There is nothing more satisfying than taking a bite of a crispy dill pickle, especially when the cucumbers came straight from your own garden. Yet, there is nothing more disappointing than biting into a home canned dill pickle, only to bite down into a soft, mushy spear.

crispy dill pickle
Four pounds of pickling cucumbers ready to be made into  crispy dill pickle!

There have been many methods, tips, and tricks that have been passed down over the generations to ‘guarantee’ blue ribbon pickles.  Most of those techniques are no longer (if ever) approved by the USDA – including the use of alum.  However, the most effective way to achieve the desired texture of the familiar store-bought dill pickle is to use Low Temperature Pasteurization.

Most pickle canning recipes require you to process the filled jars in a typical hot water bath for a set amount of time. When using the Low Temperature method, you pack them as you would normally, then place the jars in a half filled canner with warm water (120-140F). Then add hot water, until it reaches an inch above the jars, and heat the canner to 180 degrees F.  Now you can start the timer. Try not to exceed 185 degrees as it defeats the purpose of low temperature pasteurization. This method requires you to watch it a bit more closely than when you are processing in a hot water bath, but it is well worth it!

Crispy Dill Pickle Recipe

*yields approximately 6 pint jars

crispy dill pickle
Cut the cucumbers as desired, or leave them whole.

Ingredients:
4 lbs pickling cucumbers
14 cloves of garlic
6-9 tablespoons of dill seed (or 14 heads of dill)
28 peppercorns
hot pepper flakes to taste
Brine:
3 cups water
3 cups white vinegar (5%)
1/4 cup pickling/canning salt

Instructions:

  1. Make the brine by combining the water, salt and vinegar in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil to dissolve the salt.

    crispy dill pickle
    After adding the the hot brine, release the air bubbles by running a plastic utensil down the inside of your jar.
  2. Place 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of dill seed (2 heads of dill), 4 peppercorns and the red pepper flakes in each jar.
  3. To prepare your cucumbers, cut a little slice off the blossom end. ***This is important for firmness as well, as there is an enzyme in the blossom end that can soften the pickles. Cut them how you like, or leave them whole.
  4. Pack the cucumbers into the jars. Cover with brine, leaving a half-inch head space. Remove air bubbles with a plastic or wooden utensil and adjust head space as needed. *Some people add pickle crisp here – we prefer to keep it all natural.
  5. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and bands, and process for 30 minutes using low temperature pasteurization as described above. Remove them as soon as the 30 minutes have concluded.
  6. After removing the jars from the canner, let them cool 12-24 hours then store for a few weeks before eating them. *Yes, resist the temptation to eat them right away – they need time to become crisp.

Enjoy!

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Mary and Jim

Crisp Dill Pickle Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs pickling cucumbers
  • 14 cloves of garlic
  • 6-9 tablespoons of dill seed or 14 heads of dill
  • 28 peppercorns
  • hot pepper flakes to taste

Brine

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar 5%
  • 1/4 cup pickling/canning salt

Instructions

  1. Make the brine by combining the water, salt and vinegar in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil to dissolve the salt.
  2. Place 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of dill seed (2 heads of dill), 4 peppercorns and the red pepper flakes in each jar.
  3. To prepare your cucumbers, cut a little slice off the blossom end. ***This is important for firmness as well, as there is an enzyme in the blossom end that can soften the pickles. Cut them how you like, or leave them whole.
  4. Pack the cucumbers into the jars. Cover with brine, leaving a half-inch head space. Remove air bubbles with a plastic or wooden utensil and adjust head space as needed. *Some people add pickle crisp here - we prefer to keep it all natural.
  5. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and bands, and process for 30 minutes using low temperature pasteurization as described above. Remove them as soon as the 30 minutes have concluded.
  6. After removing the jars from the canner, let them cool 12-24 hours then store for a few weeks before eating them. *Yes, resist the temptation to eat them right away – they need time to become crisp.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

 

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