and allow to sit in hot water until you are ready to use them
- In the meantime, drain cucumbers.
- In a nonreactive pot, combine vinegars, water, sugar, and salt. Cover, bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
- Carefully remove jars from the hot water and drain (you may want to reserve the hot water just in case you need to add more to the pot later). Cover stockpot and bring water to a boil.
- In the bottom of each jar, add 1 teaspoon of dill seed, ½ teaspoon pickling spices, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Fill jars with cucumber slices.
- Using a funnel, carefully pour vinegar mixture over the cucumber slices, leaving ½-inch of headspace. Wipe rims with a clean damp rag or paper towel. Place a lid and ring on each jar and secure tightly.
- Place jars in boiling water. Add additional boiling water if needed to cover the lids by one inch. Once water comes to a boil, process for 10 minutes.
- Remove jars from pot and allow to cool on the counter on a towel. Check jars after 24 hours to ensure a seal.
- Allow jars to set for 1-2 weeks before opening.