Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Old Fashioned Dill Pickles Canning Recipe

Learn how to make an old fashioned dill pickle recipe.  This is my grandmother's recipe that's been passed down for three generations in my family.  It has a delicious garlic and taste.  Keep your dill pickles crisp by adding a grape leaf to each jar.





Traditional Dill Pickle Recipe


 My grandparents were raising a family and running a farm as soon as WWII was over.  Both lived during the Great Depression, so they were experts at saving money.


Since they lived on a farm and grew a lot of their food, my grandmother canned a lot of food.  This is the best dill pickle recipe that I grew up on and later started making for my family.


When she passed, her recipes got divided among the family.  No one knew where her canning recipes went.  We feared we had lost her famous dill pickles canning recipe.


My mother, a daughter in law who doesn't can, found a copy of the recipe in her cookbook after 10 years of searching.  


For more canning recipes, check out these posts:



Keep track of your favorite canning recipes with my printable canning journal.  





Why Do You Put Grape Leaves in Dill Pickles?


Grape leaves have tannins in them. These tannins are released, and they stop enzymes that break down the skin of the cucumbers.  


Tannins can be bitter (if you've had bitter iced tea, this is likely why.  Learn how to make iced tea that isn't bitter).  However, it doesn't make this old fashioned dill pickle recipe bitter.  


Tannins have a large molecule, and it binds with cellulose and protein.  It binds with the cellulose in the cell walls in the cucumbers to stop them from breaking down (getting soft).  


Besides, my grandma used a grape leaf to make her dill pickles canning recipe, so I use a grape leaf to make mine.


How Do You Make Canned Pickles Crispy?  


Pickles get mushy when you heat them, and you'll have to water bath this traditional dill pickle recipe. Back in my grandmother's day, they used alum for crisp pickles.  However, alum is toxic in high quantities.


Instead, we now use calcium hydroxide (lime).  Pickling lime works similar to tannin in that it pints with the cell walls to keep the cucumber firm.  


If you do use lime, you'll need to soak the cucumber in a lime water solution for 12 to 24 hours and then rinse them really well and soak in water for an hour.  Repeat several times until the lime is gone.  This also takes away some of the flavor of the cucumbers, so it's not ideas.





Here are some tips for getting crisp pickles:


  • Use a variety of cucumber that's made for pickling.  While you can technically use any kind of cucumber to make pickles, a pickling cucumber will give you best results.  Look cucumbers that have pickling or pickle in the name.  
  • Select younger and smaller cucumbers for making the best dill pickle recipe.  They have fewer seeds and are firmer.
  • Plan to make this dill pickles canning recipe the same day you harvest your cucumbers to keep them crunchy.
  • Soak your cucumbers in ice water for best results.  You can also store them in the fridge or in a cooler before canning.  
  • Trim 1/4 of an inch of the blossom end before making the pickles.  This is where the enzymes are that cause cucumbers to get soft.  
  • Add pickle crisp or natural tannins to keep your pickles crisp.  I use grape leaves, but you can also use 1/2 teaspoon of black tea leaves per quart jar or horseradish leaves.


How Do You Process Dill Pickles?


You'll need to process this dill pickle canning recipe best flavor in a water bath canner.  Pressure canning would make the pickles entirely too mushy.


Do Dill Pickles Need To Be Processed in Canning?


In order to safely can the pickles and keep them shelf stable, you do need to process them in a water bath.  This kills mold, bacteria, and yeast.  It also inactivates the enzymes that can alter the color, texture, and flavor of the pickles.


Canning jars can seal from high heat, but this is a false seal.  Learn more about false seals in canning.  Water bathing is also necessary to avoid these canning mistakes that can kill you.


If you don't want to can pickles, then try these no cook refrigerator pickles.


How Long Do You Process Pickles in a Water Bath?


Process pints of this old fashioned dill pickle recipe for 10 minutes and quarts for 15 minutes.  


For high altitude, at 1001 to 6000 feet adjust to 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.  Above 6000 feet, process for 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.  





Do You Fully Submerge Jars When Canning?


Yes, you should cover the jars with at least 1 inch of water.  Add boiling water to the hot water in the canner to ensure that the jars are covered.


Do You Need to Sterilize Jars for Making Pickles?  


No, you actually don't have to sanitize jars before canning these pickles.  You can learn more about how to sterilize canning jars and why you don't have to.  


That said, I wash the jars and place them right side up on the rack in a water bath canner.  


Then fill the jars and the canner with hot (but not boiling) water to 1 inch above the top of the jars.  Boil for 10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts.


Then use a jar lifter to empty the water from the jar into the water bath canner.  Then fill the jars and place them back in the canner to process.


Best Dill Pickle Recipe Ingredients


You will need the following to make an old fashioned dill pickle recipe.  This makes a brine for two quarts worth of pickles.  You then add the spices to each jar.  So to make 4 quarts, double the brine ingredients.  


To make pints, use half as much of the spices per pint jar.


  • 8 cups of cucumber slices or spears 
  • 4 heads and stems of fresh dill or 4 teaspoons of dill weed per quart
  • 1 teaspoon ground horseradish (optional, I omit this) per quart
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed per quart
  • 1 large onion slice per quart
  • 1 clove garlic per quart
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1 grape leaf per jar





How Do You Can Pickles for Beginners?


Step #1


Wash and sanitize your jars and rings.  Wash the lids and place them in a pan of hot water but do not boil.


Step #2


Make the brine by bringing 5 cups of water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1/3 cup salt to a boil in a large sauce pan.


Step #3


Wash and dry a grape leaf.  Place in the bottom of a jar.  Cut the cucumbers into slices or spears and pack into the jars.  


Step #4


Then add your spices to each jar.  The amounts noted above are per quart, so cut in half for pints.


Step #5


When the brine is boiling, ladle it into the jars.  Leave a 1/2 inch head space.


Step #6


Use a jar lifter to place the jars in the hot water in the canner.  Process for 10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts.  


For high altitude, at 1001 to 6000 feet adjust to 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.  Above 6000 feet, process for 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.  


Step #7


When time is up, turn off the heat and remove the lid from the canner.  Let the water and jars cool for a few minutes.  Then carefully remove them with a jar lifter and place them on a towel or heat proof surface until cool.


Resist the urge to test the seal for 24 hours or until the jars are cool.


Let sit for a month before eating for the best dill pickle recipe you've ever had!


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