hope you can help me out. I am a newbie....about 40 yrs ago I tried and I had soft pickles and I never did it again!
Oh boy, have you come to the right place. Chase's dill pickles are famous. I hope someone posts the recipe, I'm at Elery's and don't have it here but my Dad was a dill pickle expert and he loved them.
You must use fresh cucumbers, pack them in ice, cut off the blossom end which has enzymes that cause softening. Pickle Crisp will help and you should always refrigerate them before you eat them. And use Chase's recipe!
Sharon's Dill Pickles are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have no idea what exactly makes these pickles so good so I am religious about
following the steps to the tee!
I make these a bushel at a time, each bushel yields about 50 jars. If using
less than a bushel you can usually count on between 6-8 dills (cukes) per 1
quart jar, depending on size
Use 3" to 4" cukes that have just been picked. I get mine at the market and
always insist on cukes that have been picked that morning or the day before at
Place the cukes in ice cold water (I use my bath tub!!) and add a bag or two of
ice to the water. The cukes should stay in the ice water for a minimum of 2
hours but no more than 8. Refresh the ice as required.
I make the brine in great big batches using this ratio:
2 cups white vinegar
6 cups water
1/3 cup coarse pickling salt
For each jar of dills you will need 2 nice size garlic cloves peeled and cut in
half (4 pieces) and two dill florets. Use the dill heads not that fluffy stuff!
So if you are doing a bushel....that is 50 jars so you need 100 dill florets
and 100 garlic cloves. Leave the cukes whole.
. Now here is where the canning police and I part ways. This is how I do
it and have for 30 years but it is not according to the guidelines .
You'll need to make your own choice but I am convinced this is why they
are so crisp.
I sterilize my jars using the sani cycle of the dishwasher (you could
boil the jars instead) When they are really hot, almost at the end of
the cycle I place them in a oven at 150 degrees to keep them good and
Make the brine and bring the brine to a full and rolling boil.
Place the rings and lids in a large saucepan with water and bring them
almost to the boil. Then turn down but keep them hot.
Place the cukes, garlic and dill in the hot jars. I do garlic, dill,
cukes, garlic, dill. Pour brine over the cukes. Only do 2 jars at a
time, leave the rest in the oven to keep them hot.
Wipe the rim really well, this is critical to sealing, and place lid
and ring on and screw to finger tight. Let sit 6-8 weeks before eating!
Here is what I think is most critical:
Fresh cukes Ice bath Boiling hot brine Very hot jars Clean rim
So as a recap of ingredients
1) Make the brine in the quantity you need , just keep making it 2)
Count on 6-8 medium size cukes to a jar 3) 2 large florets of dill to a
jar 4) 2 large size garlic cloves, cut in half, ( 4 pieces) per jar
Another vote for Chase's Dills!!
I hunted for years for "the" recipe. This is it!
Even without the Pickle Crisp, they always come out good.
Follow the recipe exactly (thanks for posting it, Ann).
Casi, like you, I made dills many moons ago; they turned out soft & yucky so I never tried again.
Fast forward to last year when I tried Chase's Dills. They were awesome. I wasn't religious about having very freshly picked cukes, either, depending as I was on my few cuke plants. I did use calcium chloride (Pickle Crisp) that I bought at a 'Homebrew' shop.
A few hints:
1. Use pickling cucumbers, not burpless (English) cucumbers or slicing cucumbers.
2. Remove 1/16 to 1/4 inch from the blossom end of cucumbers. The blossom end may be the source of enzymes which can soften the cucumbers during fermentation.
3. Be sure to use canning salt, not iodized table salt.
You'll find more information at the link below.
Here is a link that might be useful: Making Crisp Pickles
Oh no! That is what all my cucumbers are! They are English and burpless. All the little Amish nurseries around the area, that is all that they sell. What is the reasoning behind that? Will I be wasting all my effort. I have a ton of cucumbers!!
I made pickles last year using a blend of recipes (Sharon's and Teresa's) and information from some research which recommended using fresh grape leaves in the the jar to make them crispy. They were super crispy and very pretty, too. I don't really like pickles and gave them all away but the reviews were excellent from friends.
casi, I grow the small pickling cucumbers and do find that they make better/crunchier pickles. However, I've used the others and they were still pretty good. Try a small batch first and see if they suit you, they were not as crunchy as picklers but they weren't impossibly soft either.
It's funny, all the Amish farms and farm stands around here grow the little picklers.
From the National Center for Home Food Preservation:
Can I use burpless cucumbers for pickling?
Burpless cucumbers are not recommended for use in fermented pickles. This is because at their normal mature size, they produce a softening enzyme that causes the pickles to soften during fermentation. However, if smaller burpless cucumbers (those with small seeds) are used, they may be suitable for making fresh pack pickles. The skins on burpless cucumbers may be tough.
Here is a link that might be useful: NCFHFP - Frequently Asked Pickle Questions
There are different styles/recipes for cucumber pickles depending on what you are dealing with. Some recipes taste better with fresh, small new cukes, others for the average pickling cuke. There are also recipes for the big cukes that you missed getting the first round. I would imagine those types of recipes would work OK for the slicing cukes. Those are the chunk style recipes and also some of the pickle relishes. Bread and Butter style pickle recipes and mustard pickles are examples of a recipe for the larger type of cuke, although you can make them with the smaller ones too. Salting and putting on ice, then rinsing before pickling does help. The salting slightly dehydrates the pickles, so when they get put in the brine, which is also salty, they are not going to loose all their water into the brine and get shriveled.
I don't have my recipe book handy and BF is glaring at me because I am spending too much time on the computer, but I'll try to post back with some recipes. Although everyone swears by Sharon/Chase's recipe! I have several books on preserving, and one whole book just on pickles!!
OK, BF's out on a bike ride and I found my source. Great book although I think out of print, "Keeping the Harvest" by Nancy Chioffi and Gretchen Mead. Part of sucessful preserving is picking the right method for the right product. Here's the quote on cukes:
"Picklers can be harvested at any size. They are picked when tiny for use as little dill or sweet gherkins. As they become more mature (4-6 inches long), they can be cross-cut for bread and butter pickles or dill chips, or sliced lengthwise for spicy or dill spears. This is the stage before the seeds have had a chance to get very big. (You don't want a lot of big seeds in your pickles). . . . The big ripe cukes can be peeled and seeded, and the crisp, thick flesh cut into bite sized chunks and made into sweet tounge pickles (so named due to their tounge-like shape), "turmerics," "golden glows," or other autumn specialties.
"Slicers (read: "Not pickling cukes"), often have tough, smooth skin developed for its durability in shipping and keeping, but definitely not tender in a pickle."
If it were me, (who loves to can just about anything), and I only had slicing cukes, I would lower my expectations of getting the crisp, dill pickle spears that you can get in a deli. They use pickling cukes for that. But instead, you can still make some great pickles. I happen to love bread and butter type pickles and have made them successfully. I also made a great batch of dill pickle chips with slicers. They were good too. Or I'd make a pickle relish, also great homeade.
I also follow Andrea Chessman's recommendation of salting cukes or brining them for about 3 hours before pickling. I do this with my sliced cukes. I don't usually get super fresh cukes so that's why I do that. Just salt the cukes and let set on ice for 3 hours. The combo of salt and ice makes an auto brine. Or you can do a brine or just salt, if the weather isn't hot, but it usually is in the summer which is why I use the ice. Rinse the cukes well with several changes of water before pickling. Use canning salt, which you can buy in the canning section of the grocery. Iodized salt makes cloudy pickle brine.
I have never tried the grape leaf or Pickle Crips tricks. Last year I could not find Pickle Crisp when I wanted to try it, but finally found some so will be trying it this year.
I can post any type of pickle recipe of the ones mentioned above if you would like.
Good luck. You might want to join the "Harvest" forum. Lots of good recipes and ideas there too. Many of us hang out there too!
Do we want a flower head or a seed head?
Lpink, thanks for all the great information. I don't really know what to do. I am in the process of making a batch of Lime Pickles....which is a bread and butter type...sweet. I made them last year using my MIL recipe and they turned out fine. They are not my favorite type pickle but hubby likes them. It is just that I have a ton of cucumbers....huge ones and I thought I would make some dill slices as I do like them on burgers.
I make Chase's garlic dills every year. I can't keep them in the house.
Everyone loves them.
Here's a recipe I made with slicing cukes. They were good, but it was my first cuke pickle attempt, so maybe beginner's luck. The recipe is from the cookbook, "Summer in a Jar" by Andrea Chessman. She also was the author of my pickle and relish cookbook. I haven't tried many of those recipes. Just the dill spears in that one, which were similar to Chase's recipe, except I did them for a class so we sealed them with a boiling water bath.
Here's the recipe for dill chips. Very good with salads or sandwiches. This makes a small batch, the recipe is just for a pint but can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled depending on how many cukes you have and how many pickles you want. Figure that out in advance and sterilize the jars and lids by boiling for 10 min.
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1 1/2 tsp. pickling salt
Water to cover
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water (use distilled if you don't want blue garlic, lol!)
1 tsp. dill seed
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. mixed pickling spices
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns.
Combine the sliced cucumbers and salt. If you are making more than 1 pint, increase the salt accordingly up to a total of 2 TBLSP only. Toss to mix well. Add cold water to cover. Let stand for 3 hours. Then drain. Rinse if the cucumbers taste salty to you and drain again.
Combine 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup water for each jar in a non-aluminum pot and bring to the boiling point. While the brine heats, pack the jars. To pack the jars, into each hot sterilized pint jar, add 1 tsp. dill seed, 1 clove garlic (peeled), 1 tsp. pickling spices, and 1/2 tsp. peppercorns. Fill tightly with the cucumber slices, up to just below 1/2 inch from the top on the jar. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Check seals. Store in a cool dry place. Best left to "age" and develop flavors for at least a few weeks.
I like this recipe because you can make as many or as few as suits your needs. Just remember that the recipe is just for 1 pint so have enough ingredients on hand for however many pints you want to make. Don't alter the ratio of vinegar to water in the brine, and don't use other types of vinegar.
I just got my grandmother's wonderful kosher dill pickle recipe from my mother last night.
Grandma's Pickle Recipe
Soak pickles in cold water about 4 hours.
Place piece of dill on bottom of quart jar.
Add 2 or 3 cukes, 1 pepper [she means that pointy yellow kind that looks like a carrot sort of], 1 cut-up garlic clove.
Fill with cukes.
Add 1 T +1/4 T of non-iodized salt and 1 T pickling spice.
Add another cut-up garlic clove and more dill.
Fill with cold water. Wipe clean top of jar. Scald and screw on lid.
Second day, turn upside down for another day.
I have another pickle question, but I'll put it in another string.
gellchom, no vinegar? Is that is fermented type pickle?
Oh, and casi, I guess you've figured out that there's no such thing as a "foolproof" pickle canning recipe, LOL.
Lpink, so you think I can use my cucumbers for this recipe? The English and Burpless? Cause they are called slicing cucumbers?????
Casi, I'm not LPink but I think it would be well worth trying to do slices with your cucumbers. One option, in case the skins are a bit tough, is to take a strip of peel off every other strip, before you slice them,know what I mean? That way there wouldn't be so much skin on the slices. I like slices too and really, if you think about it, people have canned all kinds of less than idea produce and gotten good results. Certainly worth a try since you have so many already.
I made those pickles about 20 years ago. They were one of my first attempts. Like I said, they turned out good. I made them with just your regular old store bought cukes, which are the "slicing" type. Mine weren't burpless but they were not the pickling kind. It's a small batch recipe, might be worth a try.
Nope, no vinegar. It doesn't seem to need it. They aren't as sour as the sandwich pickles from the supermarket, but they are plenty dill-y. Anyway, that's how our family makes them, and I love them.
Actually, gellchom, it sounds good because I think pickles are too sour and I don't really care for them much. I'm definitely going to have to try your recipe and see how different they are, and I just wanted to be sure that I was reading it right.
I'm glad I ran across this topic, as my brothers and I were discussing the art of making good dill pickles this weekend.
Chase's recipes sounds very similar to the ones I made 30 years ago and I need some clarification.
1. They don't require a BWB? (mine didn't way back then)
2. They don't need to be refrigerated before opening?
3. Could you use frozen dill heads in this recipe?
4. What is the shelf life?
Thanks in advance!
I always hesitate to comment when people start talking about my dills. They work for me but I am not interested in defending the recipe so I usually just lay low.
FWIW, I do not use a BWB, I just ensure that the brine and jars are boiling hot, I use the dishwasher on sani for the jars and then keep them in 1 low oven while I pack them. I onoly pack 2 - 4 at a time. A BWB results in a less crisp pickle but is more conventionally accepted.
I make over a 100 jars a year and store in cupboards and shelves in a cool area of the basement. Mine keep as long as I have them...which is usually a year or so.
I always chill my dills before opening but not as a means of storage.
If, on the odd occasion, a jar does not seal I store the jars in the fridge for 6 weeks or so and use before using the ones that sealed.
I would not use frozen dill.....I only use fresh dills and cukes.
Sharon, are the dill florets at the stage of flowering or in seed?
D@mn good question Christine. I prefer them flowering but have used them with good results as they just start to go to seed.
My personal test is all green, none or very little yellow, brown...not happening!
I seem to have a couple of flowering heads at most stages, but not the big patch of dill I want. Can you actually buy flowering dill there? I'd think you'd need your own big patch for that recipe! I am going to try a small batch, if I can find fresh enough pickling cucumber. When the tempersture drops below 100.
Thanks Chase for answering my question. The reason I asked about the frozen dill, is rarely are the cukes and dill ready at the same time. Usually the dill is ready earlier.
As far as not us the BWB, that's how I started and I think I'll revert back to again. When I did process, they just weren't as good.
I am no food safety expert, but I would hazard a guess that the BWB is to insure a good seal and to make sure all ingredients come to a sterile temp, including the cukes, which of course will affect their crunchiness, although not by too much. The brine is going to be your main means of preservation in this recipe. You are taking a slight risk, which is something no instructor or public agency could recommend, but each person has to decide for themselves what level of risk they can tolerate. Sharon has had a good experience with this method as have many others of us. But you need to educate yourself on food safety and what can go wrong if you are canning so you can manage your hobby. It's not difficult, but it isn't a no brainer either.
I love the refrigerator kosher dills and have a pickle barrel stand just three blocks from my house. That's why I don't mess with dill spears, but they sure look groovy in Barnmon's photo!
As for the dill flower heads, you can still get acceptable results with less than stellar dill heads, because I have done it. Some recipe call for just the seeds anyway, so if some of your flowerhead has gone to seed, it can still be used. Some of the issue may be cosmetic. And that counts for something, especially if you give your canned stuff as gifts, which I often do.
I purchased fresh dill heads from my local grocery store. They were a special order, however. I have in the past seen them occasionally in buckets in the produce department of the high-end grocer but rarely. I think they make a very pretty presentation. The grape leaves are from my own vines.
kaelkriver, the more I think of it the more I think that frozen dill would be fine.
I would thaw it completely before canning so as not to bring the brine temp down...but I think it would work just fine.
So I made ann_t 's pickles today (well, the recipe I believe is actually for Chase's pickles) and am going nuts knowing I have to go so many weeks before I try them. One question, though, she says don't cut them, just put them in the jar but how does she get 6-8 cukes in a quart jar? I'm assuming that cukes mean cucumbers and I'm using pickling cucumbers. Am I doing it wrong??
This post was edited by keeweeoh on Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 21:49
keeweeoh, those are actually Chase's dill pickles, Ann T just posted the recipe.
I often get 6 smaller cukes in a quart jar, but if I'm using the bigger ones I can only get three or four in there. Sometimes I only get two in a pint!
My cukes must've been of the larger size-I tried to get 4 in the quart jar and gave up, cut them instead. Hope that doesn't affect the crispness. Opinion?
My cucumber vines aren't producing in mass quantity's and i can only do two Quarts at a time.I can't find anything any where to help me to get recipes for Kosher dills,Bread and butter,sweet Pickles or polish dills that i can figure out how to scale it down to two Quarts..I tried to do it myself but i always get so confused.Can anyone help me? Thank you so much if i could get the scaled down really good Recipes!
Here is a link that might be useful: That home Site
This post was edited by Breemom1 on Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 17:54
Anyone out there with an opinion on using well water? Some people feel that it helps with obtaining crispier pickles.
Both of you might find this page from NPR interesting.