Monday, July 8, 2013

My Favorite Home-Canned Dill Pickles

Are you pickly?
I sure am.  In a big, bad way.

When I was a kid I made myself sick not once but twice from eating too many pickles.
Then there was the famed Dill Pickle club co-founded by my friend Tracie and I.
We had matching plastic dill pickle lapel pins.
It never did catch on like we had hoped.

A few years ago I tried to make dill pickles using the Mrs. Wages packet.
Major Pickle Flop.
No offense, Mrs. Wages.

They were mushy and disgusting. They started disintegrating in the jars. Blech.

It was much too traumatic to even think about trying again. But last year my friend Alison brought a jar of home-canned pickled to our Monday night carry-in/Bible study.
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.
I think I ate half the jar.

They were kinda sour, kinda sweet.
Should I go on?

I don't grow enough cukes in our little garden (more on that tomorrow!) for canning, so I just buy some from a farm stand or farmer's market. The ones I bought last year were bumpy (not at all like grocery store cucumbers) and small, maybe 4 inches long.

I'll be making a double batch this year in an effort to avert the pickle hoarding and other associated dramas experienced in the Martin household last winter.

Alison's Pickles
Put one peeled garlic clove on bottom of jar, followed by a layer of pickles, a head of fresh dill* in middle, more pickles & another garlic clove on top.
Add brine: 2 c. Vinegar, 3 c. Sugar, 2 c. Water, 2 tsp salt. Bring all ingredients to boil. Pour over pickles.
Water bath 15 min @ boil. Remove immediately. Pickles get mushy if left in too long. Basically, you want lids to seal. Not much cooking is needed for pickles. Makes 4 qts.

*I also bought my fresh dill heads at a farm stand. You can kind of see them up in the jars. They're pretty large, just stuff them in the jar!

Do you do any canning or preserving? I'm a fan and I mostly blame nostalgia. I'm big on fresh veggies so I won't do a ton, but I love the idea of "putting up" some food. I grew up in a family of major league canners, so it's been fun to ease my way in. So far this year I've made strawberry-peach freezer jam, pureed strawberries and whole frozen strawberries. I plan to do green beans, diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, pickled red beets and applesauce.

And pickles. Duh.

What are you canning this year?

Two of my favorite canning and preserving resources:
Homemade Living: Canning and Preserving with Ashley Engligh
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

*All links are Amazon Affiliate links.


  1. I've done some canning over the last few years, but I've never been brave enough to try pickles. The home canned ones I grew up with were... not good. Maybe this is the year!

  2. I put up homemade pizza sauce (Pizza Hut die for...), grape juice from my own grapes, and I'm thinking of trying green beans this year. I also can grape jelly from my juice, and peach jam, and I have a recipe that is for canning, but requires the OVEN (email me if you want this so easy recipe). I freeze strawberries, peaches, peas, corn, and strawberry jam. I also freeze applesauce. Whew. I'm tired, and it's only starting!

    1. I can pizza sauce too but have never heard of the Pizza Hut recipe. Can you share or tell me where to find it? We love their pizza! Thanks!

    2. I am just starting to can and would love your pizza hut recipe! I have attempted tomato soup but my husband is bringing a bushel if roma tomatoes home in a few days for me to try to make it with!

  3. Those pickles look amazing! My mom used to make pickles. They were THE BEST!

  4. Yum, I'm feeling the need to get back in the kitchen. -Carole of West Family Farm

  5. My Grammy and her church friends used to can every summer. Peaches and corn and green beans. My sister in law and her mother still do. I think that is a nice tradition.

    I love farmers. I love pickles. I love you.

    Happy Monday.

  6. My grandma taught me to can one very hot summer just after the birth of our (now adult) daughter. I was hooked. She gave me a recipe similar to this and called them bread and butter pickles. Nothing beats home canned in the middle of winter. I love home canned green beans, beets (pickled are best!) and fruits like peaches and pears.

  7. Definitely been easing into it around here. We only preserve things we eat a lot of. Pickles qualify...BUT! Major pickle canning disaster about 3 years ago, and kids are now very leery of my renewed confidence this year. So, we have questions:
    1) would you eat these and still say "this is a dill pickle"? Or, another phrasing: how sweet are they?
    2) how many cucumbers per recipe batch, approx?

    Thank you!!

    1. I would say they are dill. But they definitely do have some sweetness. Cory can't stand sweet pickles though and he LOVES these. I sort of wonder about messing around with the recipe...adding more garlic? Mustard seed? Less sugar? Then again, I don't want another botched batch. :)
      And I have no clue how many cukes. I bought half a pack (whatever that means!) and just kept going until they were all in jars! Sorry I can't be more helpful.

    2. That helps, thanks! And yes, messing with pickle recipes in the past = canned pickles used as household decor.

  8. pickles and me go way back.
    i knew there was a reason you were the best.

  9. I put up as much as I can. I don't want to go to the grocery store, I want to be the grocery store. :)

  10. Are these the ones I had at your house once? Because mmm I want some.

    I've never eaten myself sick on pickles but once I ate too much puppy chow and threw up... in my sleep. I didn't wake up. My sisters found me in my vomit-covered state in the morning.

    I'm a classy gal. Aren't you glad we're friends?

  11. Bread and butter pickles have spices in the brine, and onions pickled in with the pickles - yum. A distinct taste that lights up a lot of eyes when you make little 8 oz jars and give them as gifts....

  12. It's almost shameful that I will type this out- as they are NOT homemade or canned..but my favorite pickles are Bubbies!

    Kinda overpriced and delicious!

    Do you hate me now?


    Dawn Budgie

  13. I will be canning as much salsa as I possibly can. We ran out last year and that can NEVER happen again.

  14. Hey it's me... Kelly from CW... okay--so after reading your post yesterday--I went and got cukes from our little corner farmers set up so I can try my hand at canning pickles... I just like the idea of canning.... my inner little house on the prairie comes out.... Next year going to add that to our little garden...

  15. I love to make my own mustard and I love Nigella lawsons applechutney!

  16. Growing up in Nebraska, my mom would go into a panic if there wasn't two years worth of food in the cellar. I was 30 before I quit feeling guilty about not having a garden. (altho I like to think I would probably have one if I didn't work full time!)

  17. I''m definitely making salsa. We live for salsa. We go through salsa like crazy (the homemade kind). I always can apple butter and applesauce in the fall.

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  19. I've never dipped my toes into the world of canning, so I'll just admire your pickly jars from afar.

    Why does that sound....racy?

    Si is a pickle FREAK. Loves 'em. He's all in for being the third member of your club.

  20. Just got out the Ashley English book I won from YOU several years ago and was salivating over it once again! I did make her grape jelly with great success, but my only experience with pickles resulted in throwing out 12 quarts of blue ribbon-worthy looking pickles that tasted like saltwater! You couldn't even rinse them off and enjoy! You've given me renewed confidence-I'll try your recipe this year!

  21. I have canned with my mother but began on my own a couple of years ago - I have done pickles, sweet and dill, apple butter and sauce, jams, all varieties ( have not bought jam in three or four years), pickled beets, green beans and some tomatoes -although not many. I love being able to go to my shelf and get something that has only been processed by me.

  22. Love canning! We do applesauce, peaches, pears, salsa (ah-mazing!), pickles, tomato soup and probably green beans this year since my garden is pouring forth the beans! If you like really crisp pickles, try adding pickle crisp the the jars before you pour on the brine. Never had a mushy pickle with the pickle crisp!

  23. I grew up in a major league canning family, too.
    Imagine my mom, her mom, and both sisters in the kitchen putting up green beans, tomatoes for sauces and such, corn on the cob and off, pickles, homemade relish to go on top of turnip greens. and so much more......

    My dad grows potatoes that he stores in the basement, so they have them waaaaay past summer.

    My parents are gardening rockstars.
    I grew up HAVING to work in the garden and so naturally I HATED it.

    Now? Now I think it was the best kind of childhood ever.

    My friend, Jackie, canned some pickles and they were PERFECT. I ate waaaaaay to many at her house a few weeks ago.

  24. Yummy pickles i love this ............ thanks.

    custom pins

  25. Shannan - how many pickles do you start with to yield the right amount of slices. Heading to the farmers' market this morning and am going to wing it but wonder if you'd update your recipe with that information. Thanks!

    1. I don't really know...I buy or pick as many times as I can and fill as many jars as I can. Very official! :) I also have started to cut the sugar back to 2 cups so they aren't quite as sweet. :)

    2. I don't really know...I buy or pick as many times as I can and fill as many jars as I can. Very official! :) I also have started to cut the sugar back to 2 cups so they aren't quite as sweet. :)

    3. I don't really know...I buy or pick as many times as I can and fill as many jars as I can. Very official! :) I also have started to cut the sugar back to 2 cups so they aren't quite as sweet. :)