I have tried many times over the years to can pickles …. and they never turned out well. Sometimes too salty, most of the time limp with no crunch. I would say that I had officially given up and resorted to store bought. Everyone has their favorite brand and I was no different. But Randy promised if we made this recipe from North Dakota that they would be crisp and flavorful. So, we reached out to his cousin Judi Schultz to get the family secret recipe. Last year was our first year of making these and began, what we now know to be, a long tradition of a family pickle party! Everyone brings their own ingredients as well as jars. We even experimented with adding jalapeno or banana peppers, onions and carrot sticks. This recipe doesn’t require a water bath to process them, which made me a bit nervous. It took a couple of days for all the jars to seal, but I have to tell you these pickles are better than any store bought I’ve come across. So here is the basic recipe for the brine. You will have to decide how many quart jars you will need, which depends on the size of the cucumbers you use as well as how many jars you want to can.
- Quart jars – sterilized in hot water. Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the water to ensure no water spots. Place lids and rings in hot water and let them stay hot until you are ready to seal the jars
- Cucumbers – washed well
- White onions – sliced into rings
- Garlic – skin removed
- Fresh Dill heads
- Fresh Jalapenos – sliced lengthwise (leave the seeds if you like a lot of spice, remove them to tame it a bit)
- Pickling salt
- Spring Water
- White vinegar
- Pickling spices
- Carrots-peeled and sliced lengthwise (optional)
- When you are ready to begin, remove the jars from the hot water.
- Begin packing the jars. Place a dill head on the bottom, then a couple of onion rings, a garlic clove, 1/4 tsp pickling spice, and one or two sliced jalapenos in each jar. Add one or two sliced carrots if desired.
Prepare the brine (this recipe makes enough for 9-11 quart packed jars:
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 18 cups Spring Water
- 1 cup pickling salt
Directions: Bring the brine to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the salt. When it comes to a boil, pour brine over the packed jars enough so it completely covers the cucumbers, leaving about 1-inch head room. Top with another dill head spear. Place hot lid and ring on each jar and tighten. Place each jar on a solid surface and cover with a towel. The jars WILL seal – just be patient. Some of mine took 3 days to seal, but they do seal and then you can transfer them to your favorite storage cupboard. The jars now need to set and pickle away for about 2-3 weeks before you open one.
This is a very easy recipe and the results are better than any pickle I’ve tried. Thanks Judi for making me a believer once again in canning my own pickles! By the way … this years pickle party included Judi of course, her brother Kim and wife Carolyn, and their daughter Emily and boyfriend Don. We all had our roles in this process and kept busy packing and pouring. When we were done we enjoyed some appetizers and then a wonderful ham dinner. It was a great day and something we sincerely look forward to each year. In total we ended up with 70 quarts of pickles which we shared amongst us.