2017 at The Smokin F will definitely go down as the summer of Tomatoes and Cukes. Salsa, pickles, spaghetti sauce, pickles, BLT’s, more pickles, fresh with mozzarella and basil, even more pickles….we’ve had both more ways than I thought were possible. And all have been glorious.
While we got experimental with the tomatoes, we knew all we wanted from our boatloads of cucumbers….was boatloads of dill pickles. See, I live in a house full of pickle connoisseurs. I needed a crunchy, savory but not spicy, dill pickle to meet all of their standards. We’ve gotten good flavor but no crunch. Or crunch, but no flavor. And y’all, I will not eat slimy, seedy pickles. I need the crunch! But the afternoon I watched my two year old down nearly an entire jar of my latest batch by herself, I knew we had a winner.
Let me add quickly, I’m relatively new to canning. So please visit http://www.freshpreserving.com/ for detailed and up to date safety guidelines.
So from our garden here at the Smokin’ F to yours….
- 12-16 small to medium cucumbers (the really big ones are too seedy and not as crunchy)
- 4 cups distilled vinegar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 8 cups water
- 4 Tbs. sugar
- 1/2 c. pickling salt
- 12 dill sprigs (if you can find them. It’s nearly impossible around canning season)
- 12 garlic cloves or 12 Tbs. minced garlic
- 12 tsp dill seed or dill weed (most recipes advise against dill weed mostly for aesthetics. But I used it in every jar this year because I could never find the seeds, and we all loved it.)
- 3 tsp crushed red pepper
- 6 tsp whole black pepper
- 2 tsp pickle crisp
- 4-6 wide mouth quart size jars
- If you’re doing pickle chips, Wavy Pickle Knife. I swear the ridges make a crunchier pickle! I bought mine on Amazon for $6.99….it’s so worth it!!
1. In each clean jar, put:
- 2 peeled, smashed cloves of garlic OR 2 Tbs. minced garlic
- 1 sprig of dill
- 1 tsp dill weed or seed
- 1/4 tsp Pickle Crisp
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp whole black pepper
- Enough sliced cucumbers to fill the jar. (Or spears or babies, whichever you’d like will work perfectly!)
2. In a medium pot, add the vinegar, water, sugar and pickling salt. Heat over medium low just until the salt and sugar are dissolved and the liquid is no longer cloudy.
3. Add enough liquid to each jar to fill it, leaving 1/4 in. of headspace.
4. Put on your lids. From here, you can either refrigerator or water process them. If you plan to eat them within the next month and have fridge space, you can just put the jar in the fridge. Let them process for a few days, and then dig in. They’ll stay good in the fridge for a month after they’re opened.
5. If you’d like to water process them, put the cans in a boiling water canner. Make sure there is at least 1 in. water over top of the lids. Return the water to a boil, and let boil for 10 minutes.
6. Remove from the water, keeping vertical, and set on a towel. As they cool, the lids will pop, thus ensuring they have sealed properly. Let them sit for a few days, and then, they’re ready to eat, but they have a shelf life of a year or more if stored in a cool place.
If, for some reason, one of the jars doesn’t seal, just throw it in the fridge, and eat that one within the month.