Introduction: Grandma's Homemade Dill Pickles

I started making pickles homemade, because my kids have an allergy to all food dye.  If you have ever read the labels of store boughten pickles then you know that they all have dye in them.  Clausen pickles are the only ones that I have found that do not, but they are so expensive.  It was tragic for my kids because they absolutely LOVE pickles.  So we came up with an all natural solution that made everyone happy.

Step 1: Getting Started.

This recipe will yield approximately 8 to 10 quarts.

First, you need to gather your ingredients, jars, lids, Boiling-Water canning pot, and any other canning tools that you may need.

To prepare your jars: 
Wash your jars and rings in HOT soapy water.  Then dry them and set them off to the side.  Put your lids in a small sauce pan and slowly bring them to a gentle boil.  Let them continually boil gently until you are ready to use them. 

Gathering ingredients: 
3 quarts of Water
1 quart of Vinegar
3 teaspoons of Alum
3/4 cup pickling/canning salt
Fresh Dill
Fresh Garlic

Then, fill your boiling-water canning pot about 2/3 of the way full and start water coming to a boil.

Step 2: Preparing to Pickle.

Rinse your cucumbers and set them aside.

Preparing jars for pickling:
De-skin your cloves of garlic.  Place 3 heads of fresh Dill into bottom of jars (I cut the dill so that there is about 5 inches of stem with the head of dill).  Then place one large clove or 2 small-medium cloves of garlic in bottom of jar.  Next, fill your jars with your cucumbers.  I use pickling cucumbers fresh from my garden.  (In my opinion:  If making whole pickles, the best size for taste and crispiness is 3 to 4 inches.  If spearing your pickles, then I would use ones that are 4 to 5 inches in length and quarter them.)  Make sure to pack your jars tight with your cucumbers.  Add one medium clove of garlic to the top of the cucumbers.  Then put two more heads of fresh dill on the top.

Making your brine:
Take your 3 quarts of water, 1 quart of vinegar, 3 teaspoons alum and 3/4 cup pickling/canning salt and combine them into a 6 qt or larger pot.  Bring this mixture to a boil.  While this is coming to a boil you can start preparing your other ingredients into the jars.

Now your are ready to add the boiling hot brine to your jars.  Fill with brine until cucumbers and dill are covered.  Make sure you leave about 1/2 inch head space.

Step 3: The Final Steps.

Take a clean dry towel and wipe off rims of jars.  Make sure they are wiped clean and dry.  Then take your lids that have been boiling gently and place carefully on jars and screw on rings as tight as you can make them.  Place jars in boiling-water canning pot and put lid on pot.  Process pickles for 10 minutes (make sure water is boiling for the whole 10 minutes and water covers jars by 1 to 2 inches over lids).  Carefully remove hot jars and place on a clean dry towel. Wipe off lids of jars with another clean dry towel, then leave sit on counter for 24 hours.  This gives them time to seal and cool. 

Step 4: The Last Stage.

Let pickles sit for at least two weeks to let the cucumbers absorb the brine in for a good flavoring.  Mine barely make it two weeks and my kids are wanting to tear into them.  I hope you enjoy them as much as my kids and family do.

**If Pickles do not seal, just put them in refrigerator for the two weeks and then enjoy.**

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