I didn’t think that I would ever be the type of girl who would love canning. I thought canning was for bonnet wearing, garden growing, home-schooling, perfectly folded laundry type of women. The kind of woman I could only dream of being.
My Mom is this type of woman. Always kept a house of order, even with 7 children to care for. She would can peaches, plums, pears, jam, tomatoes, salsa, chili sauce, etc. etc. etc. My very favorite snack from the bottles that neatly lined the food storage room shelves were my Grandmother’s dill pickles. The jar would open and like a magic trick, the pickles would disappear.
I decided that learning how to preserve food would be an excellent skill to have, so I solicited my Grandma’s recipe and help from my Sister-in-law and could not be happier with the results. One day when I’m not a chaotic Mother of 2 young boys I will grow the food myself, but this year I can feel good about supporting local farmers and knowing exactly what is in my jars.
You will need:
- Canning Jars, lids, and rings. (I used 1 ½ pint jars because quart-size was sold out and I ended up loving the size. They are just as tall as quart-sized jars but a little skinnier. Tall and skinny…I’m jealous of my jars. You will want wide mouth jars to make the cucumber stuffing easier.
- Water bath pot with bottle rack, steam canner with rack, or pressure cooker with rack.
- Small canning cucumbers. (30 pounds made 30 1½ pint-sized jars)
- Dried dill weed, white onions, dried red chili peppers, and garlic.
- For the brine: white vinegar, salt, and water.
Start by prepping the jars. You can boil them in the water bath or steam them in the steam canner. The easiest way to prep them is to run them on the sanitize dishwasher setting with heated dry. The dishwasher keeps the jars super hot and you can just pull them out as you need them.
Get the brine ready as your jars are being cleaned. In a large stock pot combine: 4 cups white vinegar with 8 cups water and 3/4 cups salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until all the salt has dissolved. Turn burner off and let it sit, you will bring it back to a boil just before pouring it over the cucumbers.
Wash all the cucumbers. don’t they look like little witch fingers?
Now, Grab a hot jar and stuff it with cucumbers. The cucumbers shrink slightly during the processing step and you don’t want a bunch of dead space at the bottom, so you want to stuff it good and tight. The trick is to place them in vertically at the bottom of the jar, this will allow you to utilize all the space you can. pretend they are cookies and you can eat as many as you can fit in the jar without gaining an ounce. Now that is motivation. Ha.
Top view. Aren’t they cute?
Once your jar is half stuffed, toss in 1 stick of dried dill weed, 1 large piece of white onion, 1 dried red chili pepper, and 1 chopped garlic clove. If you like them spicier, you can toss in an extra dried red chili or 2.
Pack the rest of the jar with cucumbers.
Using a ladle or large spouted measuring cup pour the hot brine into the jars leaving a ½ inch head space at the top. Carefully wipe around the top of the jar with a clean cloth. Use a magnetic lid lifter and carefully place the lid on the jars, using caution not to touch the underside of the lid. Twist on the rings and process.
Using a steam canner process for 20 minutes (start timer when steam is visible).
Using a water bath process for 10 minutes (start timer when water is boiling).
Using a pressure cooker process for 15 minutes at 15 PSI.
At the end of processing, if using a water bath or steam canner, let sit for 5 minutes. If using a pressure canner, follow the directions on your pressure canner. Using a jar lifter, move the jars onto a cooling rack. As they cool, you will hear the lids click.
That singular sound heralding the ultimate achievement of canning success!
After 12 hours, check all the lids to ensure that they don’t make a clicking sound when you press on the tops. This is the test to verify your jars have sealed properly. Store at room temperature for 6 weeks before breaking into the first jar, unless you are impatient like my sister Carli, then 4 days will do!
When the long wait is over and you pop a jar open, be prepared for the most delicious, garlicky, spicy, crunchy, dill pickles that you have ever tasted. And as an added bonus, you can pronounce every ingredient in the jar, after all, you put it there! Like magic, watch those pickles disappear.
Happy canning foodie friends!