When the dill weed flowers in our garden in mid-summer, I head to the farmers market in search of the right sized baby cucumbers to make dill pickles. This family recipe is so popular and surprisingly simple. Many cooks are often intimidated by the whole preserving process, but the compliments you’ll receive make the effort worthwhile. While you’ll be tempted to eat them right away, you’ll have to be patient and let them pickle for at least 4 months.
Dill & Garlic Pickles
- 8 quarts small cucumbers about 60
- 2 bunches of dill weed heads
- 2 garlic buds
- 1⅓ cup pickling salt
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 20 cups water
- 12 1-quart wide mouth mason jars (500 ml jars)
- Wash and prick cucumbers with fork.
- Wash the dill.
- Peel garlic and separate into whole cloves.
- Sterilize the jars and lids.
- Put 1 head of dill and 1 clove of garlic in each jar
- Fill the jars with cucumbers, packing them tightly.
- Make a brine solution with other ingredients, bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pour the hot brine into the jars to cover the cucumbers. Fill to within 1/2 inch from the top (head space).
- Seal with snap lids.
Canning and food safety
This is an old family recipe that uses basic canning methods. There is a possibility that the jar lids may fail to make a tight vacuum seal. In that case, your preserves will be unsafe to eat. I strongly recommend that anyone who has never made preserves before do a little more research about the canning process. Please be aware that there are health risks if your preserves become contaminated due to improper canning procedures. Never take a chance in eating any preserves if the jar seal is not concave and tight or the brine has become cloudy over time.
For additional information and best practices about home canning, the mason jar makers at Bernardin offer plenty of advice.