Dill Pickles – The Simple Way
There are two ways to make dill pickles – by fermentation or by vinegar brine. These quick dill pickles are made using the brine method which consists of soaking fresh cucumbers in a spicy, vinegar mix. I swear that the most difficult part of the process is waiting a few days before eating them so they have time to soak up the flavor! (It takes extreme willpower but I am sure you are up for the challenge.)
They are so simple to make and absolutely delicious. Perfect for a beginner! You can water bath can them for long-term storage, or you can just pop them in the refrigerator and eat them within one month. Either way, you will find these to be crisp and yummy.
Before you start, watch the 2-minute demo video above on how it’s done. If you want to embed or share the video, we have a YouTube version of the video here: Dill Pickles -The Easy Way.
If you like this one, you should check out all of the mini canning videos in our series. Lots of great stuff here for the beginner or the more advanced canner.
Tricks for Crisp Pickles
There are a few tricks to making a good, crisp pickle (follow the link for tips). Once you have those covered, all you need is a basket of fresh cucs and great recipe.
So, here ya go!
Quick Dill Pickles
For some extra “zing”, nothing beats adding a fresh dill head (the seed umbel) to each jar. It not only looks cool, but also adds just a touch more dilly flavor to the cucumbers. But if you don’t have fresh dill heads, don’t worry – you still get a wonderful flavor with the spices listed.
For this recipe, you need enough pickling cucumbers to fill 4 pint jars when sliced lengthwise. If you have more cucumbers, double the amount of brine you make but do not change the ratio of vinegar-water-salt or you may not be safe. Use pickling salt or kosher salt so that the brine stays clear looking. (Standard, iodized salt has a caking agent that will make the liquid cloudy.)
Makes 4 pint-sized jars
- 2 cups white distilled vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp. pickling salt
You also need:
- Fresh pickling cucumbers
To each jar add:
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dill seed
- ¼ tsp. black peppercorns
- Fresh dill head (optional)
1) Boil clean canning jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them and keep them hot for filling. Heat the canning lids in a small pan of water.
2) In a medium-sized saucepan, combine vinegar, water and pickling salt. Heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the salt.
3) Meanwhile, wash and trim the cucumbers. (See note below about the blossom end) Slice them lengthwise into quarters and set aside.
4) Remove jars from the hot water (draining out excess water) and set on a wooden board. Add the garlic, spices and herbs to each jar.
5) Pack the sliced cucumbers into each of the jars, adding as many as you can fit comfortably.
6) Fill the jars with the hot brine, leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace. Use a long skewer or plastic knife to dislodge any air bubbles that may be stuck in the jar. After releasing the bubbles, you may need to add more brine to reach the proper headspace.
7) Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth. Add your prepared lids and rings to finger tight.
8) Process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes.
9) Remove the lid, turn off the heat and let the jars sit for an additional five minutes. Remove the jars and set them on a wooden board to cool completely. After they are cooled, check the seals. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and eat within one month. Store sealed jars on the pantry shelf for up to one year. Try your best to wait at least 4 days before eating so the pickles have time to absorb the flavors.
10) This recipe can also be made as “refrigerator pickles” – which means you store them in the refrigerator rather than water bath canning them. To do this, you just follow the instructions through step 7 above. Then let the jars cool and transfer them to the refrigerator and eat within one month. If you do not water bath process them, they MUST be refrigerated – even if they happen to seal while cooling. (Only water bath processed jars can be stored without refrigeration.) Try your best to wait at least 4 days for them to absorb the dill flavors before eating.
Note: It is important to trim off the blossom end (the end opposite from the stem end) because it contains enzymes that can soften your pickles in the jar. I like to trim off both ends so that the cucumbers fit nicely into the jar.
For more information about canning safety, be sure to check out my post on water bath vs. pressure canning.