This is a fun easy way to preserve those extra cucumbers you have coming out of the garden when you can't eat them fast enough. This receipt is for the tangy dill variety, it takes about 2 hours and produces between 6 and 12 quarts of pickles.
Step 1: Pick Your Cucumbers
Always start with very fresh pickles. Right from the vine is best because if they sit around you will be sacrificing the crispy crunch from your completed pickles. If you do not have the freshest cucumbers to use, it is recommended that you cut them into slices for sandwiches instead of wedges as the crispiness is not as important of a factor.
Step 2: Slice Your Cucumbers
Slice the cucumbers into the variety that you want to make. If you want wedges using a knife on a cutting board and quarter the pickles into wedges. If you want to make sandwich pickles slice the cucumbers short ways into about 1/4 inch thick slices. The ends of the cucumbers contain chemicals that cause the shells to break down causing soggy pickles so it is recommended to slice these off by about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch and discard these parts into a compost pile.
Step 3: Prepare the Brine
To a stock pot that can hold 2.5 gallons add 1 gallon of 5% acid white vinegar and 1 gallon of water. Bring this mixture to a boil. Be careful not to dilute much farther as you need the acidity intact to keep the pickles preserved. If too diluted there is risk of harmful bacteria being present in the finished product.
Step 4: Spice Up the Brine
Add the following to the:
4 tablespoons of mustard seat
3 teaspoons of black pepper
3 tablespoons of all spice
3 tablespoons of pickling salt
2 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of ginger
roughly about 4 handfuls fresh dill (picked fresh from your herb garden if you have one)
Mix the brew and allow to boil for about 10 minutes and the brine should be ready.
Step 5: Prepare the Jars and Stuff
Boil the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to sterilize them before stuffing them with pickles. Once the jars are sterilized you can begin to stuff them with your cucumbers. Start by adding a teaspoon of calcium chloride for crispness. 3 stocks of fresh dill, and enough cucumbers to fill the jar to 1 inch of head space.
Step 6: Brine the Jars
Ladle brine into the jars from the stock pot. Leave 1/2 of head space when adding the brine. Clean the area around the top of the jar of any brine that spilled. Set a new lid on the top of the jar and screw on a band. The band should not be completely tightened, but loose fitting. At this point submerge the jars into a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Pull the jars out and ensure the lids are sealed once cooled. If you can push the lid down it did not properly seal.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Your pickles will be down in about 2 weeks of fermenting in a cool dark place. Again check the lid to insure it does not pop, if it does discard the entire jar. If it is still sealed you can open the jar and enjoy the contents. The jars should last a minimum of 2 years if stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.