Homemade Dill Pickles

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!)

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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:

Nourishing Days: Fermenting Vegetables
YouTube video on Fermenting pickles
Wild Fermentation: Making Sour Pickles

Kitchen Stewardship: Finally…Crunchy Pickles! (her fun attempts at pickles!)

I’d like to make a small single batch in this method soon!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

30 Responses to Homemade Dill Pickles

  1. Sunny Olfert November 27, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    Saw there was a new post and that reminded me I wanted to let you know your recipe is a huge success! My only changes were adding mustard seed instead of pickling spice (too ‘hot’ for me!) and maybe more garlic. They are so crunchy and good. It was worth the 8 week wait! LOL! My fermented pickles on the other hand, are not as good as last years…same recipe go figure!

  2. Carrie November 26, 2010 at 6:18 am #

    We made these back in late September and they are YUMMY! I thought I’d share our experience with using the Tattler lids with this recipe. When you use those lids, the instructions for them is to not seal the lid completely but turn it back 1/4″. When we did that, after inverting and processing and removing from the pan (which was very hard to do, I have to say!), the liquid in the jars began to leak out onto my counter while it was cooling upside down. We had to turn it right side up (which was scary with boiling hot contents spilling out), and then we had to redo those jars using the regular lids and doing it the way this recipe says again. Just thought I’d forewarn anyone using Tattler lids for this to be careful! I know for the regular lids you’re supposed to not seal tightly either, so I’m wondering if other people had any leaking issues as well? Whatever the case, they did work out (we refrigerated the ones that didn’t seal well) and taste very very good!

  3. Melissa October 18, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    Hi! I just wanted to share with you that my husband and I made these pickles using your video and recipe a few weeks ago. It was our first adventure in pickling/canning! We just could not wait the full 8 weeks to try them…haha. We tried a jar that we had sliced into circles and they were delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I really enjoy your tutorial videos and they make the processes seem so much more doable. :)

  4. Dawn October 1, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    If you ever get a jar of Bubbie’s dill pickles, save the juice when they are gone — it’s reusable! I’ve lost count of how many more batches I’ve made with it. Simply prep the cukes as usual for pickles, place them in the jar, close the lid tightly and let sit 3+ days at room temperature, on a towel and out of the sun. Mmm, mmm good! Store them in the frig (to slow fermentation) when they taste good to you. Wish I could find a lacto-fermented recipe as good…..Anyone?

    • Janelle December 16, 2010 at 8:13 am #

      I believe there is a recipe in Nourishing Traditions. You could also use the Lacto-fermented Salsa recipe on here, I would imagine.

      Thanks for the tip on Bubbies though…we usually *gulp* DRINK the brine! It’s SO tasty! I’ll try to save it next time! In fact, I need to go buy some Bubbies right now (I’m pregnant!) If I could make my own, I’d save a lot of $$$!

    • Stacy October 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      I know this is 3 years old, but I found it when googling “reuse Bubbies pickle juice.” Help, I have never made pickles before, so I am not sure what you mean by “prep the cukes as usual.” What steps of this recipe do I do, and where do I stop? Thanks a million because I cannot afford $7 pickles regularly! :)

  5. Sunny Olfert September 27, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Okay, Lindsay…I made some pickles last Monday from your recipe and am DYING to try them! (they LOOK beautiful!) I can’t imagine waiting 8 weeks, so when is the earliest one could get a sense of how they might end up??

    Blessings,
    Sunny

    • Melissa October 18, 2010 at 4:52 am #

      My husband and I made these pickles and for some jars we sliced them into circles. We tried one of those jars after about 2 weeks and they were very good! :)

  6. Sunny Olfert September 23, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Thanks for asking, Lindsay. I am excited to report that my fermented catsup won $7.50 and a blue ribbon at the fair AND I also got an extra $10 the from Northwest Energy in addition to blue ribbon because it was deemed Best in the Division. (Not sure WHY I got the extra $10 from …but I was thrilled!)

    My sauerkraut won last year, but not this year…one of the judges said it was ‘too sour’ LOL!

    The pickles did not win as they were not quite ready …just a few more days and I think I could have nailed it. Living in such a small town (where the country fair is held) makes entering so much fun.

  7. Sunny Olfert September 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    Great tutorial, Lindsay! I had a couple of comments…first and foremost I was concerned for your fingers when you were getting the lids. I have a spare ‘lid lifter’ that I would love to send to you. :o )

    Secondly, I’ve been making fermented pickles for several years. I’ve adapted the Nourishing Traditions recipe and hubby says they are ‘better than Bubbies’. LOL! We did have to buy another refrigerator, but it has been well worth it since I do fermented catsup and sauerkraut as well.

    You are an inspiration!! Keep up the good work.

    Blessings,
    Sunny

    • Lindsay September 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

      Thanks Sunny! I have been meaning to buy one of those but haven’t gotten around to it! I would love to hear more about your fermenting process – sounds delightful!

  8. Beth September 15, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    I made lacto fermented pickles this year….I am so impressed. If any of you have cool storage available for this, it is so worth it. A friend has an extra fridge in their garage she uses for such things.
    The recipe you use should be good and crunchy. Yes it is open kettle, but my mother tells me the old canning books always used open kettle for pickles. The vinegar is a very good preservative. So you really shouldn’t have any problems….some will disagree. I have made pickles by open kettle for years….haven’t lost any yet. My mother did before me….no problems. Your methods are very thorough and as long as the jar is sealed it will be just fine.

  9. Kali September 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Those look delicious! I just wanted mention, in case you didn’t know, that you should really only use canning recipes from an official canning book, or from your state extension service. That is the only way to gaurantee they are safe. Also, the method you used to can those is called an “open kettle” method and it is definitely not recommended. You need to use a full water bath. Open kettle and other similar methods do create seal, but they may not heat the product high enough to kill mold and yeast spores. (another good reason to use “official” recipes.) This was a long comment, but I just wanted to let you know. I’d hate for you to lose your food to spoilage, or for you guys to get sick!

  10. Tracy September 13, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    Thanks for the great tutorial on canning pickles, you really have inspired me. I would love to know how you prepare your tomatoes for canning. Do you think you might share that in a future post?

  11. Jordie September 12, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    Our family gets together for a pickle day. It makes for such great memories as yesterday 4 generations made pickles together. Our secret to crispy pickles is using grape leaves. 1 large grape leaf per quart jar.

  12. Rebecca (Craving Simplicity) September 11, 2010 at 4:50 am #

    I think I’m going to have to try this!

  13. Grandma Patty Ann September 10, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    My son and his wife have been canning this year. It brings back memories of my grandmother! The kitchen pantry looks beautiful with all the different jars stack in it.

    Last weekend Christy made a test pumpkin pie. It turned out wonderfully so she canned the rest of the pumpkin and has about 4 or 5 more to do before she is done.

    We are growing our own chickens too! We love eggs and go through a lot of them. Randy talks about eating chicken but we are slowly naming them and they set on his shoulders :-)

    We have 2 ducks and 2 geese, 3 dogs and 2 cats. I love the country life that I turned my back on years ago. :-)

    Wow! I wonder where that all came from? I hope your pickles turn out as good as last years.

    I love you!
    Grandma Patty Ann

  14. Carrie September 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    My sister and I tried canning pickles and I did not like how they turned out. They weren’t crunchy and didn’t taste very pickley. :-) Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  15. Erin Waller September 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    Thank you! I’m going to try this with my little ones next week during our schooling. :) So excited! I would love to see how you do your tomatoes!
    -Erin (Camas, WA)

  16. Cindy Wilson September 10, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    Hi Lindsay, I just wanted to give you my recipe for Crockpot Applesauce since you mentioned that you want to make some this year. My Grandpa used to make this applesauce for me in the 1960′s (before there was a crockpot!).

    Grandpa Sam Rodick’s Applesauce

    12 Pippin Apples
    6 Roman Beauty Apples

    Leave peel on. Remove stem and flower from core. Slice apples and put in crock pot with core. Do NOT add any water. Cook on low for 8 hours. Process in food mill.

    I have also used different kinds of apples for different flavors (Gala is good!).

    This recipe makes a lot! I usually can’t keep any because my kids just love to eat it! It does freeze well, if you want to and can keep it around long enough!

    • Ali September 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

      I’m not the intended recipient, but I’m definitely stealing this recipe! It looks yummy and very easy. I have a TON of apples, and this seems like a great way to use some up.

  17. Robin September 10, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    I love making pickles! I would advise any first-time canners to read a book on canning before starting out. (Unless you are just making pickles to eat right away or store in the fridge.) Canning is great but there are some rules to follow to preserve food safely. The “Ball Blue Book of Home Preserving” is a good starter book, as is “Put Em Up: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook” by Sherri Brooks Vinton.
    Another good resource is the USDA Guide to Home Canning: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html

  18. Michelle September 10, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Wow! I am very unexperienced as far as canning goes but I really want to try these this year.

  19. Angela September 10, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    I was wondering where you got your fresh dill, I live in your area and this year we dont have a garden so I have my cucumbers, but not no dill to start making the pickles.

    • Lindsay September 10, 2010 at 8:25 am #

      You can find it now at most grocery stores – I found it at Fred Meyer and Winco, although the preferred choice would be Bi-Zi Farms, as you can be assured it is grown right there on location.

  20. Darcy September 10, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    Ms. Lindsay -

    Thanks for the recipe. We made bread & butter pickles before that I thought were too sweet, and I think these crunchy, sour pickles will be just what I love. My mom and I want to make some for Christmas presents for my Grandad. Thanks for the video. I liked watching it.

    Connor, age 10

    (thanks, Lindsay. Connor and I sat and watched this and knew we came up with a perfect solution for his pickle fettish, and it can be our first canning experiment together! Darcy )

  21. J September 10, 2010 at 7:22 am #

    I drop one dries red pepper into mine for just a little “heat”. And to make sure they stay super crunchy I use just a pinch of Alum :) Works everytime, and I’ve been making my recipe (much like yours) for 5+ years. I got the recipe from my Mom and she’s been making the same ones for over 40 years! :)

  22. kileah September 10, 2010 at 7:01 am #

    Woohooo!! Thanks for the simple video tutorial! I think I’m gonna try my hand at your version this year as it seems to take up way less time! Hey did u get your pickles from summer @ dee creek or smewhere else?

    • Lindsay September 10, 2010 at 7:12 am #

      No, there is none around here that I could find – at least organic. I bought them through the Know Thy Food coop in SE Portland. I did find some cheap non-organic pickling cucks at Gateway Produce.

  23. Jackie@Lilolu September 10, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    I really enjoyed this post. I’ve always wanted to can pickles but was too afraid to attempt it. This tutorial made me realize how easy it can be. I can’t wait to try it out.