This was the first recipe for dill pickles I ever made, and it's still a favourite. I like the technique it uses of making the pickles right in the canning jars, rather than in a crock. I've since adapted the method to any fermented pickles that I make. This makes one quart of pickles; you simply multiply the brine for the number of quarts of cucumbers that you have. I also use this brine to make pickled mixed green beans, wax beans and carrots cut in pieces the same general size and shape as the beans.
- Using a soft vegetable brush, thoroughly scrub the cucumbers in cool running water. Cut 1/16 inch off the blossom end. Discard any cucumbers that are bruised or damaged.
- Put however many quart canning jars that you need into a canner and cover them with water; bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
- Make the brine with the water, vinegar and salt; put them in a pot and heat until the salt is dissolved.
- Put a couple good heads of dill seed into each sterilized jar.
- Seed heads should be well-formed but still green.
- Add a clove of garlic and/or a hot pepper if desired.
- Pack the jar with the cucumbers.
- I find it easiest to start with the jar on its side, laying some of the larger cucumbers along the bottom then keep stacking on top of them. Use the end of a large wooden spoon to gently push more cukes in once it gets snug in there. Then repeat with a second row of stacked cukes, picking ones that will fit in without sticking too far up in the jar. There may then be room to lay a couple on top.
- Pour the hot brine over them, and cap at once with a sterilized lid.
- Do not hot water process.
- Store jars on newspaper in case they overflow while fermenting.
- Can be opened in 6 weeks but much better after 6 months!