Canning is one of my favorite activities in the summer. I’ve been making pickles each summer for a few years now. They make great gifts during Christmas time and have superior flavor to most pickles you purchase in the store. Once I learned the ice bath method for making crunchy pickles I’ve never gone back, so even though it is time consuming it is what makes these pickles so good.
8 pounds pickling cucumbers, washed and picked over
4 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling salt
30 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved (you may choose to reduce the amount of flavor if you want a more subtle taste)
16 spring of fresh dill
8 heads of fresh dill
Yields 8 quarts
1. In a big bucket, clean sink, or whatever other container you have, toss the cucumbers with a bag of ice and a few cups of water. Let them soak for about 4 hours. If the ice seems to be melting quickly, replenish as needed.
2. Sterilize 8 quart jars in boiling water for 10 minutes, or have them ready to go in the dishwasher (ran on sterilize cycle, timed so that the jars are hot when you need them). Place lids in a bowl of boiling water and set aside.
3. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and salt. Bring the brine to a full rolling boil.
4. Place a few chunks of garlic and a head of dill into each of the hot jars. Pack in the cucumbers just until the jar is filled. Add a few more garlic chunks, two springs of dill, and fill the jar with the brine. It is very important that the cucumbers are completely submerged in the brine!
5. Wipe the rims of the jar with a damp cloth, place lids on and screw rings on tightly.
6. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and set on a towel in a draft-free area and leave untouched for 24 hours. Check for proper sealing, refrigerate and eat any unsealed jars.
7. These pickles should be stored in a cool, dry place for at least two months before eating for maximum flavor.