I have attempted, for the first time, to whip up a batch of dill pickles. My husband is convinced that whenever I’m pregnant I will be hooked on peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches. Well, I’m not sure about that, but his reasoning behind that is based off of my love of pickles! I’ve always been a fan, but for some reason they have just tasted heavenly as of late. My parents gave us a huge batch of pickles from their garden last weekend and I thought, “Why not try it myself!?”
Claussen dill pickles have been my favorite recently when it comes to flavor, so I did a bit of research and found a “knock off” recipe that seemed simple enough to try myself. I made a few modifications to suit our taste, and the flavor was simply fantastic!! Here it is! 🙂
Claussen-Style Dill Pickles
Yields: 3 quarts
6 cups water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup canning/pickling salt (I used sea salt)
1/3 cup finely minced onion (you can use dehydrated)
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Small cucumbers or pickling cucumbers, cut into spears (quarters or eights depending on size)
4 heads of fresh dill (I got two large bunches with the roots still in tact from a local farm stand)
2-3 cloves of garlic per quart
Sterilize your jars and lids (if not scrubbing clean with hot, soapy water, immerse the jars and lids in boiling water).
Place water, vinegar, onions, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes in a large pan and bring the brine to a boil. Allow the salt to fully dissolve and let the brine cool.
While the brine was stewing away, I prepped my cucumbers and jars. I loosely chopped the dill (using the dill as well as the heads of the stalks/seeds) and chopped up the cucumbers into spears, all roughly the same thickness, but varied lengths. Rather than using finely minced garlic, I crushed the cloves and roughly chopped them. Place a small handful of dill into the bottom of each jar, followed by your first row of cucumber spears. Throw in your garlic cloves (2-3 per jar) and some more dill, then layer in more spears, and top the jar off with some more dill.
Pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers, filling to the neck of the jars. Make certain to distribute the seasonings in the brine evenly between your jars. If necessary, use a colander to strain the brine and distribute the seasonings with a spoon.
Screw on the lids tightly and shake each jar to mix the cucumbers, dill, garlic, and brine. Loosen the lids and let them sit on the counter for roughly a week, shaking/turning them occasionally to redistribute the seasonings. After about a week, the pickles will be sufficiently fermented and ready for storage!
The recipe stated that the pickles will stay for about a year. I highly doubt these puppies will last more than a month or two at best! I was debating whether or not to go through the standard “canning” process with a pressure cooker canner or using the hot water bath method. I chatted with my mom (who was coincidentally whipping up her own batch of pickles that day) and got some advice on her methods. She explained that the vinegar and salt act as their own preservatives, and after a week of fermenting your pickles should be safe to store. A benefit to this method vs standard canning is your pickles will remain super crisp, whereas when you can them, they cook a tad, making for softer pickles.
My house smelled AMAZING when working on these pickles. My hands definitely smelled like dill the rest of the day, but no complaints there! I tasted the brine before and after pouring it over the packed jars and man, did it taste good! Really close to the well balanced flavor of Calussen-style pickles I enjoy so much. And so, they sit on my counter, taunting me. A week cannot go by fast enough!
I’m so excited for this season of food preservation. Aside from dehydrating fruit, this is the first batch of food I have worked on. I plan on doing another batch of pickles later in the season, and eagerly await for more fruits and veggies to ripen up to can and dehydrate for use throughout the rest of the year.
Have you been doing any pickling or other food preservation so far this season? How’d it turn out?