I labored over making 27 quarts of dill pickles this week and it was lots of fun! It took about four hours to complete amidst lunch preparations, nap times, discipline sessions, and the like. Always an adventure trying to store food for the winter while managing as a mother, and that is why I limit my canning to pickles, tomatoes, and jams (although I’ll probably do applesauce too this year, if my energy survives). I made this same recipe last year and they turned out perfectly delicious and crunchy! I thought 15 quarts would surely last us the whole year, but we wolfed them all down by over two months ago. I roughly tripled the recipe below to make 27 quarts from 25 pounds of cucumbers. Here is my video tutorial of the process. Hope you enjoy my amateur efforts!
You can find the original recipe that I adapted from Allrecipes.com:
- 8 pounds 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
- 4 cups white vinegar or half and half with apple cider vinegar (for the added nutritional benefits)
- 12 cups water
- 2/3 cup pickling salt
- 16 cloves garlic, peeled
- 8 sprigs fresh dill weed
- 8 heads fresh dill weed
- 1/2-3/4 tsp pickling spice, per quart, optional (but adds delicious flavor!)
- Wash cucumbers, and place in the sink or bathtub with cold water and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice water for at least 2 hours but no more than 8 hours. Refresh ice as required.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.
- Sterilize 8 (1 quart) canning jars by running through the dishwasher. Sterilize lids by boiling in a small pan of water until ready to use.
- In each jar, place 1 clove of garlic, one head of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar (about 1 pound). Cut off 1/16-1/8 inch off the end of each cucumber to ensure crunchy pickles. Then add 1 more garlic clove, 1 sprig of dill, and pickling spice.
- Fill jars with hot brine to the rim of the jar. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar’s rims of any residue.
- Process sealed jars by inverting and placing in a large shallow of water for 5-10 minutes. The water should cover the rim of the jar. Remove jars while inverted to a towel on your counter and cool completely before turning over.
- Store pickles for roughly 6-8 weeks before opening in order for the cucumbers to pickle sufficiently. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.
Tips to Achieve Crunchy Pickles
1.Use fresh ingredients – fresh dill (no more than 1-2 days old) and fresh firm pickles, free of soft spots. You also want the most warty pickles you can find.
2. Soak in a ice cold water bath (2-8 hrs).
3. Cut off 1/16-1/8 inch of the blossoming end of the pickle before putting in canning jar.
4. Invert in small pan of boiling water to cover the rim of the jar to process for 5-10 minutes.
I followed these three steps that were shared in the comments section of the original recipe, and it definitely assured I had crunchy pickles and none went to waste!
What about Lacto-Fermented Pickles?
I would love to make some lacto-fermented pickles, for the increased nutritional benefits, but unfortunately you have to have plenty of refrigerator or cold cellar space for storage, which I lack in our small condo. Learn how to make them here:
I’d like to make a small single batch in this method soon!