August 13, 2014

Dill Pickles

Hubby's coworkers have been generous with their gardens this summer. When they have excess produce they bring it to work to share. I've been sending tomatoes to the office. My harvests of everything else have been pretty meager. Now that I know they do this, I'll plant larger quantities next year so I'll have other things to share.

One of the things hubby brought home was a sack of cucumbers. I'm not a cucumber eater; hubby likes cucumbers best on salad but it's too hot for lettuce right now. Since his options for salad were pretty slim, I decided to make pickles. I've only done this once before, many years ago - so long ago that I can't even remember what kind of pickles they were.

I chose this dill pickle recipe because I had all of the ingredients on hand. It called for pickling spice, which I didn't have, but I did some research online and found a recipe for homemade pickling spice mix. I made half of the recipe, knowing that I wouldn't need the full cup of pickling spice that the recipe made.

Pickling spice mix

I washed the jars, lids and bands in soapy water, and kept the jars in hot water in the sink until I was ready to fill them.

The recipe directed me to assemble the pickling spice mix in a piece of cheesecloth and tie the top to make a spice bag. Am I the only one who uses the string from the top of feed sacks for such things? I don't "save" string, but I always have a piece or two on hand. I soak it in soap and water, rinse, and hang it to dry. Viola! String!

The spice bag was put in a pot of water and apple cider vinegar, sugar and pickling salt, and boiled for 20 minutes. Then I removed the bag and discarded the spices. I chose the smaller cucumbers and cut them with a julienne blade. I added mustard seed, a garlic clove, dill and bay leaves to each pint jar, then packed the cucumber slices in as tightly as I could. No matter how tightly I pack food in jars though, I end up with floating fruit (or in this case, pickles). Is there a trick to doing that?

I filled the jars with the hot pickling brine, wiped the rims of the jars, put on a new lid that had been kept warm in simmering water, and adjusted a band on the jar until it was finger-tight.

Ready to go in the canner

I put the jars into my largest stockpot, which was half-full of water and was simmering on the stove. I checked the water level to be sure I had at least an inch of water above the jars; I had to add more boiling water this time to make it deep enough. Then I put the top on the pot and turned up the heat.

When the water began to boil I set the timer. I have to add some extra time due to my altitude. When it was finished I removed the jars to a towel-covered, draft-free counter for 24 hours.

I checked the lids to be sure they'd sealed - the lid shouldn't spring up and down when you touch it - wiped the jars, labeled them and put them away.

The recipe made five pints, and I'll send one to work with hubby for the gardener who gave him the cucumbers. Four pints will be more than enough for us for the year.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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  1. Let us know how they turn out, Kathi. I am always looking for a good pickle recipe.


  2. I will, Fern. Hopefully they'll be good.

  3. Gentle Joy1:20 PM

    These look really good! I canned quite a few jars of pickles last year (about 17 quarts I think)- none this year... difference in harvest amounts... pickles are a favorite here.

  4. Joy, that's a lot of pickles! We'll be lucky to make it through the 4 quarts I made in a year's time.

  5. What a blessing that your hubby's co-workers are so generous. That is one thing I love about gardeners! I'm pinning this recipe for next year; our cucumbers are done for this year. Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday; we hope to see you again this week!

  6. Thank you, Angi, I'll be there. :-)

  7. Those look tasty, Kathi! I loved learning about your string - very resourceful! :)

  8. Thank you for your kind comment, Heather.

  9. The only way to avoid those floater pickles is to really pack hard! But in the end, it doesn't matter, the pickle still tastes fabulous :) Thank you for sharing with us~~

  10. I'm too gentle with the pickles? and every other sliced thing I can - they all float! :-)

  11. Hi kathi, I'm enjoying reading your blog. I just did some pickled beets and 4 pints of sweet pickles with yellow pepper and onion in them. I would love an easy and good dill pickle recipe.

  12. Hi Terry. It sounds like you've been busy, making so many pickled items. :-)


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