Canning Dill Pickles – Grandma Ella’s Recipe – Insightful Nana (2024)

Canning Dill pickles, using my Grandma Ella’s recipe, was just one of the many items I canned during the summer months, many years ago. I don’t do much canning anymore… due to time and expense.
However, it’s September, the canning feeling is in the air and I was at Farmer Grant’s produce stand day- before-yesterday… and a peck of cucumbers spoke to me.

In fact, before I knew it… the peck of cucumbers and two bags of fresh dill were in my car before I even had time to think about it. “What the…. I don’t have time for this and there is not one earthly nutritional benefit for having dill pickles in my food storage,” I said to myself.

Then I said, “I want to do this… just for me… for fun.” I never thought I would ever say that canning would be fun after “putting up” hundreds of bushels of produce in the past. But, at this moment in time… it’s fun.

So here we go. I want to share with you, my Grandma Ella’s Homemade Dill Pickle recipe. Mmmmm… they’re so good!

Here’s what you need:
A. 1 peck of cucumbers. Now I never buy the ones the farmer says are “Dills.” I go the next size smaller. They fit better in the bottle and are “cruncher.”

B. 1 gal. of white vinegar.

C. Fresh dill. You need a dill head for each bottle which should include stems and pieces. (this recipe will do between 12 and 14 quarts.)

D. Alum (that’s for the pucker.)

E. Salt ( don’t use iodized salt, it will cause the solution to become cloudy.)

F. 1 garlic bud or clove for each bottle.

G. One grape leaf for each bottle. (They say it keeps the pickles crisp. I don’t know if that’s true but Grandma Ella did it… so who am I to argue with success.) I raid my neighbors grape leaves, since I don’t grow grapes.

H. You will need clean wide mouth jars, rims and lids. (12 -14)

Make your vinegar solution: 1 Qt. Vinegar. 3 Qt’s water. 1 C Salt. (This recipe is solution for 6 or 7 quarts.

In each jar, place a grape leave in the bottom. Add one peeled garlic clove, 1 pinch of alum (that’s what grandma said.) but it equates to about 1/8 tes. of alum. At least one dill flower head and a bunch of stems and pieces. It looks like weeds in there but it’s okay. (This is a lousy photo… but you get the drift.)

Now, put the cucumbers in the jar. With these smaller cukes…I can get about 5 or 6 in a jar… just force them in there tight.

I place my bottles on top of my canner bottom and let the steam rise up around them. Or, you can just place the jars in a large frying pan with boiling water and let the steam come up around them. My lids and rims are in a little pan of water… boiling away… and my solution is boiling too. Everything needs to be hot!

Fill one hot jar with the solution.

Take from the boiling water, one lid and rim.

Place it on the filled jar. Tighten the hot jar rim and set your bottle aside.

Repeat the process until you have all the jars filled.

It’s important for you keep everything hot… cause we’re not going to process these bottles. Nope.. No way.. makes the cucumbers soft… and Grandma Ella didn’t do it… and it works… and we’re not dead from any little micro bug. Besides… with all that vinegar and salt… anything bacteria that would have been alive is now… long gone.

There you have it….Homemade Dill Pickles. It’s not hard and they’re so good… BUT…HERE’S THE DEAL… you can’t open a jar until THANKSGIVING. Nope… keep your mitts off until Thanksgiving day. I know it’s tempting. Another reason to celebrate Turkey Day!

It takes that long for the pickles to cure in the brine… but it’s well worth the wait.

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S. I wonder what else is going to end up in my car… so I can do a bit of canning… just for fun.

P.P.S. If you want a printable recipe for your files, fill in the box below so I can send you the link.
Besides… once you sign in… You’ll be on my freebie list and I’ll be sending you all kinds of fun things… especially for the holidays. You won’t have to sign in again.

Canning Dill Pickles – Grandma Ella’s Recipe – Insightful Nana (2024)


Should you salt cucumbers before pickling? ›

You will need a recipe, most of which will tell you to salt your sliced cucumbers and let them sit for about 3 hours (more is better). This salt treatment draws water out of the cucumbers and flavors them, so it's critically important.

What is the ratio for pickling? ›

The classic ratio is super easy to remember and is easily scale-able depending on how many pickles you're making. It's 100% vinegar, 50% water, 25% sugar and 12.5% kosher salt by weight. So for example, 200g vinegar, 100g water, 50g sugar and 25g kosher salt (again, you can scale this up or down!).

How long should homemade pickles sit before eating them? ›

Label and date your jars and store them in a clean, cool, dark, and dry place such as a pantry, cabinet, or basem*nt. Don't store in a warm spot! To allow pickles to mellow and develop a delicious flavor, wait at least 3 weeks before eating! Keep in mind that pickles may be ready to enjoy earlier.

How do you keep cucumbers crisp when canning? ›

Adding natural tannins such as grape leaves, black tea, or oak leaves can delay the softening process and keep your pickles firm. This is entirely optional and only works if your cucumbers aren't already soft.

What is the secret to crunchy pickles? ›

Add a Source of Tannin

Tannins work against softening enzymes and help keep pickles crunchier. They can be found in various sources, such as grape leaves, oak leaves, raspberry leaves, black tea, etc. Add some directly to your jars!

What is the basic pickling formula? ›

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 2 teaspoons sugar. (Scale recipe up or down as needed.) Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, pack vegetables into a large jar or a few small jars.

What is the most important ingredient in pickling? ›

Two components of the pickling process, acid and salt, are key participants in the preservation of perishable products. Acid, which may be added directly or produced through microbial conversion of indigenous sugars to acids, will lower the pH of the product and inhibit spoilage microorganisms.

Why do you soak cucumbers in ice water before pickling? ›

For a quick and easy way to help ensure crisp pickles: soak cucumbers in ice water for 4 to 5 hours before pickling. This is a safer method for making crisp pickles. Using lime, or calcium hydroxide, in solution for soaking cucumbers changes the amount of acid in the cucumber tissue.

How do you know if homemade pickles are safe? ›

Surface mold or a bad smell are additional signs the pickles should be thrown out. The fizzy brine I experienced, Smith says, was likely a sign of microbial growth. “A lot of times when microorganisms grow, as part of the fermentation process they produce carbon dioxide gas,” she says.

Should I soak my cucumbers in salt water before pickling? ›

The next step is to make a saltwater solution and soak your cucumbers for a minimum of 12 hours (up to 7 days). The beauty of soaking your cucumbers is that you don't need to be ready to make pickles right when you pick your cucumbers (or bring them home from the market).

Do you have to do a hot water bath when canning pickles? ›

Most fruit preserves and pickles are sufficiently high in acid to be canned via a method called water bath canning, where jars are submerged in boiling water for a prescribed amount of time. This destroys any pathogens in the food, and creates a seal, thereby rendering the jars shelf-stable.

Can you over boil pickles when canning? ›

Fill jars of cucumbers with pickling brine at temperatures between 165-180 degrees, Add filled and capped jars to the canner, and cover jars with 1-2” of hot water. Heat to 180 degrees F and maintain this temperature for a full thirty minutes. Temperatures higher than 185º F may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.

What do you use to make pickles crisp when canning? ›

Add one or two leaves to your crock if making old-fashioned fermented pickles or 1 leaf per quart jar when processing . Other products used to keep pickles crisp are oak leaves and black loose tea which all contain tannins, the natural substance which adds the crispness.

How long do you salt cucumbers before pickling? ›

The next step is to make a saltwater solution and soak your cucumbers for a minimum of 12 hours (up to 7 days). The beauty of soaking your cucumbers is that you don't need to be ready to make pickles right when you pick your cucumbers (or bring them home from the market).

How do you prepare cucumbers for pickling? ›

Preparing cucumbers
  1. Wash cucumbers thoroughly, especially around the stem area, to remove soil that may contain bacteria.
  2. Toss out cucumbers with signs of mold or spoilage.
  3. Cut off the blossom end to prevent pickle softening.
  4. Pickle within 24 hours of picking cucumbers.
Jul 10, 2018

Are you supposed to salt cucumbers? ›

No matter how you dress them, salting and draining sliced cucumbers maximizes crunchy texture. The challenge: More often than not, by the time you eat a cucumber salad the cucumbers have gone soft and watery, losing their appealing crunch and diluting the dressing to near tastelessness.

Do you rinse cucumbers after salting? ›

After the cucumbers have been salted for a period of time, you'll want to rinse off the excess salt. At this point, you may be thinking 'what the hell, I just spent all this time removing the water!

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