The Beginner's Guide to Canning: Converting the Pickle Haters With The Easiest Pickle Recipe Ever
Are You Currently a Pickle Hater?
I Used to HATE Pickles...
I've hated pickles since as long as I can remember. They were the bane of my existence. If someone put pickles on my sandwich at Chick-Fil-A, I would be the one to return the sandwich because it tasted like pickle juice...yeah, THAT bad.
Last spring, I decided to experiment with growing my own vegetables on my patio, though. I wanted to know what vegetables that were traditionally grown in the ground that I could try to grow for myself and save a little bit of money. I went with the usual stuff that people grow in pots, of course trying to remain vigilant about picking stuff that would not be dangerous to my cats if they tried to eat the plants. I grew tomatoes, parsley, basil, kale, and cat grass (to keep my cats out of the other plants!) And my BIG project that I wanted to see if it would really work was Cucumbers.
I planted the seeds in the beginning of March. They started sprouting in April, and once I moved into my new apartment at the end of April I trans-planted the seedlings into a bigger pot. About a month later, my plant was growing - and fast. I wasn't sure If I would get any cucumbers if the plant didn't have enough room to grow bigger, so I trans-planted it again in June to a huge metal tub from Home Depot (I think it's like 20 gallons!). After that, this plant exploded. I basically had cucumber vines growing out of my ears! In order to keep the plant hydrated, I had to give it 3 gallons of water per day (and 4-5 in the middle of July when it was really hot outside). It took up an entire half of my balcony and was hanging off the side of the railing, too! Just when I thought it was going to be a waste of my time because I wasn't getting any cucumbers, they started showing up faster than I could pick them off the vine.
For a while I was pretty good about eating the cucumbers and finding dishes to put them in before they went bad. But at some point the beginning of August, I managed to harvest about 16 cucumbers at the same time. There was NO way I was going to be able to eat all of those without being sick of cucumbers. I was browsing Facebook one day, and my cousin Jasmine had posted pictures of her adventures teaching her son how to can vegetables. I have never canned anything before in my life, but it suddenly hit me that I could can the cucumbers and make them into pickles.
I had Jasmine send me her pickle recipes, and I experimented from there with my first batch of pickles. I did a recipe that ended up being a combination of two that she gave me. I knew that if I didn't eat these pickles, I could bring them to work and someone else would, so that's why I decided to do this. After the pickles were done curing, I had to try one to make sure I wasn't giving jars of pickles that sucked to my coworkers. To my surprise, I really liked them and couldn't stop eating them! Everyone who tried them loved them, too.
The only real critique I got was that I should use fresh dill instead of dried dill - because dried dill is more of a seasoning then a pickle ingredient, and it made eating the pickles kind of messy - whereas fresh dill is still on the sprig so it doesn't get all over the place, while you still get that dill flavor.
I did a second batch a few weeks later with the fresh dill and my next harvest of cucumbers, and the pickles turned out excellent. They were gone within the week! Now, I've perfected my dill pickle recipe to be as simple as possible and it is a proven Pickle-Hater Conversion recipe. Try it out and tell me what you think!
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Easy Dill Pickles for Beginning Canners and Pickle Haters
Prep/Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cure Time: 24 hours
Makes: 4 one pint jars
You Will Need....
white granulated sugar
non-iodized pickling salt or sea salt (do NOT use iodized table salt!)
cloves of garlic
fresh dill sprigs
You Will Also Need:
- 4 glass wide-mouth mason jars with lids(I used Ball brand, you can find them in every grocery store!)
- A really big stock pot (for sanitizing jars and "curing" the pickles after canning to help them cook)
- A regular sized saucepan
- A whisk
- Metal Tongs
- A dishtowel
Step 1: Sanitize Your Jars
Take the lids and seals off of each jar. Fill your stock pot about 3/4's of the way with water. Put your jars, lids and seals in the water and place the stock pot on the stove. Set the burner for medium heat. Let the jars warm up until you are ready to start canning.
Step 2: Prepare Your Pickling Solution
In the regular saucepan, combine the 2 cups water, 2 cups white vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons non iodized sea salt or canning salt. Use the whisk to mix the solution together until all of the sugar and salt is dissolved. Place the saucepan on the burner and heat to boiling.
Step 3: While the Solution is Boiling, Prepare Your Vegetables
While the solution is boiling and the jars are sanitizing, Prepare your cucumbers, dill and garlic for the canning process. Cut your cucumbers into spears or slices (or both!). Cut as many sprigs of dill as you would like and set them each in their own little pile for easier reach when canning. I personally love dill, so I do 5 or 6 sprigs per jar. A normal person probably might put 2 or 3, though. :)
Peel your garlic and place the cloves with the dill piles. I usually put 2 cloves of garlic in each can, but if you don't want as much garlic flavor you can do 1 clove. To give you an idea, though, 2 cloves of garlic definitely will not overpower your pickles and make them taste like like a straight up garlic bulb.
Step 4: Prepare, Fill, and Seal the Cans
Once your ingredients are chopped up and ready to go, use the tongs to pull the first warm jar out of the stock pot. Place the jar on the dishtowel, being careful not to burn yourself. Take the lid and seal out of the pot as well, and place next to the jar.
Toss your garlic cloves into the jar as well as your dill sprigs, then start filling with your cucumbers. I will usually press the dill sprigs up against the side of the jar so that the dill flavor distributes well among the cucumbers. While filling your jars, be careful to not get anything around the edge of the jar where the seal goes, because you want to have a tight, sanitized seal and something on the edge might prevent you from achieving that.
Pour enough of the warm solution into the jar to reach the top of it and cover the cucumbers. I usually find that a little under one cup of the solution is plenty to fill the space in the jar. Wipe off the edges of the jar to make sure there is no residue, wet spots, dill, etc anywhere around the rim. Place the seal on top of the rim, and then place the lid over the seal and screw in tightly. Using the tongs, place the finished jar back into the stock pot. Take out your next jar and repeat the process.
It's okay to take your time when doing this, but don't move too slowly because you don't want your jar to cool down too much in between you filling it with cucumbers and then filling it with the brine. Again, be careful not to burn yourself during this process, either, make sure to use tongs to remove the empty jar from the stockpot and to put the full jar back in the stockpot.
Step 5: Let the Cucumbers Cure.
Each jar should sit in the warm water in the stock pot for about 20 minutes. You will see the cucumbers start to turn from bright green to pickle green. The water in the stock pot is helping to cook the cucumbers all the way through, so that you don't have some sort of hybrid wierdo cucumber/pickle thing.
After about 20 minutes, take the jars out of the stock pot and set them on the dishtowel. Leave the cucumbers to cure overnight and cool off completely. The next day, you will have a delicious pickle. The pickles are good for storing about 3 months to 8 months, but if yours turn out like mine did, they'll be gone within a week!
About The Author
Victoria is a 23 year old obsessive DIYer, living in the beautiful city of Charlotte, North Carolina with her two cat babies, Oliver and Zeus. She loves the outdoors, writing, and swimming. Two Years ago she started an addiction by taking a Scuba diving class through Scuba Schools International, and now she can't get enough of it and has obtained her advanced certification, with more classes to follow. She is also am very interested in home décor and love to experiment with color. Another huge area of interest is gluten free cooking.