August 26, 2011 by Sara Kreidler
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about our first attempt to can dill pickles. At that point, my recipe didn’t vary from the recipe in Canning for a New Generation. This past weekend, Toby and I put up another four quarts and eight pints of dill pickles and tweaked the recipe a bit. Our adapted recipe for canned dill pickles follows.
The recipe below calls for 7 quarts of pickling cucumbers, which makes about 7 quarts of dill pickles. That said, you can easily increase or decrease the quantity, just be sure to keep the vinegar, water, sugar and salt ratios the same. If you pack your pickles into pint jars instead of quarts, simply cut the amount of seasoning per jar in half from the amounts listed below.
Adapted from Canning for a New Generation by Lianna Krissoff
Makes approximately 7 quarts
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 8 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
- 8 cups water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 14 teaspoons of dill seed
- 14 cloves of garlic
- 7-14 whole dried chiles (such as chiles de arbol)
- 14 whole peppercorns
- 7 teaspoons crushed red chile flakes (optional)
- 7 quarts of fresh pickling cucumbers
- Wash the jars in the dishwasher.
- While the jars are washing, rinse the cucumbers under cold running water. Cut off the end of the cucumbers and discard (it is especially important to cut off the blossom end because it has an enzyme that can cause mushy pickles). You can leave the cucumbers whole, cut them into fat coins, or cut them into halves or spears – whatever floats your boat. Put cleaned and cut (if applicable) cucumbers in a large bowl and keep in the refrigerator until ready to can.
- Also, while the jars are washing, prep your canning area. I like to put down old (clean) kitchen towels and hot pads so I don’t have to worry about scorching the counter. Get your jar lifter, lid wand and wide mouth funnel ready I use a chopstick to remove air bubbles, but you can also use a small plastic spatula or plastic spoon (just don’t use a metal utensil, which can scratch and/or crack your jars). Make sure your rings and lids are ready too. You will also need a ladle.
- Remove hot jars from dishwasher, place inside canner and fill the canner with hot water so that all of the jars are full and covered by 1 inch of water. Put the canner on your largest burner and bring the water to a boil.
- Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Add the lids to the simmering water; do not boil the lids.
- Combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir to make sure the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Remove the pots of simmering lids and brine from the stove and place on a hot pads near your jar filling station. Retrieve the cucumbers from the refrigerator and place near your filling station. Have your lid wand, funnel and ladle handy.
- Remove 1 jar from the canning pot and dump out the water. Add to each empty quart jar 2 teaspoons of dill seed, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 or 2 dried chiles, 2 whole peppercorns and 1 teaspoon of chile flakes (the amount of peppers you use is up to you – I like my dill pickles spicy so I tend to go heavy on the peppers). Pack the cucumbers in the jars. Place the filled jar on the counter, place the funnel on top of the jar and ladle in the hot brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar (the bottom line of the screw marks on the jar is a good guideline for ½ inch of headspace). Take the funnel off of the jar and use a chopstick to remove the air bubbles; add more brine if needed to maintain ½ inch of headspace after the jar is de-bubbled. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel. Use the lid wand to remove 1 lid from the pot and place it on top of the jar. Screw the ring onto the jar until it is finger-tip tight (you don’t want it to be too tight or the air won’t be able to escape during processing). Repeat with each jar until all of the jars are full.
- Return the jars to the boiling water in the canner. The water should cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Place the lid on the canner and process at a full boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel on the counter. Do not disturb the jars while they cool.
- Label the sealed jars and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year. If any of the lids fail to seal, the unsealed jars should be refrigerated because they are not shelf stable.
- Krissoff’s recipe calls for using fresh dill instead of dill seeds. In the first batch of processed dill pickles I made, I used fresh dill. But then I read on Food in Jarss that fresh dill can break down and become slimy and gunky after a while in the jar, and that’s why lots of people use dill seed instead. I’ve now switched over to dill seed, and I don’t notice any compromise in the dilly flavor of these pickles. That said, if you’d rather use fresh dill, you can add about 2 sprigs per jar in place of the dill seed.
- It is important to wait until the water in the canner is at a full boil before you return the filled jars to the canner for processing. If it’s not at a full boil when you add the jars, you will have to wait until it reached a full boil before the 10 minute processing timer starts, and the extra time in the hot water at the front end of the processing will result in mushy pickles.