Finally I have crunchy dill pickles. I have tried all kinds of recipes, and while I enjoy all the ones I've made, I love this one for their tangy, crunchy dill flavor!
I've always wondered if salting was the key, and it certainly is, just as I discovered last year when I made my Old Fashioned Southern Squash Pickles. What a difference some time in salt water makes! You have to try it to believe it.
8 lbs of 3 to 4-inch pickling cucumbers
2 gals water
1 1/4 cups canning or pickling salt
1 1/2 qts vinegar (5 percent)
1/4 cup sugar
2 quarts water
2 tbls whole mixed pickling spice
Whole mustard seed
Dried minced dill -or- dill seed
Wash your cucumbers and thinly slice off the blossom end. (the blossoms have an enzyme that will make your pickles soft). Cut into spears or leave whole.
Add 3/4 cup salt dissolved in 2 gallons water. Soak cucumbers in water for 12 hours, covering bowl with plastic wrap, and letting sit on your kitchen counter-top. Drain, but do not rinse.
Combine vinegar, 1/2 cup salt, sugar, and 2 quarts of water. Place pickling spices in a cheesecloth, or in a mesh strainer that fits inside your pan below the surface of the liquid, and place in your vinegar brine. Heat to boiling.
Fill pint jars with drained cucumbers. Add 1 tsp mustard seed and 1 tsp dill weed or dill seed per pint. Fill jars with hot pickling brine (discarding pickling spice), leaving 1/2-inch head-space. Cover with lids and rings and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
Remove jars and let cool on a kitchen towel on your counter-top 24 hours. Store in pantry up to one year. Open jars must be refrigerated.
Cook's note - I find these do best in pint jars. Quart jars are processed longer which can cause the pickles to get mushy. For optimum flavor, do not open for 4 weeks. Patience is key!
Yield: approx. 9 pint jars
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