This is a crispy pickle, full of true dill flavor, thanks to both the dill seed and the flowering dill weed. I always like the way a dill spear looks on a plate next to a sandwich, or on an old-fashioned relish platter with olives, carrot sticks, fresh cherry tomatoes and marinated mushrooms.
They can be eaten after a 24 hour waiting period, but will continue to become more flavorful with time. Good for up to a year - or more - on the shelf. After a year in the jar they still crunch when you bite into them!
Makes approx. 6 quarts
You can use pints or quarts for this recipe. Just consider the length of the cucumber spears when deciding on the jars you plan to use.
- 5 pounds large pickling cucumbers, gently scrubbed clean
- 1/2 cup "canning & pickling" salt
- 4 cups ice cubes
- 12 peeled garlic cloves, peeled / optional to use more or less as desired
- 6 clusters fresh flowering dill heads
- 6 hot peppers / optional to use more or less as desired
- 4 cups distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 TBS sugar
- 2 TBS dill seed
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seed
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
Note: Prepare canning jars before starting your preserving project.
1.) Trim both ends* off each cucumber, then cut each cucumber into spears by slicing in half lengthwise, then slicing each half in half again. Layer the cucumber spears with the salt in a large bowl then cover with a layer of ice cubes, and set aside for 2 HOURS.
2.) While waiting, prepare jars, then into each wide-mouth pint or quart jar, put one (or more) hot peppers, plus one cluster of fresh dill, and 2 (or more) garlic cloves.
3.) Drain, rinse and pack cucumber spears into jars as neatly as possible. You want to fill up every nook & cranny of the jar with cucumbers of you won't have enough brine.
4.) In a pan, make your brine by combining vinegar, water, sugar, dill seed, mustard seed, celery seed and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, and then pour over cucumbers, leaving ½” head space.
5.) Release any trapped air bubbles by running a plastic knife or other thin non-metallic tool around the inside of the jar.
6.) Wipe jar rims spotlessly clean. Place a lid on the jar, screw on bands finger-tight, then process in a Boiling Water Bath for 10 minutes, being sure jars are covered by at least one inch of boiling water at all times.
7.) Remove jars and aside to cool undisturbed for 24 hours. Check seal, and it it's concave, store in a cool dark place for one year. If seals didn't take (or if they pop back up when you press down on them) just stick the jar in the fridge. The vinegar will keep them preserved as long as you keep them cold.
*It is important to trim off the blossom end, as it contains enzymes that can make pickles undesirably soft.