After reading dozens of recipes, looking at recipe reviews, doing research, and testing different recipes, we believe we’ve found the best dill pickle recipe for us. I say “for us” because everyone’s tastes vary, but these yielded the crispest, most flavorful dill cucumber pickles we’ve had. As an additional bonus, they look really good in the jar.
This recipe is based on a recipe called Blue Ribbon Dill Pickles found on food.com, but with a few changes.
Wash and sterilize your jars (the dishwasher usually does a fine job of this).
Put water in your water-bath canner and get it heating up.
Wash dill and cucumers, then pack each jar with:
- Five garlic cloves (or halves of especially large cloves)
- Five black peppercorns
- 2 heads of fresh dill and several pieces of stem and branches with dill weed.
- 1 tsp dill seed
- 1 small mild hot pepper (optional)
- as many pickle cucumbers as will fit (up to the neck of the jar)
Mix the following and bring to a simmer, then allow to cool slightly.
- 8 1/2 cups water
- 2 1/4 cups white vinegar
- 1/2 cup pickling salt
Pour the slightly cooled brine over the contents of the jar, leaving a half-inch of headspace. You’ll need to judge how many batches of brine you’ll need based on how many jars you’re making and how tightly you’re able to pack them. This amount of brine should be able to fill 6 to 7 quarts.
Put lids and rings on the jars, tightening to finger-tight.
Place in the canner, and turn the heat to high. Heat until the the canner just begins to boil. Remove the jars and set out to cool. Once cool, store in a cool, dry place for at least 6 weeks. Longer aging will produce a better flavor.
We tried this recipe both with and without grape leaves (which many recipes call for to help with crispness, since they are a natural source of alum) to see if it would have an impact on crispness. It didn’t, so don’t bother, they were all fantastically crisp.
Good luck, and enjoy your pickles!