As I continue my foray into the world of food preservation, I knew that I wanted to make pickles. Previously, I have made quick pickles like pickled red onions for sandwiches or lightly pickled radish slices, but this year was the year that I would put up enough cucumber pickles, dilly beans, and other vegetables to snack on all year until next summer.
We are still growing a lot of cucumbers here in Seattle and will continue until the first frost. While there are lots of variants on cucumber pickles, I wanted to can some classic garlic dills first. Once you commit to the idea of canning, everything for this recipe/technique is super simple. For cucumbers, you can cut them into spears (shown here) or chips. Chips are easier to fit into pint jars and absorb the brine faster. To streamline thins even more, you can purchase a pickling spice mix instead of purchasing lots of spices separately. However, most of these spices I usually have on hand anyways. Feel free to play around with the spices or add some herbs or red pepper flakes for some heat.
My favorite canning blog Food in Jars has been enormously helpful as I learned to can. She shows you that you don’t need a huge amount of space or produce to start preserving and i can definitely vouch for that.
Garlic Dill Pickles
Adapted from Food In Jars
Note: If you don’t want to process any jars, you can just turn these into refrigerator pickles. If so, you can use regular sea salt or kosher salt instead of pickle salt, let them cure in the refrigerator for at least a day and eat within a month.
Makes 8 pints
2 generous quarts of pickling cucumbers, washed, trimmed, and sliced into shape of your choice.
4 cups vinegar (I used a combination of apple cider and white vinegar)
4 cups water
4-5 tbsp pickling salt
about 16 cloves of garlic, peeled maybe halved if large
dill seed, black peppercorns, pickling spice mix, red pepper flakes, or herbs or spices.
Sterilize your jars. Since I do not have a dishwasher, I usually bring them to a boil in my canning pot. When the water is boiling, I add the rings and lids and turn off the heat. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a simmer in a saucepot. Taste to see if you need more salt or not.
Pull out the jars and place two garlic cloves in each jar. Sprinkle in 1 tsp of dill seed, a good pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp of peppercorns, or about 1.5-2 tsp of pickling spice per jar. Sometimes I add a sprig of thyme or rosemary, maybe a bay leaf, or a few slices of green onion to the bottom. Fill the jars up with the cucumbers. Pack them in tightly! Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and place them back into the water bath. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Start the timer AFTER the water comes to a boil. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and cool on the counter. Listen for the pings! and check for seals when jars are cool.
If making refrigerator pickles, just skip the water bath and store in fridge once the jars are cool.