Canning Dill Pickles – Grandma Ella’s Recipe

September 13, 2008 · Print This Article

Canning Dill pickles, using my Grandma Ella’s recipe, was just one of the many items I canned during the summer months, many years ago. I don’t do much canning anymore… due to time and expense.
However, it’s September, the canning feeling is in the air and I was at Farmer Grant’s produce stand day- before-yesterday… and a peck of cucumbers spoke to me.

In fact, before I knew it… the peck of cucumbers and two bags of fresh dill were in my car before I even had time to think about it. “What the…. I don’t have time for this and there is not one earthly nutritional benefit for having dill pickles in my food storage,” I said to myself.

Then I said, “I want to do this… just for me… for fun.” I never thought I would ever say that canning would be fun after “putting up” hundreds of bushels of produce in the past. But, at this moment in time… it’s fun.

So here we go. I want to share with you, my Grandma Ella’s Homemade Dill Pickle recipe. Mmmmm… they’re so good!

Here’s what you need:
A. 1 peck of cucumbers. Now I never buy the ones the farmer says are “Dills.” I go the next size smaller. They fit better in the bottle and are “cruncher.”

B. 1 gal. of white vinegar.

C. Fresh dill. You need a dill head for each bottle which should include stems and pieces. (this recipe will do between 12 and 14 quarts.)

D. Alum (that’s for the pucker.)

E. Salt ( don’t use iodized salt, it will cause the solution to become cloudy.)

F. 1 garlic bud or clove for each bottle.

G. One grape leaf for each bottle. (They say it keeps the pickles crisp. I don’t know if that’s true but Grandma Ella did it… so who am I to argue with success.) I raid my neighbors grape leaves, since I don’t grow grapes.

H. You will need clean wide mouth jars, rims and lids. (12 -14)

Make your vinegar solution: 1 Qt. Vinegar.  3 Qt’s water.  1 C Salt.  (This recipe is solution for 6 or 7 quarts.

In each jar, place a grape leave in the bottom.  Add one peeled garlic clove, 1 pinch of alum (that’s what grandma said.) but it equates to about 1/8 tes. of alum.  At least one dill flower head and a bunch of stems and pieces.  It looks like weeds in there but it’s okay.   (This is a lousy photo… but you get the drift.)

Now, put the cucumbers in the jar.  With these smaller cukes…I can get about 5 or 6 in a jar… just force them in there tight.

I place my bottles on top of my canner bottom and let the steam rise up around them. Or, you can just place the jars in a large frying pan with boiling water and let the steam come up around them.  My lids and rims are in a little pan of water… boiling away… and my solution is boiling too. Everything needs to be hot!

Fill one hot jar with the solution.

Take from the boiling water, one lid and rim.

Place it on the filled jar.  Tighten the hot jar rim and set your bottle aside.

Repeat the process until you have all the jars filled.

It’s important for you keep everything hot… cause we’re not going to process these bottles.  Nope.. No way.. makes the cucumbers soft… and Grandma Ella didn’t do it… and it works… and we’re not dead from any little micro bug.  Besides… with all that vinegar and salt… anything bacteria that would have been alive is now… long gone.

There you have it….Homemade Dill Pickles.  It’s not hard and they’re so good… BUT…HERE’S THE DEAL… you can’t open a jar until THANKSGIVING.  Nope… keep your mitts off until Thanksgiving day. I know it’s tempting.   Another reason to celebrate Turkey Day!

It takes that long for the pickles to cure in the brine… but it’s well worth the wait.

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  I wonder what else is going to end up in my car… so I can do a bit of canning… just for fun.

P.P.S. If you want a printable recipe for your files, fill in the box below so I can send you the link.
Besides… once you sign in… You’ll be on my freebie list and I’ll be sending you all kinds of fun things… especially for the holidays. You won’t have to sign in again.


18 Responses to “Canning Dill Pickles – Grandma Ella’s Recipe”

  1. Sheila AtwoodNo Gravatar on August 9th, 2010 8:05 pm

    The grape leaves are suppose to help keep the pickles crisp. It is also important to make sure the yellow flower end is removed to keep your pickles crisp.

    Some body gave me home made jar of Dill Pickles for Christmas last year. Yummm…what a great gift.

  2. MelissaNo Gravatar on September 26th, 2010 8:00 am

    I just made these and I am in love! Thank you so much for sharing. I did not have any grape leaves, and I didn’t remove the blossom ends (just scrubbed really hard, didn’t cut off), so by Thanksgiving they may be a little soggy, but I’m OK with that :).
    I also ran out of jars, so I had to make some into spears which will have to be eaten soon; I’m thinking they’ll be gone by dinner time.
    Next year I will start much earlier so I get better cukes and can forage for some grape leaves.
    Thanks again!

  3. RobinsonNo Gravatar on July 12th, 2011 1:32 pm

    Alum is not really recommended for canning anymore. I make a point to by my baking powder without it. Using a four hour ice bath and removal of the blossom end is the recommended method now.

  4. StephNo Gravatar on August 11th, 2011 11:42 am

    I have never not processed pickles so I am intruiged by your recipe. How do you seal the lids? And how long do they keep in the jars?

  5. JenniferNo Gravatar on August 14th, 2011 4:12 pm

    HI! Just made your pickles! They smell delicious! How long should it take for the jar lids to pop? I’m not sure they are truly sealed! Let me know! Thanks!

  6. KathrynNo Gravatar on August 18th, 2011 1:39 pm

    I keep the lids and rims boiling while I pour the hot solution on the cukes. I immediately apply the hot lid and rim to the jar…. and they seal. I don’t process them in a hot water bath because it has a tendency to soften the pickles. For some reason, the jars just seal when they cool down. I’ve never worried about spoilage because of the vinegar in the jars. In the old days, pickles were just left in a pottery crock without any sealing and processing and they kept just find. You could go into a general store and the store keeper would lift the lid of the crock and sell you a pickle. No processing what so ever.

    However, if you feel a bit nervous about it… you could process them for about 10 min. in a hot water bath just to assure they would seal…. but no more than that.

  7. KathrynNo Gravatar on August 18th, 2011 1:44 pm

    Steph just ask me the same question. The jars should seal as soon as they cool. If they don’t you should be okay because they have so much vinegar and salt in them. At our house it’s a tradition to open the first jar at Thanksgiving.

  8. Lisa VitaleNo Gravatar on August 25th, 2011 10:31 am

    Trying this for the first time and wasn’t sure if doing things this way the jarred pickles need to be refrigerated until eaten or can they be stored in the cabinet?

    Thank you,

  9. KathrynNo Gravatar on August 25th, 2011 12:14 pm

    Yes, as long as the lid seals, they can be stored on the shelf. Once I have opened a bottle, I place them in the fridge.

  10. EmilyNo Gravatar on September 4th, 2011 4:43 pm

    Do you know how many pounds are in a peck? Or how many pint/quart jars this recipe makes? I know a peck will be way too much for me, since I’m the only one in the house who will eat these. I’m not sure how to reduce the recipe. Thanks!

  11. BonnieNo Gravatar on October 23rd, 2011 1:03 am

    I made a version similar to this with my husband’s family this past August, we didn’t process the jars. Sometimes when I check them on the shelf, the lids are sucked all the way down, other times I can pop the top with my finger. Are these safe?

  12. TeresaNo Gravatar on June 10th, 2012 5:24 pm

    Looking forward to making the dill pickles!!!!

  13. NoelleNo Gravatar on June 13th, 2012 2:22 am

    What if i do these now in June, still wait till November to eat them?

  14. KathrynNo Gravatar on June 17th, 2012 12:49 pm

    Wow.. Pickles in June. I usually do Pickles in September so November is just right. I would say they need three months to “Be just right”… so they should be good by September.

  15. KathrynNo Gravatar on June 17th, 2012 12:50 pm

    I looking forward to doing dills and sweets this year. My “grands” keep asking.. “Are you going to do pickles this year.” They love them too.

  16. ChrisNo Gravatar on June 24th, 2012 8:24 am

    I’ve had this bookmarked since last year and my cucumbers are ready so I’m about to do a batch. If some of my cukes are too big to jar (missed them on the vine), and I cut them into wedges, how long should I wait to open them and eat them? I’m assuming a few weeks would be okay?

  17. Tami LNo Gravatar on August 26th, 2012 6:30 am

    I just want to say that i found this recipe last year while googling dill recipes. I am very new to canning and this was my very first attemp at making dill pickles. I made these and got SO MANY compliments!!!!!! everyone said these were the BESt pickles they have ever had. I have a lot of people wanting me to make them again this year so THANK you! Love from Michigan 🙂

  18. VanessaNo Gravatar on July 10th, 2013 5:30 am

    Can you used dried dill instead of flowering? What would the amount be for each jar?

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