Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In a pickle

Kosher Dill Pickles
I was hoping that some of my readers could help me tackle this one. Like many of you out there, we are currently buried neck-deep in cucumbers from the garden. As a result, I've been trying my hand at pickling for the first time. First, I made a kosher dill pickle using this recipe. The end result was crisp but not nearly sour enough. Then I found a recipe for spicy refrigerator dill pickles, which was better than the first but way too sweet for my taste. Finally, I realized part of my problem was that I didn't like the flavor imparted by the commercial pickling spice mix I had purchased. Who knew that finding the ultimate dill pickle recipe would be so difficult!

Alas, I was hoping that some of you would be willing to share with me your favorite dill pickle recipes. Also, if you have a simple pickling spice mix that you like, please share!

Any and all suggestions and/or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


  1. Hey Thomas, I'm posting a Dilly Green Bean post tomorrow. I made them last year and for me, it was the perfect balance. Here's a link to last year's post. This year's adjustments included adding some cherry bomb hot peppers to the mix and dill heads instead of the dill weed. Hope this helps!


  2. I grow my own dill for use in pickling, but the cucumber beetles attacked before I had enough cucumbers to pickle. I have not yet found the right recipe, either. Here is at least one pickling spice recipe spot:

  3. Hi Thomas,

    I use a similar version of Recipe #2 that you posted. But I don't use pickling spice, Instead I use this below.

    8 - 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers like kirbys
    2 cups water
    1 3/4 cups white vinegar
    6 sprigs of chopped fresh dill weed
    1/2 cup white sugar
    6 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 1/2 tablespoons coarse Diamond kosher salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
    1 teaspoon black peppercorns
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
    2 additional sprigs fresh dill weed for jars
    (optional) - for extra kick, I added 1/2 of habanero pepper - it makes it a bit spicy, omit if you don't like spice.

  4. Pickles made with fresh dill are so beautiful. I love the picture, Thomas.

  5. I always use pickle recipes from the "Ball Blue Book". I tend to like the older recipes that take a longer time to make. (they taste like the pickles I remember when I was young) I am presently making dill pickles using a brining method, which takes 3 weeks.

    I think that the newer Ball Blue Book still has the older recipes in it. My books date from 1929 (my grandmother's book) until 1982.

    I will be making Bread & Butter pickles and sweet relish this week.

    Let me know if you would like any of the recipes. You will have to can them when they are done! Did you do any canning yet?

  6. Thomas, the photo looks lovely. I am not a fan a pickles, but I made some this year following a recipe for Kosher Dill from the "Ball Blue Book." It did say that it will take several weeks for the flavor to develop. Have you given your pickles time?

  7. I'm rather new to pickling myself, but have learned that they don't pick up acid very quickly - so my knee-jerk response was the same as grafixmuse: let them sit if acid's the issue. If spice is the issue, can't suggest anything. I prefer garlic and dill, and no spice.

  8. I have yet to find the perfect dill pickle recipe, but I do love the dill pickle relish recipe in the ball blue book. I always make that first to make sure we have a batch for the year and only after that if I have enough cucumers do I make a batch of pickles. Last several years, all I have had was enough for the relish recipe (which is heavenly!) and so I have not made true dill pickles in a while. This year I am looking like I will have a bumper crop of cucumbers so I likely will do pickles. I do not like spices in mine - just dill garlic, and some hot pepper flakes so I look for recipes that follow that simpler model. I am also going to try some refrigerator dills this year too. As GrafixMuse pointed out the traditional pickles are not ready for consumption immediately, so give them time to sit before doing your taste tests.

  9. Garlic, dill, vinegar, salt, black pepper corns and/or hot peppers. That's all I use. I personally don't like sweet pickles, and the commercial stuff always seem to have something sweet in them. If you like them more sour, just add more vinegar. I use Granny's tip to chill the cucumbers first. My refrigerator pickles taste like that name brand pickle that you pick up in the refrigerated section.

  10. I'm telling you Thomas, use my recipe! It's just like what Cheryl suggested, zero sweetness and all dilly peppery kick! And make sure you let them sit for a week before trying to let all the pepper and garlic flavor creep in there. I only tried "pickle mix" once and didn't care for it, and most of us grow all we need in the garden anyways.

  11. This is the one I mainly use for dill pickles'.

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

    Cooking Directions:
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    4 pounds small cucumbers
    4 quarts water
    1 quart vinegar
    1 cup salt
    1 dill weed sprig -- per jar
    1 garlic clove -- per jar
    1 teaspoon alum -- per jar

    Let water, vinegar and salt come to a boil. Set aside. Put dill and 1
    clove garlic in bottom of each jar. Prick cucumbers with fork before
    putting in jar. Put 1 teaspoon alum in each quart. Fill jar with brine.
    Seal tight and let stand until clear before using.

    This recipe yields ??

    There is a terrific site that has recipes foe anything you ever imagined being canned or preserved...
    Check it out, there are so many recipes there, I would never have enough time to read them all.

  12. Lovely photo! I hope you find your dream pickle recipe.

  13. I'm currently procrastinating on making my pickles (ie avoiding the process of) by updating my blog reading. I borrowed an older addition of The Joy of Pickling from the library, and there are quite a few delicious looking recipes in there. Haven't tried any yet to confirm, but I've learned a lot from the book's intro on pickling...

  14. Nice photo, Thomas!
    Not a dill pickle fan myself so I'm of no help what so ever...

  15. I'm also having pickling issues.

    And getting sick of cucumbers! :-)

  16. Lemon Pickles

    4 lb. cucumbers
    6 Tbsp. dill seed
    ½ c. salt
    2 quarts water
    2 c. bottled lemon juice

    Pack cucumbers into jars. Boil remaining ingredients. Pour into jars leaving ¼ headroom. Seal with lids. Place in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

    Dill Pickles (no vinegar)

    Sterilize jars in oven (250 degrees for 10 minutes)
    Boil jar lids to sterilize.
    Mix with 6 cups water and bring to a boil:
    2 c. lemon juice
    ¼ c. pickling salt
    1 Tbsp. garlic powder
    Remove jars from oven, put one grape leaf in bottom of each and pack with cucumbers.
    Pour boiling water mixture into jars to fill and leave 2 minutes.
    Pour water out of jars and reboil.
    While water is coming back to a boil put 2 tsp. dill seed and one garlic clove atop cucumbers in each jar.
    Refill jars with water solution after it boils again and put one grape leaf on top. Then Wash cucumbers and dry. Place the following in the bottom of each quart jar.
    1 bay leaf
    1 grape leaf
    4 cloves garlic
    1 head dill
    Pack whole or vertically sliced cucumbers in jar.
    Put in top of jar:
    1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
    1 head of dill
    1 Tbsp. salt
    1 grape leaf
    Fill jar with boiling water and seal. Process in boiling water bath 15 minutes.seal jars with sterilized flats, and turn them upside down for 20 minutes, then turn right side up. If they are not sealed at this point then water-bath them for 5 minutes in boiling water. Note: citric acid may be used for lemon juice: 3 Tbsp./2 c. water

    Both of these recipes are excellent. I have never used anything commercial and I have given these away as gifts.

  17. Thank you soooo much for your advice and recipes everyone! There's some really great stuff here. I will definitely try some of these recipes. Also, I have the ball blue book as well and give it a look.

    Thank you!

  18. Sorry I'm late to the party, I'm waaaaay behind in my blog reading! I made my first refrigerator dills this week. I haven't tried them yet, but this recipe was found on several blog searches, and is supposed to be "the best".