A recipe for small batch crunchy canned dill pickles with tips on how to get that coveted pickle “crunch!” —Rachel (Simple Seasonal)
2 lbs pickling cucumbers, each about 4" in length
1 1/4 C plus 1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 1/4 C plus 1 Tbsp water
1/4 C organic cane sugar
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp whole peppercorns
1 allspice berry
1 whole clove
1/2 of a bay leaf
3 fresh medium-sized sprigs of dill
3 fresh dill flowers for garnish (optional)
In This Recipe
Before beginning a canning project, it's important make sure that you have a clean work space and that you have everything set up and ready to go. Place your jars in your dishwasher on the high heat setting, without soap, in order to sterilize them. If you don't have a dishwasher, you can sterilize them by placing them in a large pot of boiling water for 5 minutes.
Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way full with water and begin to bring to a boil over high heat. Clean your cucumbers under running water, and lay out the ingredients you'll need.
Add vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a saucepan, and then make your spice bag. Do this by doubling cheese cloth and tying your spices inside with butcher's twine. Place the spice bag in the pot with your vinegar mixture and make sure that it's submerged in the pickling liquid. Bring the liquid up to a simmer, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the pickling juice is simmering, cut your cucumbers and pack your jars. For the cucumbers, cut off the ends and discard, then cut the cucumbers into quarters. I find the easiest way to pack my jars is to do so with them on their sides. Arrange 1 dill frond and a dill flower in a beautiful pattern, and then carefully stack cucumbers on top of them. Get as many cucumbers into the jar as you can, and then turn the jars right side up.
Once the pickling juice is done simmering, discard your spice bag and pour it through a small strainer into your packed jars. There should be approximately 1/2 inch of headspace between the pickle juice and the top of your jar. If there are any air bubbles in your jar, shake them out, or poke them out with a sterilized butter knife.
Place your lids and rings into a small saucepan with water and bring the water up to scalding temperature (just before boiling) in order to sterilize them. Don't boil, as this may damage your seals. Dip a clean paper towel in the boiling water in your large pot and use it to wipe the rims of your jars. Using a canning lid magnet, grab the lids and place them on your jars. Screw the rings onto your jars until you first meet resistance and them unscrew them a millimeter or two. This is important for creating a seal.
Once the lids are on your jars, immediately place them into your large pot of boiling water, so that all of the jars are submerged. If there is a lot of extra space in the pot, add empty jars to prevent your pickles from knocking around, tipping, or breaking. Cover and process for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove your jars and place them in a cool dark place where they can sit undisturbed for 24 hours. You should hear little "pops" as the jars seal and the lids are sucked in towards the jar. The pickles can then be eaten immediately, but are best enjoyed after they've been given a couple of weeks to pickle. They are shelf stable in a cool, dark place for up to a year. If you have a jar that doesn't seal, don't fret. Just place it in the fridge for up to a couple of months.