Flavorful and crisp, these homemade dill pickles are easy and delicious!
10 quarts of cucumbers*
10 cloves garlic
10 sprigs of fresh dill, washed
10 fresh grape leaves**
3 quarts water
1 quart vinegar (5% acid)
1 cup canning (non-iodized) salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered alum
1. Heat washed cucumbers with brine until heated through well and turned a dark green in color, but not boiling.
2. Have jars hot in a canner, and lids hot in a pan of water on the stove. Pack hot cucumbers into hot jars with one clove of garlic, one sprig of dill, and one grape leaf in each jar. Set jars back into hot canner as they are filled, to keep hot.
3. When all the cucumbers are out of the brine, bring the brine to a boil. Pour brine into jars of cucumbers to 1/2-inch from top. Screw hot lid on, and set jar aside to cool. No further processing needed!
*Smaller cucumbers make the best dill pickles!
**The fresh grape leaf in the jar reportedly produces crisper pickles!
Photo shown above wasn't taken by me. However, I (and others) agree that it looks exactly like the dill pickles this recipe produces!
Read more about open-kettle food processing here. This method is no longer considered a safe method of processing high-acid foods due to lower acidity of newer types of produce. Therefore, I cannot recommend this method of preserving food, although I myself use it for some foods.
Q & A about making this recipe:
My mom and I were very excited when we saw your pickle recipe since we have always been frustrated by home-canned pickles that just don't come out crunchy.
We made a batch exactly as the recipe said to and waited about a week to let them absorb some flavors before tasting them.
Unfortunately, when we opened a can with dinner tonight, the pickles were even mushier than any other recipe that we have ever tried and they were so salty that we won't be able to eat them! They also wrinkled in the jars, which we have heard can be the result of too much salt in the recipe. Is it possible that there is a typo in the recipe?
Have you ever had any such problems with pickles?
Dear Pickle-making Friend,
I talked with my mom this evening about the pickle recipe. The salt measurement is not a typo, she really does use 1 cup for 10 quarts of pickles. My mom said that she always follows that recipe exactly, and hers always turn out great.
However, she did say that she gave the recipe to one of my aunts and my aunt told her that hers were too salty. I think my aunt cut down the salt when she made them again. My mom said the only thing she could think of for the salt would be that if the cucumbers are packed really tightly in the jars (like she does for hers) there would be less room for the brine, and more cucumbers -- and so they wouldn't be as salty. So perhaps my mom packs hers more tightly.
My mom also said that she gave the recipe to my grandma, who said that hers turn out okay but not as good as my mom's (not sure why, since my mom said she follows the recipe exactly!)... I guess that is why my mom has such a reputation in our family for her dill pickles...
About the crunchiness, my mom said that if the cucumbers are cooked too long they will get mushy. She said she gets hers hot, but NOT boiling. So... I don't know. :)
Feel free to post your comments on the recipe as a review -- all reviews (good or bad!) are appreciated, and perhaps it would help someone else avoid problems with the recipe in the future. :) And let me know if you have any more questions! :) I'm sorry your pickles didn't turn out... that is so frustrating!!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I just wanted to let you know I'm not ready to give up yet, and I appreciate you sharing your mom's recipe. I've got more cucumbers coming on, so I'm going to try it again, maybe with just slightly less salt.
It's true I didn't pack them very tightly. I'm also thinking it's possible I miscalculated the salt, since I cut the brine in half to make fewer jars. I definitely overcooked the pickles--they ended up just coming to a boil before I realized they were hot. So that probably explains the limpness. I think I'll try using smaller cukes this time.
This is my mom's tried-and-true garlic dill pickles recipe. She has canned hundreds of quarts of these dill pickles, and anyone who is the recipient of a jar of these pickles raves about "Linda's dill pickles". I have seen people single-handedly finish off a quart of these pickles when we serve them with meals. The garlic clove inside was always fought over among my siblings and I when I was younger, since there's only one, and we all wanted to be allowed to eat it (it's pickled and tastes just like a dill pickle!). To top it all off, this is a really easy recipe, and produces great-tasting, crispy homemade dill pickles. My rating: 10/10
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