How to can dill pickles

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Some days I just want a pickle, and nothing compares to a perfectly crisp home canned pickle. They top my burgers and hot dogs all summer long, but more importantly, in the winter time, they remind me that summer will come again.

How to can dill pickles

The very best pickles cant be bought in a grocery store. If you want a good pickle, you’ll have to ask grandma for a jar or learn how to make them yourself. I kick myself every time I don’t can quite enough for a full year. In those years, I find myself scanning the supermarket shelves, hoping for anything that might qualify as a real pickle.

I’m always disappointed. How can they get away with charging $8 for a jar of wilted, slimy excuses for pickles? On top of that, they’re loaded with preservatives that have no business in pickles. Every time I reach this point I vow that next summer there will be more pickles.

How to can dill pickles

My secret to the perfect pickle is to select small cucumbers, about the size of your pinky finger. Whether you’re making slices of whole dills, the size of the cucumber is key. Anything bigger is best suited to pickle relish or hog feed. (If you have really super tiny baby cucumbers, try making miniature gherkins (cornichons), which are made with a very different recipe.

When you select cucumbers for canning pickles, the seeds should be barely visible. The picture below has a cross-section of 3 different cucumbers. The top one has fully formed seeds, and they’re already beginning to fall out a bit. If you can this cucumber, the center would fall out and the outside would never be crisp. If all you have is giant cucumbers, try making refrigerator dill pickles.

The bottom two cucumbers are both acceptable for canning but choose the smaller slices on the left for best results.

How to can dill pickles

The top cucumber is only suitable for hog feed. The one at the bottom right will work, but the bottom left cucumber will give the best canned pickles.

If you have very large cucumbers and your heart is set on canning, you can also try making either dill pickle relish or bread and butter pickles. Both of those recipes are designed to accommodate large overripe cucumbers. The cucumbers are layered with salt for about 2 hours before canning, which draws out extra moisture and removes bitterness from the overripe cucumbers. Added sugar in both recipes also helps mask any residual bitterness, and a bit of turmeric makes up for the fading color as the cucumbers are past prime.

Jar size also makes a big difference for home canned pickles. You can have the best pickle recipe in the world and the freshest tiny cucumbers, but if you can in quart jars they’ll be overcooked. Always can in pints rather than quarts . Quarts require longer processing times and are liable to produce mushy pickles.

How to can dill pickles

There’s an old-school practice of soaking pickles in pickling lime before canning, and this helps keep them crisp during the canning process. It’s a complicated process, and involves a lot of time and mess, soaking and rinsing. Not to mention a lot of lime.

These days, most canners substitute something called pickle crisp. It doesn’t have anything funny in it, just calcium chloride. The calcium helps to reinforce the cell walls in the cucumbers, and that keeps them from popping during the canning process. The end result is firmer pickles without a lot of extra work.

It doesn’t take a lot of calcium chloride to get the job done. Roughly 1/8th tsp per pint or 1/4 teaspoon per quart. Just spoon it into the bottom of the jars along with the spices. Pickle crisp is optional, but it will help ensure crisp home-canned pickles.

How to can dill pickles

The spices in my pickle recipe include fresh dill, mustard seeds, dill seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns. Note again the small cucumber slices, with seeds barely visible.

Making pickles at home is simple, assuming you have the right ingredients. I include fresh dill, mustard seeds, dill seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns. If for some reason I can’t find fresh dill, extra dill seed will work. Fresh dill tends to come in large bundles from the grocery store or farmers market, and if you have extra, try making dill pickled green beans, known as dilly beans here in Vermont.

Start by packing spices, cucumbers, onions and garlic tightly into jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Cover with hot brine, and water bath can. Wait at least 2 weeks for flavors to infuse, and ENJOY!

How to can dill pickles

If you’re giving them out as gifts, consider some cute labels. Chalkboard labels are all the rage these days, but I stick to ball canning’s dissolvable labels because they’re easy to remove so that you can reuse the jar once it’s empty.

If you really want to save money on pickling, buy your canning supplies in bulk. While rings and jars can be reused, lids should be new each time to ensure a good seal. We buy our canning lids in bulk online and bring our canning unit costs down considerably. If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can also try a pre-made dill pickle spice mix, just make sure your cucumbers are fresh and tiny.

How to can dill pickles

If you’re just getting started canning, but plan on making canning and preserving food part of your lifestyle long term, try investing in an online canning course. Pioneering today has a canning with confidence course that takes you through the ins and outs of canning from basic canning safety all the way through to pressure canning meat at home. The course covers:

  • Canning Safety – Safe techniques to for home canning
  • Water Bath Canning – Jams, jellies, pickles, tomatoes, and other high acid fruits and vegetables including low sugar, no pectin variations.
  • Pressure Canning – How to safely operate a pressure canner at home to can almost any type of food for long-term preservation
  • Troubleshooting and Storage – Figuring out why a recipe just didn’t work, and maximizing storage of your home canned goods.

Because we get lots of questions on how to make pickles we decided to share our favorite crispy dill pickle recipe.

We love to make our own pickles from our garden cucumbers. But how disappointing when you open a jar and bite into a soft and mushy pickle!

So why is it so difficult to get a pickle to become crunchy? There are several reasons.

7 Tips and Tricks – Our Crispy Dill Pickle Recipe

1. The most important way to avoid mushy pickles is to use fresh picked, pickling cucumbers.

Standard garden salad cucumbers are not ideal for making pickles. These cucumbers are too large and contain a thick seed base as compared to pickling cucumbers.

You want to make sure to use smaller cucumbers that are made for pickling, such as National Pickling Cucumbers.

2. When picking them out of the garden, look for slim and dark green cucumbers with prickly bumps on the skin.

If it has begun to yellow or become overly swollen, it will not make a good pickle – save that one to enjoy as a snack or with a salad.

3. Another important tip for crisp dill pickles is to make them within hours of picking.

The water in cucumbers begins to evaporate soon after picking, leaving them to soften quickly. And that means soft and mushy pickles.

4. Also, make sure to cut off the blossom end of each cucumber.

The tip contains an enzyme that can change the overall chemical balance in your pickles causing them to soften when canned.

5. Another possible reason that you might get mushy pickles is by over-processing them.

It is best to have your hot water bath close to a boiling point when hot packing your jars so they don’t spend excessive time in the hot water.

We use the Ball Water Bath Canner and Tool Kit to easily make our pickles.

Skip the Alum

6. Alum is no longer a recommended additive for canning pickles per the FDA.

Alum can still be found on the shelves in the spice aisle or canning section; however, it is no longer approved for canning pickles.

7. And finally, our secret to crisp dill pickles – adding half of a grape leaf to each jar.

This really isn’t a secret, rather an old method that has been passed down from generation to generation.

These tannin-rich leaves keep lacto-fermented foods crispy, without negatively affecting the taste of the pickles.

For us, it is easy to use grape leaves – we just gather a few from the vineyard, but you can find them by asking neighbors, local vineyards, and of course picking them from wild crops.

Crispy Dill Pickle Recipe

*makes approximately 7 pints

INGREDIENTS

6 lbs. pickling cucumbers (approximately 3-4 cucumbers per jar)
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
4 Tbsp. pickling salt
7 garlic cloves, peeled
7 tsp. dill seeds
3 1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
4 large, fresh grape leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prepare jars – wash or sterilize them in the dishwasher – keeping them hot.

2. Start water bath now – you want it close to the boiling point by the time you are ready to add your jars.

3. Wash cucumbers – making sure to scrub the skin thoroughly.

4. Cut off each end of the cucumber, and slice, dice or spear as desired.

5. In a medium sauce pan, over medium high heat, bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil.

6. In each jar, add 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of dill seed, and 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns to the bottom.

7. Pack cucumbers tightly into each jar.

8. Pour hot brine over cucumbers, leaving 1/4 inch head space at the top of each jar.

9. Run a plastic utensil on the inside of the jar to release any air bubbles.

10. Add 1/2 of a grape leaf on top of the cucumbers.

11. Wipe top of jar with a clean damp cloth, add hot lid and band.

12. Place in hot water bath and process for 10 minutes at a rolling boil. (Adjust time based on altitude as required)

13. Remove jars with a jar lifter and place on a thick towel and let cool at room temperature for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, check to make sure the jars are sealed by pressing down on the center of the lid. If it does not ‘pop’ then it is sealed. If you are able to press down on the lid, place in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.

It is best to wait at least 2 weeks before opening your first jar of pickles — believe me, it’s worth the wait!

Enjoy!

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Published: Jun 16, 2020 by Cheryl Magyar · This post may contain affiliate links.

Store-bought pickles come with a delightful crunch, but they also come with added sugar and a ton of salt, often accompanied by a hint of preservatives and artificial colors. Hello, Yellow 5!

To make the perfect, crunchy homemade pickles you need and desire, all you have to do is create a balanced brine.

If you aren’t one to measure ingredients in the kitchen, now is the time to throw that inhibition aside and make absolutely sure that the vinegar to water ratio is just right.

There is even a pickling brine calculator to help you out.

Basic ingredients for homemade pickles

Exploring the art and beauty of self-reliance, as all homesteaders strive for, you’ll gradually get into the mindset of making your own pickles – even 25 jars in one day!

That may be enough for the entire year, if you spread out the goodness. Though you needn’t stop at pickles – zucchini relish and pickled garlic season is coming soon.

Here is your ingredient list for making basic pickles, use as many spices as you enjoy and experiment with different flavor combinations to find out what you like best:

  • fresh cucumbers
  • apple cider vinegar, or other vinegar with 5% acidity
  • salt – pickling and canning salt, kosher or sea salt (make sure it is additive and anti-caking agent free)
  • garlic
  • hot peppers
  • fresh herbs – dill flowers and leaves, basil
  • spices – turmeric, dill seeds, peppercorns, anise seed, bay leaves, coriander seeds, nutmeg
  • horseradish
  • water

Choosing the best cucumbers for canning

If you want to preserve whole cucumbers, you’ll want to look for the smallest cucumbers you can find. Make sure they are firm, reasonably uniform in size, with a blemish-free thick, green skin – and always choose the unwaxed ones!

The cucumber season usually starts in late June through early July, but if you are growing cucumbers in your own garden, you’ll find that perhaps you need to can in small batches as they won’t be ready all at the same time.

It may also happen that the growing season isn’t what you expect. Unexpected things happen to any gardener: the weather gets too cold, it rains too much, or too little, the morning fog invites fungus, and the harvest is less than desirable. Do a random taste test to ensure the crop is not bitter.

Of course, there is always the local farmers market for obtaining the glut of ideal cucumbers. Even then, be prepared to adapt and change your pickling plans.

The window for making pickles is short and if all you can find is larger cucumbers, don’t despair! If the cukes are too long/wide for your jars, slice them and make spears instead. Work with nature, not against it.

Step-by-step: Homemade dill pickle slices

1. Collect your fresh ingredients, salt and apple cider vinegar, then raid your spice shelf or garden for added flavors.

2. Cut the ends from the cucumbers and slice them evenly in rounds, or spears. 1/4″ thick is a good slice to shoot for.

3. Fill the jars with garlic and herbs, then pack tightly with cucumbers.

4. Make the pickle brine and bring to a boil (in a non-reactive stainless steel or enamel pot) on the stove:

  • 1 liter (4.2 cups) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 liter (4.2 cups) water
  • 65 grams (1/2 cup) salt

Depending on how many jars of pickles you are canning, adjust this amount of brine accordingly.

5. Pour hot brine over the packed pickles, leaving 1/2″ of headspace. Keep everything clean and be sure to wipe any spills on the rim with a damp paper towel.

Useful pickling tip: 6 cups of brine (half water, half vinegar) should be enough for 4 pounds of pickling cucumbers.

6. Put the lids on the jars and carefully lower them into a hot water bath, making sure the water is one or two inches above the jars. Bring to a gentle boil and leave for 10 minutes.

7. Carefully remove jars with a jar lifter and allow them to come to room temperature slowly.

8. Leave them to set for 24 hours, then check that all lids have sealed. If they haven’t, you get to eat pickles right away. Just keep them in the fridge for up to two months – if they last that long!

9. Store your pickles in the pantry, or in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Make sure to add a label with the date, and wait at least two weeks before opening the first jar, allowing the flavors of garlic and dill to meld together.

Homemade pickle slices or spears? Why not both?

Optional: To prevent your pickles from becoming limp, some recipes call for soaking the cucumbers in a non-reactive bowl (think ceramic or glass) with a solution of 2 1/2 quarts of water with 3 tablespoons of salt. Let this sit, covered, for anywhere from 3 to 12 hours, then drain the slices and proceed with the water bath method of canning.

Drink your homemade pickle juice!

You already know the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar, now that you have made your homemade dill pickle slices in ACV, there is no reason to let any of it go to waste.

Leftover pickle juice is wonderful for:

  • tenderizing meat
  • boiling potatoes in it
  • a post-workout drink
  • re-pickling juice (toss in some fresh sliced veggies, or hard boiled eggs, and store in the fridge)
  • salad dressing or adding to mayonnaise
  • relieving heartburn
  • a rehydration cure – it balances electrolytes and replenishes sodium levels
  • dill pickle soup

Benefits of fermented dill pickles

Most pickle recipes include vinegar (apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, wine vinegar or white vinegar) as a preservative – and to give it that characteristic sour crunch. However, homemade pickles can be made without vinegar too!

See, the addition of vinegar prevents natural fermentation. This results in a cucumber without any probiotics. As you sterilize everything and eliminate the dangerous bacteria – Clostridium botulinum – you are also killing gut-friendly lactic-acid bacteria and other beneficial microbes.

Fermented foods are easier to digest than their raw or cooked counterparts, they have an increased nutritional value and they are uncomplicated to make too. Why not crunch in the best of both worlds? Make some pickles in brine, and try them fermented too.

Want to follow the best recipe for naturally fermented pickles?

Whichever way you choose to preserve your cucumbers, know that you are on your way to canning whatever fruits and vegetables you choose.

Knowing the ingredients in what you cook, serve and eat, is empowering in every way, especially when you are looking after your health in a holistic way.

Did we mention, a jar of homemade pickles makes for a magnificent gift?

Get gardening and start filling your pantry with pickles, chutneys and jams of all sorts!

Learn how to make an old fashioned dill pickle recipe and how to can it. This is an old recipe that’s been passed down for generations. It has a distinct garlic and dill flavor that pairs well with sandwiches and other foods, and the pickles are great on their own as a snack.

Like most women from her generation, my grandmother was an expert at preserving food. She grew up on a farm and later bought a farm with my grandfather.

She raised four kids while my grandfather farmed. She was an amazing cook, and I’m so glad to have some of her recipes.

This particular recipe was lost for many years after my grandmother passed away. None of the kids had the recipe, so we thought it was gone forever.

Then my mother, who married in to the family, found the recipe in her recipe box almost 10 years after my grandmother passed away.

I got it too late last year to make pickles, so you better believe it was the first thing that I made this year when my cucumbers were ripe.

My grandmother’s dill pickle recipe calls for a grape leave on the bottom of each jar. It’s supposed to keep the pickles crisp. Does it? I have no idea. My grandma said to use it, so I use it.

For this recipe, I’ll assume that you know the basics of canning. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. I will try my best to answer.

My dad and step mom still can, but they use pouches of premade mixes. Don’t get me wrong, they are still better than store bought, but nothing compares to your grandmother’s old recipe, ya know?

This recipe has a few extra steps, but it’s oh so worth it. I put a jar of pickles on the table for most meals. I even sneak a few as a snack.

In the winter when the days are short and dreary, it’s nice to grab a reminder from last summer and think about the summer days ahead.

If you don’t have enough cucumbers to can or just don’t want to can, try my small batch refrigerator dill pickles. These are a great substitute when you don’t want to wait for canned pickles.

Learn how to make dill pickles with this easy recipe for canning dill pickles in slices or spears! Get crunchy dill pickles without pickle crisp by using this secret ingredients!

How to can dill pickles

Having a few dozen jars of home canning dill pickles in my pantry is one of my favorite sights. And canning them myself with this easy dill pickle recipe is even better!

Since I like to keep my ingredients as pure as possible, this dill pickle recipe for canning pickles is made without pickle crisp!

Yet, the dill pickles in slices or spears are still crunchy and crisp thanks to a secret ingredient!

Dill Pickle Recipe for Canning

I grew up on store bought pickles. In fact, I could take down a jar of kosher dill pickle spears all by myself!

And when I started canning sweet pickles a few years back, I knew that dill pickles were going to be next on my canning list!

After a bit of experimenting, I came up with an easy and delicious dill pickle recipe that rivals any store bought pickle out there! Crisp, crunchy, with just the perfect blend of dill spices.

How to can dill pickles

Fortunately, our garden produces cucumbers like crazy and I’m also looking for ways to use them!

This is just ONE day of harvesting our cucumber bed. From 3 plants we get this many cucumbers every day, from May through November!

How to can dill pickles

Step One:

Wash and drain cucumbers in a strainer to let the extra water drain away before canning.

Depending on how you like your pickles, you can slice them for hamburger dill pickles, or cut them in quarters lengthwise for dill spears.

How to can dill pickles

Meanwhile, combine salt, water, and vinegar in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low while you pack the jars.

Step Two:

Before packing the cucumbers into the hot jars, you need to add the spices. To each quart jar add 2 heads of dill, contents of 1 bag of black tea (not the bag itself), 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, and 2 peppercorns.

Then, you can pack cucumbers into the jars. If you are packing spears, I find that if you tilt the jar sideways, you can fit more in!

Next, cover the cucumbers with the warm vinegar mix. Be sure to leave a 1/4″ headspace.

Step Three:

Remove air bubbles with a plastic canning knife and add additional liquid if needed to come back up to the 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims, then place and tighten 2-piece lids.

Process 20 minutes in a water bath canner. Remove the jars from the canner and place on a folded towel. Allow the jars to cool completely before storing.

If the jars are sticky after they have cool, wipe them down with a wet rag and dry before storing.

Note: If you have not successfully used tea in place of pickle crisp, you might want to use grape leaves instead. The black tea brand I have linked in the recipe works perfectly, but others may not.

Can you can pickles without a water bath?

Here’s an important safety note about homecanned pickles:

I know there are some people that “can” their pickles this way all the time, just letting the heat from the vinegar mixture “seal” the jars (a process known as “open kettle” canning) before storing them on a shelf without any waterbath canning.

Can a cucumber turn into a pickle?

The primary ingredient in pickles is cucumbers. Acetic acid, or vinegar, is added to the cucumbers. After water, vinegar makes up most of the pickle juice. Over time, the cucumbers turn into pickles.

Can cucumbers be canned?

Since you need to add vinegar to can cucumbers you can do it in a water bath canner instead of a pressure canner. Also, when you are going to make the pickles, put the sliced (or whole) cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle canning salt on them. Cover them with a towel and put ice on top. And let sit for at least 3 hours.

How do you keep cucumbers crisp when pickling?

5 Secrets for Crispy and Crunchy Pickles

  1. Use small, firm cucumbers. This is, hands-down, the most important!
  2. Jar them immediately after picking, or as soon as possible.
  3. Soak cucumbers in an ice water bath for a couple hours.
  4. Cut off the blossom end of cucumber.
  5. Add tannins to the jar.

Do you have to boil pickles when canning?

This Dill Pickle Recipe is EASY:

Place packed cans into the canning pot and cover with 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and process 15 minutes. Remove from the pot and leave at room temperature undisturbed for 12-24 hours. You may hear a pop when the jars fully seal.

Why do you boil vinegar when pickling?

The key is knowing that first off, boiling your brine (vinegar mixture) will help all the flavors meld better, and that if you add in your pickling subject while the brine is hot, your pickle will be briefly cooked, and you risk losing some of the crunch.

Why do you soak cucumbers in ice water before pickling?

You help ensure the crispness and flavor of your finished pickles by soaking them before pickling to improve their texture and taste. Whether you soak them in ice water, salted water or a lime-water solution, an overnight soak is an important step in many recipes to create quality pickles that you will love.

Are pickles good for your gut?

Pickled cucumbers are a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria which may improve digestive health. They are low in calories and a good source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting. Keep in mind that pickles also tend to be high in sodium.

How long should you pickle cucumbers?

To make refrigerator dill pickles, mix sliced cucumbers with vinegar, salt, sugar, dill, garlic and onion. Put them in a jar with a tight lid. Shake the jar a couple of times a day for five days. The pickles will be ready to eat in five days to one week.

Can I use large cucumbers for pickles?

If you’re using cucumbers that are particularly large in diameter with a lot of seeds in the middle, you will end up with slices that have no center – like doughnut pickles. This also recipe works equally well for making whole pickles. I’ve just sliced the cucumbers in this recipe for sandwiches.

What to do with cucumbers besides pickles?

Preserving Cucumbers without Pickling

  1. Cucumber Salsa. I think this will be great to use as a side dish or garnish with meals throughout the year.
  2. Crispy Cucumber Chips.
  3. Garlic Dill Cucumber Chips.
  4. Cucumber Mint Jam.
  5. Cucumber Seeds for Health and Snacks.

How long can you keep cucumbers in vinegar?

You can store these vinegar marinated cucumbers in your fridge in a jar or air-tight container for up to 3 days. Any longer than that and the cucumbers will lose their “crisp-ness” and become limp.

Why are my pickles not crunchy?

Any of the following may cause soft pickles: failure to remove the blossom end of the cucumber, cucumbers are exposed above the brine, vinegar or brine is too weak, or pickles were precooked at too high temperature (overcooked).

Should you salt cucumbers before pickling?

Salt is very important for pickle quality. Your pickles will turn out crisp and you won’t need to add firming agents. For a quick and easy way to help ensure crisp pickles: soak cucumbers in ice water for 4 to 5 hours before pickling. This is a safer method for making crisp pickles.

Do bay leaves keep pickles crunchy?

Add a fresh grape leaf, oak leaves, cherry leaves, horseradish leaves, a tea bag, loose leaf tea, green banana leaf, or bay leaves to your brine. The tannins prevent the cell walls from breaking down, leaving a crunchy pickle.

What is it about a dill pickle that everyone loves? Of course there is the anticipation of the pleasant tangy flavor that makes you salivate before even taking the first bite, but there is something even more important – the audible crunch of the perfect crispy pickle! We love our tried and true dill pickle recipe below, but it wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t crispy.

No one wants to open a jar and bite into a soft and mushy pickle – even if the flavor is outstanding. So why is it so difficult to get a pickle to become crunchy? There are several reasons.

How to can dill pickles Fresh pickling cucumbers ready to be processed into pickles.

The most important way to avoid mushy pickles is to use fresh picked, pickling cucumbers. Some people don’t realize that standard garden salad cucumbers are not ideal for making pickles. Those cucumbers tend to be larger and contain a thick seed base than pickling cucumbers. And of course, you don’t want to use them if they are overripe. When picking, look for a slim and dark green cucumber with prickly bumps on the skin. If it has begun to yellow or become overly swollen, it will not make a good pickle – save that one to enjoy as a snack or with a salad.

Another important tip to making crisp pickles is to make them within hours of picking, whenever possible. The water in cucumbers begins to evaporate soon after picking, leaving them to soften quickly. And that means soft and mushy pickles. Also, make sure to cut off the blossom end of the cucumber. The tip contains an enzyme that can change the overall chemical balance in your pickles causing them to soften.

How to can dill pickles Pickles can be made by using the water bath method – be sure to follow a specific recipe

Another possible reason that you might get mushy pickles is by over-processing them. It is best to have your hot water bath close to a boiling point when hot packing your jars so they don’t spend excessive time in the hot water. There are also recipes that call for low temperature processing where you keep the water bath temperature at 180 degrees F and process for 30 minutes. If you do try this method, make sure to find a recipe that calls for low temperature processing. We use the Ball Water Bath Canner and Tool Kit to easily make our pickles.

What about using the ingredient alum, that my grandmother used to tell me about? Alum is no longer a recommended additive for canning pickles per the FDA. However, some people recommend using lime to make crisp pickles. This involves soaking pickles in lime for 24 hours and then making sure to remove all the lime before pickling by washing and soaking the cucumbers in water, because it is not safe to leave lime on the skin during the canning process. I am not sure about you, but I don’t want to soak my cucumbers in anything that isn’t safe to eat.

How to can dill pickles Grape leaves from our vineyard will be used to make our pickles crisp.

And finally, our secret to crisp pickles – adding half of a grape leaf to each jar. This really isn’t a secret, rather an old method that has been passed down from generation to generation. These tannin-rich leaves keep lacto-fermented foods crispy, without negatively effecting the taste of the pickles. For us, it is easy to use grape leaves – we just gather a few from the vineyard, but you can find them by asking neighbors, local vineyards, and of course picking them from wild crops (just make sure they are grape leaves without poison ivy, oak, etc….).

This recipe is our standard dill pickle recipe – but feel free to add additional spices to make them to your liking.

Ingredients:

6 lbs. pickling cucumbers (approximately 3-4 cucumbers per jar)
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
4 tbsp. pickling salt
7 garlic cloves, peeled
7 tsp. dill seeds
3 1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
4 large, fresh grape leaves

Instructions:

1. Prepare jars – wash or sterilize them in the dishwasher – keeping them hot.

2. Start water bath now – you want it close to the boiling point by the time you are ready to add your jars.

3. Wash cucumbers – making sure to scrub the skin thoroughly.

How to can dill pickles Cut cucumbers in spears, wedges or slices

4. Cut off each end of the cucumber, and slice, dice or spear as desired.

5. In a medium sauce pan, over medium high heat, bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil.

6. In each jar, add 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of dill seed, and 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns to the bottom.

How to can dill pickles After adding the hot brine, release the air bubbles by running a plastic utensil down the inside of your jar.

7. Pack cucumbers tightly into each jar.

8. Pour hot brine over cucumbers, leaving 1/4 inch head space.

9. Run a plastic utensil on the inside of the jar to release any air bubbles.

10. Add 1/2 of a grape leaf on top of the cucumbers.

11. Wipe top of jar with a clean damp cloth, add hot lid and band.

12. Place in hot water bath and process for 10 minutes at a roiling boil. (adjust time based on altitude as required)

How to can dill pickles Add a half of a grape leaf to the top of the jar for crisp pickles.

13. Remove jars and place on a thick towel. Let cool at room temperature for 24 hours.

14. After 24 hours, check to make sure the jars are sealed by pressing down on the center of the lid. If it does not ‘pop’ then it is sealed. If you are able to press down on the lid, place in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.

How to can dill pickles Wait at least 2 weeks before eating your pickles for maximum flavor.

**It is best to wait at least 2 weeks before opening your first jar of pickles — believe me, it’s worth the wait!

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Learn how to make dill pickles with this easy recipe for canning dill pickles in slices or spears! Get crunchy dill pickles without pickle crisp by using this secret ingredients!

How to can dill pickles

Having a few dozen jars of home canning dill pickles in my pantry is one of my favorite sights. And canning them myself with this easy dill pickle recipe is even better!

Since I like to keep my ingredients as pure as possible, this dill pickle recipe for canning pickles is made without pickle crisp!

Yet, the dill pickles in slices or spears are still crunchy and crisp thanks to a secret ingredient!

Dill Pickle Recipe for Canning

I grew up on store bought pickles. In fact, I could take down a jar of kosher dill pickle spears all by myself!

And when I started canning sweet pickles a few years back, I knew that dill pickles were going to be next on my canning list!

After a bit of experimenting, I came up with an easy and delicious dill pickle recipe that rivals any store bought pickle out there! Crisp, crunchy, with just the perfect blend of dill spices.

How to can dill pickles

Fortunately, our garden produces cucumbers like crazy and I’m also looking for ways to use them!

This is just ONE day of harvesting our cucumber bed. From 3 plants we get this many cucumbers every day, from May through November!

How to can dill pickles

Step One:

Wash and drain cucumbers in a strainer to let the extra water drain away before canning.

Depending on how you like your pickles, you can slice them for hamburger dill pickles, or cut them in quarters lengthwise for dill spears.

How to can dill pickles

Meanwhile, combine salt, water, and vinegar in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low while you pack the jars.

Step Two:

Before packing the cucumbers into the hot jars, you need to add the spices. To each quart jar add 2 heads of dill, contents of 1 bag of black tea (not the bag itself), 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, and 2 peppercorns.

Then, you can pack cucumbers into the jars. If you are packing spears, I find that if you tilt the jar sideways, you can fit more in!

Next, cover the cucumbers with the warm vinegar mix. Be sure to leave a 1/4″ headspace.

Step Three:

Remove air bubbles with a plastic canning knife and add additional liquid if needed to come back up to the 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims, then place and tighten 2-piece lids.

Process 20 minutes in a water bath canner. Remove the jars from the canner and place on a folded towel. Allow the jars to cool completely before storing.

If the jars are sticky after they have cool, wipe them down with a wet rag and dry before storing.

Note: If you have not successfully used tea in place of pickle crisp, you might want to use grape leaves instead. The black tea brand I have linked in the recipe works perfectly, but others may not.