Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Daphne's Dill Pickles

I'm the only one in my family that really loves pickles, but how I love my pickles. My favorite kind is sweet, hot, and spicy. Oh and I love dill too. So I make my dills with sugar and hot peppers and tons of spices. I've never done fermented pickles so I always do quick pack ones. They do require that you brine the cukes first.

I made a water bath with lots of salt (about a quarter cup per quart of water). I chop the flower ends off the cukes (which have an enzyme that can make your cukes soft) and leave the stem end (which supposedly helps keep them crisp). Then I top the bowl with ice and let it sit there for four hours to brine. I'll add more ice as it melts and sprinkle salt over the top so as not to dilute the brine While it is brining I wash the pint jars in the dishwasher to sterilize them. Usually people do quarts for canning pickles, but I don't have any. Pints really only hold four cucumbers. Quarts would hold more and be more reasonable. Someday I'll get some quart jars, but then I'd need to also get another canner as mine can't take quarts. It is too small.

Timing is always an issue with canning. You want all your things ready at the same time. You need the canning water boiling. You need the pickle juice boiling. You need your lids sterilized and hot. You need your cukes brined and all the spices to add to the jar need to be ready. I almost had it but the canning water took a bit long to boil. Ah well. I waited until it was before putting it all in jars.

I made enough pickle juice for seven pints which is the maximum my canner will take. I was sure I didn't need that much, but left over juice is great as I just use it to make refrigerator pickles. It is the exact same recipe, but I don't brine the cukes and don't can them. I just toss the spices and pickle juice in a large glass jar and stick it in the fridge. As I pick a cucumber or two I toss them into the jar. They easily keep a couple of months in the fridge like this and it is a lot less work than canning. It is also a great way to use up just one or two cukes. Canning requires quantity.

Pickle juice for seven pints:

  • 5c vinegar
  • 3 3/4c water
  • 1/4c + T canning salt
  • 1c sugar

Spices to put into each pint jar:

  • a couple slices of onion
  • clove garlic cut in half
  • slice of fresh ginger
  • hot pepper sliced in rings
  • dill head
  • T chopped dill leaves
  • T dill seed
  • 6 whole mustard seeds
  • 1 whole clove
  • 2 whole allspice
  • small piece of cinnamon bark
  • crumbled bay leaf
  • 2 pepper corns
  • 4 coriander

I added all the spices to each jar then packed in four brined cucumbers. The boiling pickle juice was poured over the cukes to about 1/4" of the top. Then into the boiling water bath it went for 10 minutes (if you are using pints and are at sea level, quarts require 15).

All the jars sealed well. I'll be using them in the winter. Refrigerator pickles are so much easier to make and just fine for the summer and fall months. And since I only made five jars I had plenty of brine and spices to put in the fridge for upcoming cukes. I do warn you though. These pickles are pretty spicey after they have been sitting for six months. The refrigerator version doesn't pick up the spices quite as heavily.


  1. That does look good! I love pickles too (which Indian doesn't?) but the ones I'm used too are stuffed with enough pungent chillies to fuel a rocket!

  2. Are these the famous pickles that I have heard so much about but never tasted?

  3. Sunita, I use cayennes a lot of the time to spice up mine. Those get fairly hot. Though sometimes I just add serranos for a milder pickle. Neither I'm sure are as hot as the ones you are used to.

    Karen, those would be the ones. Maybe someday you will get to taste them.

  4. I do the refrigerator ones. Very little patience to can and I do not have a canner. However, these look delicious and who knows, maybe a canner will show up at my doorstep. Spicy sounds great.

  5. Homemade pickles are so good, and I made 5 quarts myself, last weekend. I'm partial to dill.

  6. I have a while before my cucumbers will be on - but I intend to do the refrigerator cucumbers this year as well as our favorite dill pickle relish.

  7. Those looks so good if my cucumbers will ever get going I will have to try your recipe.

  8. That's a recipe I've been waiting for! I'm dreaming of making pickles, but I'm not optimistic about my cucumbers this year. My seeds didn't sprout, and I had to resort to nursery seedlings--late. My first time with them, so we'll see!

  9. The lady and I made 8 quarts of dill pickles over the weekend as well. We had a sample off of one of the unsealed jars and they were delicious after 2 days. I can't wait for the rest to really develop over the next 2 months.

  10. Your recipe sounds good. Do you use the same recipe for beans too? I'm on my last jar of processed dills now. Must make more this year.

  11. johanna, I actually love the refrigerator ones better than the canned. They are so crunchy.

    EG, I love the flavor of dill too. I can't help but add in all the other flavors. My husband will eat dill pickles on rare occasion, but won't eat mine. He thinks they are too strong. But I like them that way. I think you either love them or hate them like I make them.

    kitsapFG, I would love to make some relish this year too. I've never done it before though.

    Jeana, I hope you cucumbers start soon. Last year I never got good ones because of the weather. I canned exactly three pints. It was so sad.

    Toni, well cukes are quick to produce so maybe you will get some yet.

    Fred, they do get stronger and stronger with storage.

    Dan, I've never done beans. I do fridge snap peas with the same recipe. And I heartily recommend the snap peas for hamburgers. I like them best in the burgers, but like the cukes for eating straight. I warn you though. Canning snap peas is icky. Don't even try it. They start to dissolve.

  12. Oh, your recipe sounds great! Never tried dill with sugar in it before. I'm a little on the wimpy side when it comes to spicy stuff, but I have some Salsa peppers that have little baby heat to them, for weenies like myself. I might try your recipe using those instead.

  13. Yippee, a pickle post! Thanks!

  14. Perfect! I'm going to do that next week.