Best Ever Dill Pickles

Pickles-1

INGREDIENTS:

Pickles
Fresh dill, heads & several inches of stems shaken free of bugs
Uniformly sized freshly picked cucumbers, washed, scrubbed, blossom end removed * (judge amount of cucumbers needed, depending on size)
1 garlic clove (or more) for each jar

Brine
8 1/2 cups filtered water
2 1/4 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup pickling salt

7 wide-mouth quart jars, new lids and screw bands (rings)

PREPARATION FOR CANNING:

Wash 7 wide-mouth quart jars in hot, soapy water (or dishwasher), rinse and fill with boiling hot water; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, fit lids and rings together, cover with water, bring to a simmer.

METHOD:

In a large pot, bring water, vinegar and salt to boil – turn off the heat. Set aside.

Place a layer of dill at the bottom of each jar, one garlic clove, and then TIGHTLY pack the cucumbers into the jar up to the NECK of the jar (depending on size you may get two nice layers with a few small cucumbers in the top). Squeeze cucumbers into the jar tightly – uniform size helps. Add a few TINY sprigs of dill on the top and another garlic clove, if desired.

Once jars are filled, pour the brine over the cucumbers leaving half-inch head space in each jar. Wipe rims with clean paper towel and add lid and ring on top of each jar, tightening evenly.

Place jars in a water bath canner filled half way with very warm (120° to 140°F) tap water. Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars. Heat the water enough to maintain 180° to 185°F water temperature for 30 minutes. Check with a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180°F during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185°F may cause unnecessary softening of pickles. Temperatures lower than 180°F will result in an unsafe product.

Remove jars from hot water bath, and set on a dishtowel on the kitchen counter to cool undisturbed for 24 hours.

Check for proper seal (slight indented lid). Carefully wash jars, remove screw bands, dry, label with name and date, and store in cool dark place.

NOTES:

  • When washing and scrubbing cucumbers, sort them into piles by size. Using uniform sizes not only makes your jars look nicer, it makes for easier packing, too.
  • The above water bath canning method described in the recipe is called Low Temperature Pasteurization. According to current guidelines, it results in a better product texture, but MUST be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage.
  • For optimum shelf-stable safety of any fresh-pack dill pickles, the jars should be processed in a boiling water bath covered by at least an inch of water. Ten minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts.