how to make dill pickles

My all-time favourite dill pickles when growing up were my Gramma’s dill pickles. She would have them on the table before we sat down to eat.  By the time we were actually seated and ready to eat, they were all gone!  So, she would go back to the pickle jar and take some more out so we could devour them some more!  Everyone loved Gramma’s dill pickles.  I am so happy that she actually had the recipe written down, so I can carry on creating the best dills!

The recipe is simple; however, I have tried to explain all the steps needed to create these wonderful dill pickles.

What you will need:

Equipment:

  • Water bath canner  (or a huge pot to sterilize the jars after filling)
  • Large pot for the pickling brine
  • Jar Lifter (to pick up the hot jars)
  • Lid lifter  (magnetic or tongs) (to pick the lids out of the boiling water where they were sterilized)
  • Jar funnel  (optional – I don’t use this for dill pickles)
  • Saucepan or pot to sterilize the lids
  • Large spoon or ladle or measuring cup, which works great because it has a pouring spout
  • Quart/Litre wide mouth glass jars
  • Lids; thin flat round metal lids (made especially for canning) or BPA free reusable canning lids and food safe canning rubber rings
  • Screw band metal rings
  • Towel to place sterilized jars on

Ingredients:

  • Approx. 8 lbs. Pickling Cucumbers, fresh and crisp
  • Garlic
  • Dill weed

Pickling Brine:

  • 8 tsp. pickling spice
  • 9 1/3 cups water
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 9 Tbsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Here are the instructions in picture format (below the pictures are the written instructions):

pickle ingredients

Here are the ingredients needed to create the pickling brine.

jar imperfections

Check each jar for imperfections by running your finger along the rim.

wash jars

Wash and rinse the jars, lids and screw band metal rings.

sterilize jars

Fill the canner about ½ full with water and start to heat it up.  Place clean jars filled with water in the canner. Bring water to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes.  This sterilizes the jars.  Place the lids in a small sauce pan or pot filled with water to cover.  Bring the water to a boil for a few minutes, and then lower the temperature, making sure the water stays hot.  Combine the pickling brine ingredients and heat until the salt and the sugar is dissolved.  Lower the temperature and simmer until finished.

clean jars

Remove empty jars and place upside down on a clean towel.

cucumbers

Wash and trim the cucumbers.

pickle juice pour

At the bottom of the sterilized jars, add dill and garlic. Pack in the cucumbers as tight as you possibly can.  Fill the jars with the heated pickle brine to ½ inch (1 ½ cm.) from the top.

wipe jar

Wipe the top of the jar clean and dry.

lid on jar

Place the sterilized lids on, and then secure the rings until finger tight.

boil jars

Gently place the jars, using the jar lifter, into the boiling water bath, so they are covered with about 2 inches (5 cm) of water.  Bring the water bath canner to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the hot water for 8 – 10 minutes.

finished pickles

Once the timer goes off, using the jar lifter, lift one jar at a time and place gently on the towel (or heat resistant cutting board).  Check to see if the outer rings are still secured on, and tighten any that are loose.  Make sure the jars sit undisturbed, not touching each other until they are cooled. (Usually overnight)  When they are completely cooled, check to see if the lids have sealed.  Unscrew the rings and wash and dry them.  Wipe clean the jars around the rings.

Before Canning:

  • Check each jar for imperfections by running your finger along the rim.
  • Wash and rinse the jars, lids and screw band metal rings.
  • Fill the canner about ½ full with water and start to heat it up.
  • Place clean jars filled with water in the canner. Bring water to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes.  This sterilizes the jars.  Remove empty jars and place upside down on a clean towel.
  • Place the lids in a small sauce pan or pot filled with water to cover.  Bring the water to a boil for a few minutes, and then lower the temperature, making sure the water stays hot.
  • Combine the pickling brine ingredients and heat until the salt and the sugar is dissolved.  Lower the temperature and simmer until finished.
  • Wash and trim the cucumbers.

The Canning Process:

  • At the bottom of the sterilized jars, add dill and garlic. Pack in the cucumbers as tight as you possibly can.
  • Fill the jars with the heated pickle brine to ½ inch (1 ½ cm.) from the top.  Wipe the top of the jar clean and dry. Place the sterilized lids on, and then secure the rings until finger tight.
  • Gently place the jars, using the jar lifter, into the boiling water bath, so they are covered with about 2 inches (5 cm) of water.  Bring the water bath canner to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the hot water for 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Once the timer goes off, using the jar lifter, lift one jar at a time and place gently on the towel (or heat resistant cutting board).  Check to see if the outer rings are still secured on, and tighten any that are loose.
  • Make sure the jars sit undisturbed, not touching each other until they are cooled. (Usually overnight)  When they are completely cooled, check to see if the lids have sealed.  Unscrew the rings and wash and dry them.  Wipe clean the jars around the rings.  You can then either screw the rings back on, or leave them off.
  • Store your canned pickles in a cool dark place.
  • Note:  If the jars have not sealed, place them in the fridge right away and you can start eating them after 24 hours, but they will taste better after soaking in the brine for 2 weeks at least.
  • These delicious pickles are ready to eat in about 2 weeks.

Finally, stand back, look at those amazing canned pickles, congratulate yourself for doing something domestic and making your own dill pickles and knowing the ingredients you have used!

Just don’t look at the big mess you made until after you had your coffee/tea break!  Then you will be able to tackle the tidying and cleaning up!

Hope you enjoy these pickles as much as our family has!