Old Fashioned Dill Pickles

Source: Todd and Jordan Champagne, Happy Girl Kitchen

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

These brined dills are made in two stages. The first stage is brining and takes two to three weeks. The second stage includes packing and canning the pickles in jars.

Makes about 5 quarts


First Stage: Brining
10 pounds pickling cucumbers
½ large bunch fresh dill
1 package (1 ¼ ounce) whole mixed pickling spice
5 cloves garlic (optional)
2/3 cup table salt
1 ½ cups cider vinegar
5 quarts water

Second Stage: Packing and Processing
½ bunch fresh dill
⅓ cup table salt (not iodized)
¾ cup cider vinegar
2 ½ quarts soft water
4 packages (1 ¼ ounce size) whole mixed pickling spices
5 cloves garlic (optional)


First Stage

Wash scrub, and drain the cucumbers. Rinse dill and cut off heads, discarding stems. Place half the spices, dill, and garlic (if used) in the bottom of a clean, 5 gallon stone crock or other container listed above. Add cucumbers and remaining dill, spices, and garlic (if used). Mix salt, vinegar and water and pour over cucumbers. Weigh down cucumbers with an inverted dinner plate holding a water-filled glass jar. Or cut a round pine lid to fit inside the crock; nail 2 blocks to the round piece to hold a towel-wrapped brick weight above the brine. Cover and store in a cool dark place.

Check pickles frequently, removing any scum with a paper towel. After 10 days, rinse and taste one pickle; if it isn’t as crisp and flavorful as you’d like, let the pickles ferment longer. Check again daily until you like them (10-20 days maximum).

Second Stage

Rinse dill and cut off heads, discarding the stems. To prepare the pickles, drain off brine from crock, wash pickles in cool running water and drain. Then combine salt, vinegar, and water for the new packing brine; bring to a boil. Have canning jars clean and hot. Fill each jar with pickles; add 1 head dill, ½ teaspoon pickling spice and one clove garlic (if used). Pour in enough fresh, hot brine to cover the pickles. Wipe off jar rim and place on lids and ring bands, screwing them on as tight as you can.

Place the jars of pickles in a canning kettle filled with enough boiling water to cover jar lids by one inch. Process in simmering water and place on a folded towel to cool, away from drafts.

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