Cucumbers and Pickles Week

Dill Pickles – August 2014

Time to Make Dill Pickles!

Once you get your produce (whether from the store, the farmers market or from your garden), you are on the clock and it is time to do something (eat it, give it away or preserve it).  When you have a bunch of cucumbers, of course it is time to make pickles!  Today’s topic is dill pickle recipes.

Dill Pickle Recipe

Sliced Cucumbers - August 2014

Sliced Cucumbers – August 2014

This year, I am going to make Spicey Dill Pickles and Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles.  My family enjoys both varieties, and it never ceases to amaze me how fast the pickles go once the jar is opened.  In preparation for making the pickles, I washed the pickles thoroughly, removed the rounded blossom ends and tossed the ends into the compost bucket.  For the Dill Pickles, I decided to get “fancy” and took a serrated chopper to make the slices.  That gave the cucumber slices ribbed edges seen in the picture above.  It was completely unnecessary, but I was having some fun.  I also took some yellow onions and jalapeño peppers and sliced them as well.

Once I was done, I put the onions and the cucumbers into a large tub/bowl, added water and added ice cubes.  I them put the bowl into a refrigerator.  I have had good results keeping the pickles crispy by keeping them cold prior to final processing.

Now that I had the prep work completed, I went to my recipe book to gather the right spices, vinegar and other materials.   I used the Blue® Book Guide to Preserving recipe for this batch of pickles.

The recipe I used is called the “Hamburger Dill Pickle Recipe.”

Hamburger Dill Pickle Recipe


  • 4 pounds of cucumbers
  • 6 tablespoons canning salt
  • 4-1/2 cups of water
  • 4 cups of vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 14 heads of fresh dill
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons of mustard seed
  • 14 peppercorns
  • Pickle crisp (per instructions) or grape leaf (optional – I use pickle crisp)

Yield: about 7 pints or 3 quarts

I use pickle crisp in my dill pickle recipes, and it does seem to help keep the pickles crispy.  I have also tasted pickles that have been made with a grape leaf in each jar, and they have been pretty crispy as well.  Without access to grape leaves (for now), I used the pickle crisp.

CAUTION: please follow safe practices for canning!  Do your research/homework and use the correct tools, jars and recipes.  I recommend using the Ball® Blue Book Guide to Preserving as a guide and a good starting point.  I would also recommend checking out your Cooperative Extension System Offices as well.  The Extension Offices have  local knowledge and resources  and can help you as well. Other great sites are Pick Your Ownand Simply Canning.

Mix up the brine consisting of the water, vinegar, mustard seed and salt in a non-reactive pot and bring the brine to a simmer.  At the same time, you should be sterilizing your jars, lids and rings.  Once your jars are sterilized, pack the hot, sterilized jars tight with the cucumbers, onion, peppercorns (2 per jar), mustard seed (1/2 teaspoon to each jar), pickle crisp/grape leaf and two heads of dill in each jar.

Pour the brine over the top and leave 1/4 inches of headspace.  Remove any air bubbles, wipe the lid of each jar with a damp cloth, and put the lid and ring on the jar (hand tight).  Place the jars in the water bath so that there is an inch of water over the jars and process for 10 minutes (rolling boil).    Remove the jars and let them sit for 24 hours.  Space them about one inch from each other so they can cool.  Curing takes about four to six weeks before the pickles develop a really good flavor.

Variations on a Theme

Spicy Dill Pickles and Dill Peppers - August 2014

Spicy Dill Pickles and Dill Peppers – August 2014

While the recipe above is good and makes a great tasting pickle, there are ways to spice it up a bit.  My family prefers spicy foods, and we have cranked it up a notch (or 50) by adding jalapeños, onions, garlic and other peppers to the mix.  Here is a modified version of the Hamburger Dill Pickle Recipe.

Spicy Dill Pickle Recipe


  • 4 pounds of cucumbers
  • 6 tablespoons canning salt
  • 4-1/2 cups of water
  • 4 cups of vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 14 heads of fresh dill (I add a head to each jar)
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons of mustard seed
  • 1 pound of sliced onions (I add onions to each jar)
  • 14 peppercorns (I add this to each jar)
  • 1 garlic clove per pint jar; 2 cloves per quart jar (I add these to each jar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (I add this to each jar)
  • Jalapeño slices (I add a few sliced of jalapeño to each jar)
  • Pickle crisp (per instructions) or grape leaf

Yield: about 7 pints or 3 quarts

These pack a good punch and taste great!  This recipe can also be used for canning jalapenos and other peppers (as seen in the pictures above).  This batch should be ready for consumption in a couple weeks, so I’ll let you know how the peppers taste.  Again, I cannot stress this enough: follow the directions and methods for safe water bath canning.  Keep everything sanitary, clean and safe.

Your Turn

Do you have a great dill pickle recipe?  There are a million of them out there, so feel free to share them in the comments section.  I am getting more cucumbers from the garden, so let’s give your recipe a try!

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