Hey everyone! So today I’m gonna talk to you guys about something that my family & I love to do in the summer, and that’s canning and pickling!
I love canning and I think its a great way to keep the wonderful produce from your garden all year long. You can can just about anything you want.
One of my most favorite things to eat that we can are Kosher Dill Pickles. We also tend to go through them a lot as a family. They taste way better, and are way cheaper than buying pickles from the store, especially if you snack on them a lot like we do. It may seem really weird, but I like to eat them as a snack at night, so that can really make a dent in our pantry’s pickle population.
A lot of people get intimidated by the pickling process, but its actually pretty easy to do.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Mrs. Wages Kosher Dill Pickling Mix –You need 1 package per 7 quarts.We generally use a pickle mix when we make our Kosher Dill Pickles because it just saves a lot of time, and honestly it doesn’t have hardly any taste difference than using the fresh herbs. We only use Mrs. Wages Kosher Dill Pickling Mix because after trying a lot of others, this one really tastes the way we like it to. Ball also has mixes available, but we just didn’t like the taste as well. You can typically pick up a few bags of mix at your local Walmart, although I also linked some from Amazon. ** I’ve also written the scratch recipe below in case you want to try using the herbs instead of the mix**
Cucumbers-Depending on how many pickles you want, is how many cucumbers you will need. For example, in this batch we did 12 quarts and used about 10-15lbs of pickles. Beware of using too large of cucumbers. If they have yellow on them, pass them up.
White Vinegar – 3 1/3 cup per batch
Ball Pickle Crisp (optional) – This is optional but we use it to help give the pickles that fresh crunch. It helps a little to keep them from getting soft or anything. Mason Jars– For this batch we used 12 quart jars. If you buy a new set of jars you don’t have to worry about sterilizing them, but if you are reusing jars, you will have to sterilize them in boiling water first. Pots or a canner – You will need a big pot to cook your mix in, and a bigger pot to set your jars to seal them. We have canners/pressure cookers as well, but we just decided to use these pots this time. *CAUTION* If you’re using a canner, don’t use it on an outside burner like we did because you’ll warp it. ALSO you probably shouldn’t try to do this on your electric stove, because it could possibly break your glass on the stove. Plenty of people do it fine without it breaking, but its a possibility. Scratch Recipe (for 7 pints/3 quarts
1 Bay Leaf
1 Clove Garlic
1 piece hot Red Pepper
1/2 tsp mustard seed
Green or Dry Dill (1 head per jar)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canning or kosher salt
1 quart Vinegar
1 quart water
Combine salt, vinegar, sugar, and water in a large sauce pot. Tie spices into a spice bag(minus the head of dill), add spice bag to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 mins.
Now that you have all of your ingredients, you’re ready to start! Start by setting out all of the jars that you will use and get them ready to stuff with pickles. Try and warm them up as well, even if you need to boil them. You need the sort of warm because otherwise, they might break during some of the next steps, which would be bad.
Then start slicing you pickles however you want them. You want to make sure to cut the blossom end off. This will keep the cucumbers from going bad quickly after you pickle them.
You can slice your pickles however you want. We typically do a variety of ways, spears, slices, hamburger slices, and the smaller ones we use whole as little gerkins. Its all up to you, and how you like to eat your pickles. Once you have them sliced you can pack them into the jars. You want to stuff them pretty full, but try not to go past the first line on the jar. Its ok if they stick out a little, just try you best to keep them all stuffed down in there.
After you have your pickles all in the jar and ready you want to get your pickle mix ready. Follow the directions on the back of the package and mix the mix, water, and vinegar together accordingly in your pot, then bring to a boil. ** if you are using the scratch recipe. Do that stuff now instead of the mix**
While you’re waiting on you mix to boil, take 1/2 tsp of Pickle Crisp and put it on the top of each of your jars. If you are doing the scratch recipe add your head of Dill on top now. Don’t worry about getting it down in or anything, just dump it on each one.
Once your mix is boiling, take a dipper and dip out your pickles. It’s REALLY important to make sure that your mix is boiling hot when you put it on your pickles. Fill it up so that it just goes over your cucumbers, or to the first line. You can also use a funnel, to help minimize the mess.
After you’ve got them all filled, take a clean rag and wipe the outer edge in case you got some liquid there, and then put the lid on and seal it as tight as you can. You might want to hold the jar with a rag because its going to be pretty hot to the touch.
Once you have them all sealed, start your boiling water bath!
**If you’re doing a smaller batch you can skip this step and put them in your fridge instead. They will still preserve like regular pickles, but they won’t be shelf stable. In other words, once they go in the fridge, they need to stay there. We typically don’t do this just because we make SO many pickles we don’t have the room. For us its much easier to make them shelf stable with the boiling water bath.
Basically you need enough water to cover the jars. Once its boiling you can set your sealed jars down in it. I definitely don’t recommend you do this with you hands. We have a pair of jar tongs that we use for this. Although you can technically use another pair of tongs, the jar tongs are way safer, and the jar won’t slide out and burn you or anything.
Let them set in the boiling bath for 10 mins. Be careful you don’t let them in there for more than 15 mins max, or your pickles will go soft, which would be unfortunate. Once they’ve been in there for 10 mins, take them out and set them on your table to cool. That’s it! You now have pickles, hooray!!
A couple of things to remember after they’re done…
It’s best to leave them set at least 24 hours before trying to open them and eat them. This will give the jars a chance to seal (you will literally hear them make a “POP” sound. That means they sealed) and it also gives it more of a chance to let the flavor soak in. The longer you let the pickles sit before you open then, the better the flavor will be. Once they’re opened you need to keep them in the fridge so that they won’t spoil.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed this process of pickle making with me today. I hope it encourages you to go and try it yourself, but beware. Once you get a taste for good homemade pickles, you’ll never be able to go back to store bought!