Crispy, Crunchy Dill Pickles (no additives needed!)

There is nothing more disheartening for the pickling enthusiast than a soft, sad pickle.

I’ve been there. It kept me from attempting pickles again for a few years. Completely avoided even growing cucumbers at all for fear that someone might ask, “Oooh, are you going to make pickles with those?”

Why? Do I look like I like pickles? Who likes pickles anyhow?

Well gosh darn it, I love pickles.

And so the quest for the perfectly crunchy dill pickle was on. There are lots of different ideas out there for how to keep that crisp in your cucumber- from store-bought additives to pickling lime to oak leaves. But the method I’ve used for the last few years does not require anything extra- and yields perfect pickle results every time.

Yellow Birch Hobby Farm- Crispy Crunchy Dill Pickles

What You Will Need:

  • 5 pounds pickling cucumbers
  • 27 cloves peeled garlic
  • 9 sprigs fresh dill
  • 2 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 9 pint size canning jars w/lids & bands
  • water bath canner

Directions:

Before we even begin, let me tell you the absolute most important part of this entire recipe:

you must must MUST (yes, this is my urgent voice) chill your cucumbers prior to pickling them.

For, like, 12 hours. Don’t even think of skipping this step if you want crispy dills. Scrub them good, place them in a bowl, cover with a towel and refrigerate. I like to pick cucumbers in the afternoon/evening and let them sit in the fridge overnight for canning the next morning.

They literally must be cool as a cucumber.

yellow birch hobby farm- cucumbers

Let’s pretend that these cucumbers are clean…apparently I only like to photograph dirty vegetables. Insert awkward face (here).

You are now ready to get prepped for canning! {Keep those cucumbers chilling in the refrigerator until the time comes for putting them into jars}.

First, get your water bath canner rolling. You want to make sure that your water is boiling as soon as you are done packing your jars, so I fire up the canner before anything else.

Next, combine the water, vinegar, and pickling salt in a medium stock pot and bring to the boiling point, when you will turn it down to low heat for a gentle near-simmer.

Gather your jars, wash with hot soapy water, rinse well and set aside.

yellow birch hobby farm- crispy, crunchy dill pickles

Place 3 cloves of peeled garlic into each jar.

yellow birch hobby farm- crispy, crunchy dill pickles

Then add a sprig of fresh dill.

yellow birch hobby farm- crispy, crunchy dill pickles

Finally, sprinkle in 1/8- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper to each. If you like your pickles spicy, go for the larger measurement.

yellow birch hobby farm- crispy, crunchy dill pickles

Now comes time to add your cucumbers.

Before you do so, here’s another very important tip for achieving crunchy crispy dills:

be sure to remove a 1/16- inch slice from the blossom end of your cucumber as it can contain a pickle-softening enzyme which clearly goes against what we’re trying to achieve here.

The blossom end is opposite that of the stem end (from which your cucumber hangs from on the vine).

Smaller cucumbers (slightly bigger than or equal to the size of your thumb) can be canned whole. The others can be cut into sandwich slices, hamburger slices, spears, chunks, etc.

Pack them tightly into your jars, leaving 1- inch headspace.

Cover with the vinegar/water/salt brine, again leaving 1-inch headspace.

Secure lids and bands. Place jars into the raised rack of your water bath canner. Lower, cover, and immediately set your timer for 5 minutes. Remove promptly to wire racks or a few layers of towels.

Allow at least one month to complete the pickling process before digging into your first jar.

A few things to note:

  • This recipe is designed for pint jars only, not quarts.
  • Jars should be room temperature prior to packing the cucumbers. But Erin, won’t my jars break once they hit that boiling water? Truth is, they might. I’ve had one break out of 60 so far this season…so yes, it can happen. But I’ve found that the hot brine quickly warms up that jar just enough to avoid this…and trust me, it’s worth the risk.
  • Use only fresh cucumbers, chilled for 12 hours. Cucumbers that have been in the refrigerator for a few days may become soft and rubbery- not ideal candidates for perfectly crispy pickles.
  • Do not process any longer than 5 minutes to avoid softening.

Most importantly, enjoy!

Crispy, Crunchy Dill Pickles (no additives needed!)
Author: 
Recipe type: Canning
 

Perfectly crispy, crunchy dill pickles without any special additives.
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds pickling cucumbers
  • 27 cloves peeled garlic
  • 9 sprigs fresh dill
  • 2¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • 9 pint size canning jars w/lids & bands
  • water bath canner

Instructions
  1. Heat up your water bath canner on the stove.
  2. Combine the water, vinegar, and pickling salt in a medium stock pot and bring to the boiling point; turn it down to low heat for a gentle near-simmer.
  3. Gather your jars, wash with hot soapy water, rinse well and set aside.
  4. Into each jar add: 3 cloves peeled garlic, 1 sprig fresh dill, and ⅛- 1/4 crushed red pepper.
  5. Take your cucumbers out of the refrigerator and remove at 1/16-inch slice from the blossom end of each to prevent softening. Smaller cucumbers can be canned whole; others can be cut into slices, spears, chunks, etc.
  6. Pack tightly into jars, leaving 1″ headspace.
  7. Cover with water/vinegar/salt brine, leaving 1″ headspace.
  8. Secure lids & bands, place into raised rack of canner, and then lower into the boiling water and cover. Immediately set your timer for 5 minutes.
  9. After 5 minutes, remove promptly to cool on wire racks or layers of towels. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.

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Shared at:

The Art of Homemaking Mondays #69

About yellowbirchhobbyfarm

Hi! I'm Erin, a 19th-century homesteader at heart. Here at Yellow Birch Hobby Farm we practice self-sustainable living by way of organic gardening, canning & preserving, raising a variety of livestock, hunting, foraging, and cooking from scratch. And here at our blog, we share it all with you! So glad you've found us.

9 comments on “Crispy, Crunchy Dill Pickles (no additives needed!)

  1. Excellent tips! I also found the cutting off the blossom end helped but have never tried to chill the cukes first. Thank you for sharing this helpful tutorial on the Art of Home-Making Mondays πŸ™‚

  2. Hello,

    My name is Melissa and I made 9 pints of these wonderful sounding pickles on Tuesday. I followed your recipe exactly, as it was my first time making dills. The jars all sealed and have been on my kitchen counter. I went to label them today and move them to the basement, when I noticed in a couple of the jars, my garlic cloves turned this weird green-blue color! Is this common/normal? Thanks!

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