Here at Green Bean Gardens, I have cucumbers sticking out of my ears. We eat multiple cucumbers every day and still can’t keep up with them. I may have planted a few too many plants. What to do with such a surplus? Make pickles, of course! After three seasons of fiddling with recipes and trying out different dill pickle recipes, I have finally arrived at a recipe that is perfect for my picky pickle taste buds. A good dill needs to be crisp with a good vinegar bite, garlicky and with plenty of dill flavor. This recipe meets those qualifications and works well because it is a smaller batch, perfect for my garden because I can usually pick a good bowl full but cannot make a giant batch all at once.
Recipe makes about 4-5 pints of pickles
Fresh pickling cucumbers (small cucumbers), enough to fill 4-5 jars
2 c. white vinegar (5% acidity)
2 c. filtered water
2 tablespoons pickling or kosher salt
4-5 dill heads (flowering or 4-5 tsp dill seeds)
4-5 fresh grape leaves (this keeps them crisp by blocking the enzymes that can make pickles soft)
4-5 cloves of garlic
Sterilize 5 pint jars by bringing them to a boil in your canner and keep hot in the water until you are ready to use them. Scald canning lids and bands (pour boiling water over them in bowl).
In a large sauce pan combine vinegar, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and then let simmer until you are ready to use it.
Cut off blossom end from the cucumbers. (This also helps keep the pickles from getting mushy.)
Remove jars from canner and in each jar place a grape leaf, a dill head (or 1 tsp dill seeds), a clove of garlic (slice the clove into several pieces), and 5 peppercorns.
Pack in cucumbers snuggly but don’t mash them in there.
Pour hot vinegar mixture over the cucumbers, leaving 1 inch of head space.
Put on canning lids and screw on bands to finger tightness. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (must be at a boil for a full 10 minutes). Remove from water and let cool completely before checking the seal.
Wait about 6 weeks before enjoying your lovely pickles. They keep up to a year if properly sealed.