The fresh snap and crunch of a pickle is my favorite sandwich companion. My family and guests seem to agree as every year I find myself having to can more and more! There are oodles of great recipes and varieties for pickles, and while I certainly enjoy a sweet pickle, too, the savory and tang taste of fresh garlic dill pickles is hard to beat.
Pickles are one of the easier items to can. I find the key to good crunch is in selecting firm, ripe and blemish-free pickling cucumbers and adding a bit of Pickle Crisp. Cutting the end off the spears can also help ensure a very crisp pickle as the tips often contain microbes that may cause the pickle to soften.
It also pays to wait. As tempting as it may be to open up a jar and sample the goods right away, letting your pickles sit at least 1-2 weeks prior to opening pays off. Allowing them to sit for a bit lets the pickle full absorb the seasonings and you’ll get the full bang of flavor.
Wash your jars, lids, and rings with warm, soapy water and inspect jars for damage. If residue is present, soak in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water and re-wash.
Sterilize jars. Suggested method- Place jars in water bath canner filled with water and bring to a simmer. Allow to remain simmering until you are ready to fill them. Place lids in small saucepot of simmering water until ready to use.
Combine vinegar, salt, and water in large saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
Wash cucumbers and slice into 1/2” spears.
Remove jars from canner and add 3 garlic cloves, 2 peppercorns, 2 heads of dill, and 1 tsp mustard seed to each one. Add ¼ tsp Pickle Crisp. Pack jars with cucumbers and pour vinegar mixture over the top. Slide a plastic or rubber spatula around the edges to remove all air bubbles and top off with vinegar mixture, leaving ½” headspace.
Wipe the rims with a damp, clean cloth and affix lids. Tighten rings by hand. Place jars in water bath canner, making sure there is 1”-2” of water covering the tops. Cover and bring to a boil. Process 20 minutes.
Prior to canning and during processing of your garlic dill pickles, always consult your Ball Blue Book of Preserving or the National Center for Home Food Preservation http://nchfp.uga.edu/ for full information on proper canning techniques and storage.
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.