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Easy Dill Pickles

12-16 small pickling cukes

8 cups water

1/4 cup pickling salt

2 cups white vinegar

2 cups water

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp pickling salt

2 tbsp dried dill seed or 4 large fresh heads

2 tso whole mixed pickling spice

4 whole cloves garlic (optional)

Cut a thin slice from both ends of each cuke and discard. Slice each cuke lengthwise into quarters. Combine 8 cups water and 1/4 cup salt, stirring to dissolve salt. Pour over cukes and let stand one hour. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Drain.

Combine vinegar, 2 cups water,sugar and 2 tbsp salt in a large stainless or enamel saucepan and bring to a boil.

Remove hot jars from canner and divide dill and pickling spice (and garlic if using) equally into each of the 4 pint jars and really pack in spears tightly. I find putting the jars on their sides permits better and neater packing. Pour hot liquid over spears to cover, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace to 1/2". Put on hot lids and bands and process 10 minutes from the reboil. Remove and let cool 24 hours undisturbed. Ideally, let age in jars at least two weeks before opening. Chill before opening. The longer you let these age, the better they are. Really rinse well in the first step. I didn't rinse well enough and my first batch is waaaay too salty. Makes 4 pints.

Elaine