Jill Pickle is Making Dill Pickles

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Categories: What's it Like, Living Green?

My son is an organic gardener. It’s really just a hobby with him, but also provides a variety of tasty vegetables for our table. This year we grew spinach and three varieties of tomatoes; grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and a much larger table size. We also have zucchini in all shapes and sizes and, of course, the pickling cucumbers!

They don’t call me Jill Pickle for nothing! This year it seems the cucumbers are ready much earlier than last year. Wanting the very best, fresh pickles, my gardener went to an Artesian well to get spring water. He bought and peeled garlic, and even bought sea salt. Since we didn’t have our own dill, we bought locally. 
My neighbor, Virginia suggested that we add up to three cloves, (the spice) to each bottle, which we tried with one, just in case we don’t like it.

Here is the recipe for my “Famous” Pickles: ***WARNING*** Once your family has tried these pickles, you may never get away with store bought pickles again.
I cut this recipe out of the newspaper in the Bay area around 1981, and have been making the pickles ever since.

This recipe for dill pickles is from the files of Dr. George York, a food technologist at U.C. Davis. They suggest that using this easy method, the cucumbers are placed in jars, then the boiling brine is poured over, and the filled jars are processed in a boiling water bath.

Giant Pickle

Quick Dill Pickles

  • 4 pounds or 2 quarts cucumbers—(this recipe is only for 6 pints or three quarts, so I usually make about two and ½ times the recipe for the brine, so I can make seven jars. My boiling water bath canner holds 7 jars.)
  • 6 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups vinegar—I use white vinegar and buy it by the gallon
  • 4 cups of water
  • 9 heads of fresh dill or 3 tablespoons dried dill
  • 18 peppercorns—don’t use peppercorns that have been in your cupboard for a while, always buy a fresh bottle.

It is helpful to have a canning funnel and a ladle to fill the jars and a jar lifter to remove hot jars from the canner.

Wide mouth jars are best, since pickles are difficult to remove from regular mouth jars, but I always use whatever I have.

If you have had a box of canning lids for a while, you will need a fresh box —the ones that are round and flat with the rubber rings—last year’s box of lids usually won’t seal.

Use only perfect canning jars without cracks or nicks and NEW lids, (if they are bent or rusty, toss them into your recycle bin). Check lids—the rings that tighten around the top of the jar–to make sure that they fit perfectly. Wash jars in hot, soapy water and rinse well just before using, the dishwasher works great, and you can keep them warm until you are ready to can the pickles). Wash cucumbers thoroughly. For whole pickles, small cucumbers up to four inches are preferred. Usually, with larger cucumbers, it is better to slice, quarter, or halve lengthwise before pickling.

Combine salt, vinegar, and water. Heat to boiling. Pack cucumbers into hot, clean jars. For each quart jar add 3 heads of dill, or 1 tablespoon of dried dill, or 1 tablespoon of dill seed, using more or less dill as preferred. Add six whole black peppercorns per jar. Using a canning funnel, fill jars with boiling vinegar-salt solution to ½ of tops for quarts and ¼ inch for pints. Wipe off the top of each jar with a clean, wet cloth. Seal quickly with lids and bands that have just been scalded in boiling water.

Process pint jars for 10 minutes and quart jars for 15 minutes in a simmering water bath. This is when clouds of steam appear.

THE PROCESSING METHOD: Place filled and sealed jars on a rack in a deep pot. Pour in hot water to cover jars. Bring water to simmer and keep it simmering throughout processing time. Add more hot water if needed, to keep jars covered. When processing is done, remove jars and let cool. Remember hot jars may break if set on a cold surface or placed in a draft—I always place a bath towel onto the counter, so I can place the jars on a soft surface.

To test seal: The next day, check to see if jars are tightly sealed. Press center of the lid. If the lid stays down, the jar is properly sealed.

To store, label jars and store in a cool, dark place.

For Kosher-style dill pickles: Follow recipe above, except add 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved to each jar.

Makes 6 pints or 3 quarts

The smell of cooking vinegar will clear your sinuses like nothing else I know of. We usually can pickles between August and September, and traditionally open our first jar on Thanksgiving. The longer you can wait to eat your pickles, the better. Last years pickles definitely taste better in our potato salad.

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