Cucumbers

2-Day Dill Pickles

Yes, you read that right – 2 days! Granted, day 1 is easy but very time consuming, it does take 2 full days to finish the canning process (plus another 4-6 weeks to let it sit, but I digress).

Before we get going – I figured I would start off with a little garden update (I just can’t help myself!). Obviously our cucumbers are doing fantastic – although they are not a fan of these 100°+ days that we have been having here in the Midwest. Each okra plant has at least 1 pod to cut each day (which quickly adds up – yum!), the bush beans are being destroyed by the ever so persistent Japanese Beetles, I’m finally able to harvest bell peppers, jalapenos, and banana peppers, and the sugar snap peas are hanging on for dear life. Any day now I should have a few pounds of tomatos ready (all at once, of course) as long as the pesky tomato caterpillars don’t get to them first.

See if you can find him in the first picture! The answer is in the second 🙂

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Moving on to the deliciousness that is Dill Pickles…. Keep in mind, I had a triple batch (12 lbs of cucumbers) so quantities shown in pictures vary from the recipe below.

Dill Pickles [yield: (6) Wide-mouth Pints]

As always – you are able to scale pickles (as mentioned above) to accommodate the number of cucumbers you have available, or to have a ‘tester’ to see if you like this Dill recipe.

Materials: (all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)

  • 6 Pint jars (plus flat lids and bands/rings)
  • 1 water bath
  • 1 funnel
  • 1 jar lifter
  • 1 stainless steel ladle
  • 1 large stainless steel pot (or dutch oven)
  • 1 dish towel (large enough for the jars to cool on)
  • 18-qt+ food safe bowl (I personally used half-gallon & gallon glass jars that I had on hand.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs fresh cucumbers, washed
  • 1 gal + 1 qt water
  • 10 tbsp. Pickling & Preserving salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pickling spice*
  • 6 large dill sprigs
  • 2 tbsp. mustard seed
  • (Optional) Ball Pickle Crisp Granules

*Pickling spice is something that you can easily purchase at the grocery store in the spice aisle or make at home. I personally used a store bought canister for under $5 since it is more than enough for me and it would have cost more to buy each individual spice since it includes items that I don’t use regularly.

Additionally – you can always create your own variation of pickling spice since it does not change the pH of your pickles. Get creative 🙂

Day 1 Process:

  1. Cut, cut, and cut some more….
    Trim each end of the cucumber (Remember – the flowering end contains enzymes that cause the cucumber to breakdown and soften faster.)
  2. Slice each cucumber in half (lenghtwise), and then again into quarters. (My cucumbers were large enough that I could cut lengthwise and crosswise, then each section in half. Your goal is to get spears that can easily standup in a pint jar.)
  3. Place cucumber spears into your designated food safe bowl (or, as I said – I used Ball Half-Gallon and Gallon jars).
  4. Combine 1 gal of water and 6 tbsp of pickling salt until salt dissolves.
  5. Pour bring mixture over pickles until covered. (May need to create another batch of brine of your pickles are not covered all of the way)
  6. Once covered in brine, cover the food safe bowl and store for 24 hours at room temp.

Day 2 Process:

    1. Inspect each of your jars for cracks, chips, and/or any other questionable markings before use.
    2. Place wire rack into bottom of water bath with ‘arms’ up to allow jars to be placed.
    3. Fill you water bath with enough water to cover each of the jars with 2″ of liquid and place on burner to warm jars (simmer but do not boil).
    4. Pour cucumbers into a strainer to drain and set aside.
    5. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, 1 qt water, sugar, 1/4 cup salt, and pickling spice., Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat.
    6. Remove empty jars from water bath by lifting the wire rack and setting the arms on the rim of the water bath. Then, using jar lifter empty and remove the jar from the water.
    7. Add in 1 large dill spear and 1 tsp. of mustard seed into each jar. Then, carefully pack as many cucumber spears into each jar keeping a 1/2in head space. [Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]
    8. Pour pickling brine over each jar of cucumbers maintaining the 1/2 in headspace.
    9. If using pickle crisp – top each jar with 1/8 tsp.
    10. Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
    11. Place flat lid and screw band on jar and finger tighten. [Hint: Place the jar on a towel and using only your fingers, tighten the band until your jar spins on the towel.]
    12. Once finger tightened, return to warm water bath to avoid thermal shock. [Thermal shock is the cracking of jars from an extreme temperature swing such as putting hot food into a cold jar.] Lower wire rack once full.
    13. Place lid on canner, return to high heat and bring water to a full rolling boil.
    14. Once boiling, set timer for 10 minutes [refer to your elevations processing time for correct info].
    15. After 10 minutes, turn off heat and remove the lid. Wait an additional 5 minutes.
    16. Once again, lifting wire rack and placing arms on canner rim, use the jar lifter to remove your filled jars and place on a towel in a cool & draft-free location.
    17. Wait 24 hours before touching the jars. After 24 hours, remove the bands and pick up each jar from the flat lid (this will help ensure that each jar is truly sealed). Once the seal is verified, you may wash the exterior of the jars, dry, label, and store for future use.Remember: With this being a pickling recipe, it is recommended to wait 4-6 weeks to ensure optimal pickling has been achieved.

Credit: The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving

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