I love dill pickles, but if it hadn’t been for my daughter’s BIG love for dill pickles as a toddler, I probably wouldn’t have ever tried making them.
Honestly, she was going through so many I was getting worried about the sodium content. So, years ago when the Farmer’s Market had these little Kirby cucumbers, I bought a bunch and made some pickles. It was so easy, and they turned out so good; I was surprised.
Since then, I’ve made other pickled things: okra, eggplant, and even roasted red peppers. But, I haven’t made cucumber pickles since then. It was time to fix that. And my daughter is very happy about that. I always process mine in a waterbath for a longer shelf life, but, if you know that you will be eating them soon, you can just make them as refrigerator pickles if you are only making a few jars. I ended up with 12 pint jars. Thus, processing is highly recommended. Following a recipe that allows you to add the spices jar-by-jar is forgiving and allows for room for error and miscalculations. However, for those of us who love stashing away a little bit of summer for later in the year, canning instructions are also included. While I’m at it, I’m also going to do a few jars of dilly green beans. Same seasonings, might as well!
GARLIC DILL PICKLES
Yield: 10 to 12 pints
- 2 gallons Kirby cucumbers(about 24 Kirby cucumbers)
- 1 quart white vinegar
- 1 quart water
- 3 tablespoons pickling salt
- 3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- dill seed
- mustard seed
- 1 red bell pepper (optional
- fresh dill (0ptional)
- 2 to 3 heads garlic
- black or white peppercorns, optional
Note: I ran out of white vinegar, and had to substitute cider vinegar for 2 of my jars. I will have to let you know how they turn out. I’m sure my husband will love them, as he is a big fan of bread and butter pickles. The only reason I ran out, is because I also did 3 jars of dill green beans at the same time (same seasonings),
Wash jars thoroughly in warm, soapy water. I prefer to sterilize my jars in the oven by placing them on a cooking sheet and baking them at 350 for about 10 minutes, then holding them at 200 degrees until ready to stuff with the cucumbers. If you plan on making shelf stable pickles, prepare a boiling water bath canner. Put fresh canning jar lids into a small saucepan with 3 inches of water and set to the barest simmer.
Wash and dry kirby cucumbers. Remove blossom end. Cut into chips, spears or leave whole, depending on your preference. On average, about 3 Kirby cucumbers will be needed to fit into one pint jar, give or take a few extra. Always sterilize an extra jar or two, and always buy extra vinegar, just in case.
Combine vinegar and water in sauce pan and bring to a boil.
To each pint jar add:
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon dill seed
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 small or 1 medium grape leaf, if available
- 1 to 2 small sprig dill leaves; if you have dill heads with seeds, use that and omit the dill seed above
- 1/16 to 1/8 tsp red chili flakes
- Optional: Substitute the red chili flakes with 1/4 teaspoon black or white peppercorns
Pack prepared cucumbers into jars as tightly as you can without crushing them.
Pour the brine into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace (that’s the amount of space between the surface of the brine and the rim of the jar).
Remove any air bubbles from jars by gently tapping them. You can also use a wooden chopstick or plastic utensil to help remove stubborn bubbles
Wipe rims and apply lids and bands (don’t screw them on too tightly)
If processing jars for shelf stability, lower jars into your processing pot. When water returns to a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes
When time is up, remove jars from canning pot and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, check seals.
If you choose not to process your jars, let them cool before putting them into the refrigerator. Do note that your jars may seal during the cooling process. However, without the boiling water bath process, that doesn’t mean they’re shelf stable. Still refrigerate.
How long to wait until your pickles are ready to eat? Some people say to wait only one week, some people say to wait two, and some say to wait a whole month! I prefer to wait the whole month, let the flavors really mellow and really enjoy the flavors. Why rush things?