Canning Dill Pickles – Grandma Ella’s Recipe

September 13, 2008

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.
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