Basic Dill Pickle

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Makes 7 Quarts


  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 8 pounds pickling cucumbers
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • 3 tablespoons pickling spices wrapped in cheese cloth*
  • 7 heads fresh dill
  • 7 garlic cloves


  1. For crispy pickles, put the cucumbers in a bowl of ice water for about 2 hours before cutting. Then slice up your cucumbers any way you like– or keep them whole. Make the brine by heating the water, vinegar, sugar and pickling salt. Drop in the pickling spices wrapped in cheesecloth. (Do not use an aluminum or copper pot or utensils for making brine.)
  2. Bring the brine to a boil, then simmer it for 15 minutes. Sterilize the jars either in a dishwasher or in a boiling water bath. Pack the hot jars tight with the cucumbers, one dill head and one garlic clove. Remove the cheesecloth wrapped pickling spices and ladle the brine into the jars leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rim with a lint free cloth; place a heated cap on the jar and screw on a ring. Place the jars into the canner, making sure they are covered by 2 inches of water. Process at a full boil for 5 minutes. (Start timing when the water comes to a full boil.) Remove your jars after 5 minutes and place them on a towel.
  3. Let them sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours, make sure they all are sealed by testing the tops. Place them in a cool dark place for storage. These will get better as they sit and will stay good for about a year. If any did not seal, place in the refrigerator; pickles will keep for about 6 months.
  4. *To put spices in cheesecloth, cut a square of cheesecloth, about 9 by 9 inches. Cut another narrow strip for tying it. Sterilize both pieces by placing them in boiling water. Cool the cloths, then place spices in the center of the square, wrap it up like a pouch, and tie it with the strip.