Dill Pickle Recipe

Recipe for crunchy Dill Pickles
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How to Make Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles… they’re evocative of my childhood and weekends at Nana’s house. Each summer my grandmother would carry out the ritual of preserving the garden surplus and of everything she made, pickles were my favourite.

Her store room would be filled with bottles showcasing the colours of the rainbow and without fail there would always be at least a dozen quarts of sharp and crunchy gherkins ready for a little blonde headed girl to crack into. I loved them so much that I’d even sip the brine though I don’t really recommend it to anyone else!

Recipe for crunchy Dill Pickles ~ easy to make and keeps for a year #pickles

From Garden to Jar

To this day I still enjoy homemade pickles and not just for the nostalgia factor. They’re a relatively simple preserve to make and some of the ingredients are easy to grow in most any temperate garden. For me they’re one of the best ways as a kitchen gardener to connect the dots between all four seasons.

From sowing seeds in the spring, to harvesting garlic, dill, and gherkins in the summer, to preserving the lot and enjoying them in the darkest days of winter. Each jar of pickles contains not only a savoury treat but also a year’s worth of experiences.

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Recipe for crunchy Dill Pickles

Cucumbers can be grown outdoors

Though some people seem surprised to find that I grow cucumbers outdoors in the Isle of Man, many varieties are well suited for our climate and can produce mountains of fruit from just a few plants. The way I grow my gherkins is to sow the seeds indoors at the end of April and then plant the small plants out into a sunny spot in mid-June.

This year I also decided to give them a bit of shelter by planting them along the back of a row of raspberries and against an old metal headboard that I found at the tip. I haven’t spent much time training them up the metal bars but they’ve latched onto them on their own, giving the plants more support for windy days.

Recipe for crunchy Dill Pickles

For this recipe I’ve also grown the dill and garlic and for me they are ready to harvest at about the same time as the gherkins. Growing garlic is easy though they need a bit of prior planning since you plant the cloves at the beginning of winter. In late April I direct sowed dill seed in a large swathe of soil just above where I grow the gherkins and the plants are now about four feet high. Though I’ve dried some of the leaves for use in winter recipes there’s plenty left for use in pickling. For pickles it’s also nice to let the dill form flowers since the flowers and seed have a more intense flavour than dill leaves on their own.

Recipe for crunchy Dill Pickles

Bottled Dill Pickles ~ Hot water bath method

Ingredient quantities will vary based on how many quarts/pints of pickles you’re making.

Pickling cucumbers / Gherkins
1 Tbsp Dill leaves and 1-2whole heads of Dill per quart
2 Whole Garlic cloves per quart
1/2 tsp Peppercorns per quart
Water
White Vinegar
Sea Salt / Kosher Salt / Preserving Salt
Preserving Jars
Tattler Reusable Canning Lids*

1. Sterilize your preserving jars with either boiling water or by placing them in an oven at 130°C/265°F for thirty minutes. Whatever your method of sterilization, allow the jars to cool before packing them with your ingredients. While they’re cooling, take your jar’s lids and place them in bowl of boiling hot water. Leave them there until you need to fit them onto the jars.

2. Wash your gherkins and start packing them into your jars. If they’re small, pop them in whole but if medium to large cut them into slices. This helps to get more into the jar and also for easier serving once the jar is opened. For each quart of pickles you’ll add half a teaspoon of black peppercorns, two whole garlic cloves and plenty of dill.

Recipe for crunchy Dill Pickles

3. Make the brine: for approximately every four quarts of tightly packed gherkins you’ll need to heat together two quarts of water with one quart of white vinegar along with 1/2 cup of salt. Let this cool until warm and then pour into each of the jars, filling to a centimeter (just less than 1/2″) below the top of the jar’s brim.

4. Clean the tops of the jars then fit on your preserving lids and screw the rings on. Most every preserving recipe will tell you to not over-tighten the rings but in my experience I’ve found that it’s best to twist them on fully but not super tight. If they’re too loose then the contents of your jars can leak out in the water bath.

5. Place a metal preserving rack or towel at the bottom of a deep preserving pan and then place the jars inside. The jars should be at least an inch apart and the pan needs to be deep enough to have the jars inside with over an inch of water comfortably covering the tops.

Recipe for crunchy Dill Pickles

6. Cover the jars with warm/hot water from the tap then bring the pan to a boil. Boil the jars for fifteen minutes then lift them out of the water. If you’re using a towel at the bottom of the pan then you’ll need a ‘jar lifter’ tool available at many kitchen shops. Set the jars on the counter and allow to cool. You’ll know that the jars are properly sealed when you hear the lids popping.

7. Allow the pickles to infuse with the brine for at least two weeks before eating them. Stored in jars in a cool pantry your pickles will last up to two years, though I doubt you’ll be able to let them sit there that long!

* You’ll notice that my preserving lids in this recipe are white plastic rather than traditional metal. That’s because I’m using Tattler Reusable Regular Size Canning Lids, a BPA free alternative to the ones more commonly used. They’re fairly new to me but I’m impressed enough to import more in from the USA. Unlike metal lids, you can reuse Tattler lids for life and they ensure that your home preserved food is free from chemicals that can seep in through the coatings under metal preserving lids.

Tattler BPA Free Canning Lids

Recipe for crunchy Dill Pickles

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52 Discussion to this post

  1. cathie christensen says:

    I’m wondering if there’s any way to reduce the salt? Any time we can cut out some, I like to try. Thankss

  2. Thanks for such a great recipe! Can’t wait to try it at home the next time I decide to tackle a pickling project!

  3. Tekia says:

    Did you have extra brine? I had 6 quart jars so I half doubles the reciepe. I used 3 quarts water to 1.5 quarts vinegar and o had a lot of brine left.. I just hope they still turn out

  4. Jupiterrose says:

    Interesting recipe but I am a little confused about the quart. a quart of what? I have figured out that a quart is a little less than a litre but does it refer to the vinegar, the water, the gherkins? Thanks in advance.

  5. Trina R. White says:

    Have you ever used grape leaf when canning pickles?

  6. Donella Rideout-Martini says:

    Made these and they got 8 thumbs up from my family. We wee able to try some just before it was time to can the next batch. Your recipe will be my 100% go to for yummy dill pickles from now on. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  7. Margy says:

    I don’t have cucumbers, but lots of zucchini, so I’m going to try to make dill pickles out of some of them as an experiment. Worth a try I have so much squash to find a use for.

  8. Jennifer Butt says:

    I just made these pickles. I hope they taste as good as the dill smells!

  9. Bessie says:

    This is the same wonderful recipe that has been in my family for years . At least 100. The only different thing that we do is add a grape leaf to the very top just before putting on the lid. These are just sooo good.

  10. Guy says:

    Love this recipe so much! Thanks for sharing. Is there any way to reuse the brine after enjoying the pickles?? Just curious if you have maybe tried it or had any success with that. Thanks again!

    • lovelygreens says:

      I remember drinking it as a kid! haha 🙂 I’m sure there’s a use for it but haven’t tried myself. Keep in mind that it’s been cooked in the jar, opened, and possibly left in the fridge for a while though. It might be best to just make more brine if you need some.

    • Jupiterrose says:

      Yes, I have a recipe for lentils which uses pickeling brine. Every time I make lentil salad I use some brine instead of vinegar ad it tastes really good. I am sure you could substitute it for vinegar.

  11. Kara says:

    any suggestions if I do not have the dill leaves and heads?

  12. patrice says:

    Where can I get dill leaves? I am not growing the cucumbers myself.

  13. Love this! I found your site on Pinterest, and am sharing a link to this post in a canning recipe roundup that I am doing today… Hope you can stop by to see it! – http://www.stringtownhome.net… Excited to have found your blog!

  14. Christina says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe ~ I can't wait to try it! Do you have a table for how long they need to be int he canner for based on location? I am at over 6000ft above sea level. Thanks!

  15. Howdy! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  16. Lindsay says:

    Oh my goodness I have been obsessed with making pickles! I posted something recently as well. I just can't get enough of them! However, I've been doing refrigerator pickles for the extra crisp — have yours retained the crispiness in the water bath?

    http://www.alifeafterthirty.com/2013/08/an-obsession-with-pickles.html

  17. Amy Lou says:

    I just found your site–It's fantastic! We're off-grid in Northern New Mexico. One of my goals (along with fifty others) is to grow all the ingredients for making pickles. This will involve a greenhouse and more rainwater catchment, so it's a next-year-goal… But now I have an awesome recipe when I'm ready. Thanks for this!

    • It's amazing how different gardening spaces are around the world but there's one thing they all share in common – challenges. For me, it's getting enough sunshine. In your area it's probably the opposite! Hope you have luck growing your dill pickle ingredients next year 🙂

  18. Sue Garrett says:

    The only problem with pickle making is the fumes given off by boiling vinegar which is why my husband makes the pickles outside on a camping stove!

  19. First off, let me say that seeing the "Made in the USA" label on your bottle tops made me smile – it's nice to know we manufacture more than just war these days.

    Also – I'm pinning this recipe – it seems easy and yummy and straight to the point – all hallmarks of great recipes, in my humble opinion. Yay, tradition!

    I just made bread and butter pickles along with my first run of dills, and both recipes were good, but nothing to write home about. I'm always on the hunt for new recipes!

  20. Rose Hascall says:

    I love dill pickles, especially homemade ones. My grandmother always made them in a crock. My recipe is similar to yours. I haven't made them in a few years but plan on it this year. Yummy.
    Love your pictures. Made me hungry for a dill pickle right now.

  21. They look delicious and your instructions are so clear and easy to follow.
    I must give this a try.
    Your Tattler lids are interesting – that's the first time I've seen them.

  22. Judith/Ida says:

    Think it is a special gift to your nana to follow in her footsteps,that generation lived the green life.

    The parcel arrived early in the week full of soaps,HB insists we always have the lavender soaps
    on hand for his baths/showers!
    Wish I could have visited your stall beautifully laid out as shown in your post,yummie honeys.
    Hope your BH w/e is having better weatherthan here we have thick cloud with a sharp north east
    wind.

    • Really great to hear Judith! I smiled when reading that HB loves the lavender soap 🙂 Maybe one day you'll be able to visit my stall to say hello if you ever make it to the island. Enjoy the soaps! 🙂

  23. CJ says:

    They look delicious Tanya. You are right, it is lovely to have things from the summer put by to eat in the depths of winter. I'm rapidly running out of space in the freezer for things though, so pickles are a great idea. How is your allotment doing?

  24. Mmmm, yum. I love the taste of pickles but, sadly, don't have the storage space to can lots of veg. Yours look glorious and love the timing of growing it all together – as nature intended!

  25. littlemancat says:

    Now I want pickles! Your photographs are just beautiful – that deep green and the greeny-gold dill. Lovely.
    Mary

  26. Sandy says:

    They look delicious! Thank you for he recipe.

  27. Fran says:

    Where was this recipe two weeks ago when I was pickling my gherkins, it looks delicious. I do have some more gherkins ready to go so I will try it out xxx

  28. Those look really nice, I can smell them from here. That is so neat that you got some of the Tattler lids, they cost more but you will have the use of them for years so it is a good deal.
    Our cucumbers couldn't handle the wet weather, I guess disease spreads quickly, so like tomatoes I will try again next year. Are you really going to wait until winter to eat them?

    • Thanks again for recommending them to me! I couldn't find them for sale in the UK but fortunately was able to purchase them through a US Ebay seller.

      Shame about your tomatoes and cucumbers…I certainly know what it's like as a gardener having to contend with wet weather (last year was the worst!). And yes, there should be plenty left for the winter…my plants are popping out gherkins left and right 🙂

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