Stephanie’s Famous Dill Pickle Recipe

DSC01817Mom makes really good Dill Pickles.  We know this because people tell us:

“Just wanted to let you know your pickles and relish ARE TO DIE FOR!!!! They are soooooo delicious!” — Alana

And we also know they’re good because we can’t keep up with the orders each year!  This year there were over 200 jars pre-ordered (not including the ones needed for the winter season of deliveries and markets).  Our loyal customers keep coming back!

We also sell a lot of pickling cucumbers for people who make their own pickles, and — in the spirit of collaborating– we are happy to share our popular recipe!  We don’t use pickle crisp or alum or sugar, unlike some other recipes.  We strive to use cucumbers picked on the same day as we are making the pickles, as we think it makes them taste better (and they are waaaay easier to wash).  We didn’t used to process the jars after filling, but have found that a recent decline in the quality of lids makes this step critical to achieving sealed jars.

Stephanie’s Famous Dill PicklesDSC01685
Ingredients:
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 1 cup pickling salt
  • 8 lbs small cucumbers**
  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 1-2 stems fresh dillweed

Method:

Place 1 clove garlic and a 6″ dill stem into sterilized quart jar, pack with cucumbers, fill with boiling brine.  Seal each jar immediately and process in canner for 10 minutes.

Makes 8 quarts.

**Note: We use this same brine recipe for making dilled beans, carrots, and jalapenos!


Detailed instructions:  I wrote these up a few years ago for people who had never made pickles before, so I thought I might as well share this, too.  Here are the detailed, step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Sanitize the jars.  I don’t have any fancy equipment, and just put my jars open side down in a big roasting pan filled with water with the oven on about 350 degrees.  A jar lifter is a huge help getting the jars back out and avoiding burns while doing so!  See photo>>

Step 2: Make the brine.  Mix 4 cups vinegar (I use regular vinegar, if you’re using the pickling vinegar it is stronger and will require less vinegar and more water for this recipe), 12 cups water, and 1 cup salt in a pot.  Bring to a boil and maintain heat so that it is just below a simmer (not boiling, still hot and steaming).

Step 3: Place the lid flats in another small pot of almost boiling water (This sanitizes them as well and softens the rubber so you get a good seal).  Always use new flats, it’s just a good practice, and saves the disappointment of seals not holding — in recent years we have noticed a decline in the quality of canning supplies.

Step 4: Prepare the cucumbers, garlic, and dill while everything is heating up.  The dill should be washed and divided into the amount you want in each jar (I use a stem or two and 1 flower head per jar).  The garlic should be removed from it’s paper wrapper (I put one clove per jar, some people like more, so depending on your taste).  Both the stem end and the end of the cucumber should be trimmed off, and then they should be washed in cold water.  Depending on how dirty they are, sometimes I scrub each one.  Poke through any larger cucumbers with a sharp knife to help them pickle uniformly.   All this trimming and scrubbing may seem like a lot of work, but it goes fast and is totally worth it (according to Mom and I, at least) in the final product.

Step 5: Start packing the jars.  Remove the hot jar with a jar lifter (totally worth getting one, even if you never make pickles again, they are amazing!), and continuing to hold the jar with the lifter, put in dill and garlic (The signature Teri move is tying the dill in a loose knot, so it stays out of the way at the bottom).  Start with larger cucumbers, lining them up along the bottom layer, and the smaller ones are great for packing in the top. 

Step 6: Fill jar as much as you can with cucumbers, and then fill to the bottom of the jar rim with brine.  Wipe the rim to ensure no excess brine is between the seal and the glass.  Take out a flat from the hot water, place on top, and tighten screw lid to finger tight (you’ll regret it if you tighten it too much at this point).

Step 7: You should process the full jars in a hot water bath just until the cucumbers turn from green to brownish green. So long as everything has been hot along the way, you shouldn’t have any problems with seals.  Place in a cooler place (basement, root cellar, etc) to seal jars.  The flat will suck inwards and sometimes even make a “POP!” when they seal.

You can eat these right away as young dills, or store for a later time and more intense pickle flavour!

Click Here to view a printable recipe sheet.

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