Pickling Cucumbers

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Pickling Cucumbers

Pickling Cucumbers

One of the running jokes between Sarah and I is that I am a country boy and she is a city chick. I vividly remember the first time I took her down to my grandparent’s farm that I grew up on. Sarah had to deal with a slobbery dog, a large spider on her shoulder, and seeing my grandmother get pooped on by a bird not once, but twice in the same afternoon. Just one of those three things would typically be enough to keep Sarah from ever wanting to go back to a place like that, but since this was my home she made an exception.

I tell you all this just to let you know that I grew up on the farm and one of the best things about that was the amount of fresh produce that we had. My dad is a teacher, so he has always had summers off. That meant he had plenty of time to garden, and boy, did he garden. He would typically have three large gardens that he would work, in addition to a plethora of fruit trees. So with that much garden, that meant we typically had our fill of fresh produce plus a ton left over. Because of this, my dad would can all kinds of different things. He would can green beans, tomato juice, stewed tomatoes, and hot dog relish just to name a few. However, one of, if not my favorite thing that he cans is his sweet pickles. They are extra sweet with a great mixture of spices and he would always add a bit of green food coloring for his signature look. Unfortunately, Sarah doesn’t like sweet pickles, so when I started canning last summer and wanted to do pickles, I decided to try dill pickles instead. It turns out that this was an excellent choice. The worst part about doing these for the first time was the two weeks that we waited to try them for the first time since we wanted to give them plenty of time to take on as much flavor as possible. When we finally opened them and tried our first bites we found a great combination of vinegar, garlic, and dill. They quickly became our go to dill pickle and haven’t bought dill pickles in the store since. So if you are a canner or want to start canning, I suggest you try this easy recipe.

This is a two day process, so make sure to plan ahead.

This will make 7 pint jars

  • 8 lbs pickling cucumbers (cucumbers that are less than 4″ long typically will stay crisper)
  • 1 1/4 cups pickling salt, divided
  • 12 cups water, divided
  • 2 tbsp pickling spice
  • 6 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 tsp mustard seeds
  • 10 sprigs fresh dill
  • 7 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Pickle Crisp

Day 1: Trim the ends of the cucumbers. In a large glass or stainless steel bowl layer the cucumbers with 16 cups of ice. In a separate bowl, dissolve 1/2 cup of pickling salt in 4 cups of water. Pour over the cucumbers and add cold water to cover the cucumbers. I will typically place two heavy plates on top of the cucumbers to weigh them down. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, but not more than 18 hours.

Day 2: Begin by placing seven pint jars into the canner and fill with water. Heat the water to at least 180 degrees, but do not boil. Leave the jars in the canner until you are ready to fill them. In a small saucepan, fill with water and add the lids. Heat the water to at least 180 degrees, but don’t boil.

Tie the pickling spice into a square of cheesecloth to create a spice bag.

In a large pot, combine 8 cups water, the vinegar, 3/4 cup pickling salt, sugar, and the spice bag. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and gently boil for 15 minutes.

Transfer the cucumbers to a colander and drain. Rinse the cucumbers and drain. Quarter the cucumbers to create spears. Remove the jars from the hot water one at a time and place a sprig or two of dill into the bottom of the jar along with 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp mustard seed, and 3/4 tsp pickle crisp. Pack the cucumber spears into the jar. Ladle the hot pickling liquid into the jar, leaving approximately 1/2″ of headspace. Wipe the rim of the jar, center the lid, and screw the band down until it is finger tip tight. Return the jar to the canner and repeat until all the jars are filled.

Make sure all the jars are covered with water by at least an inch. Put the lid on the canner, but do not lock. Bring the water to a boil and process for 10 minutes. After the ten minutes are up, remove the lid, and turn off the heat. Wait 5 minutes and remove the jars.

And there you have it, a recipe for some delicious dill pickles.  Don’t worry, the sweet pickle recipe I spoke of earlier will be coming soon.


Since Sarah & Coley first met, they have enjoyed sharing their love of food--cooking, baking, and culinary exploration. Random fact: when vacationing, they won't eat at any national chain restaurants. For their day jobs, Coley is a Financial Advisor with Investment Centers of America and Sarah is Adjunct Faculty at two local universities and CEO/Social Media Strategist at SociallySeasoned, LLC.
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