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homemade dill pickles
Prep Time: 00:45
Cook Time: 00:10
2 clean glass jars with tight fitting lids (this recipe makes about quart jars)
1 - 3 pounds of cucumbers (preferably pickling cucumbers)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 - 4 teaspoons dill seed
3 cups vinegar
3 cups water
4 1/2 tablespoons pickling salt or kosher salt
1/2 white onion, cut into " slices (optional)
1Prepare your jars - clean them really well with soap and hot water that is as hot as you can stand. Let them air dry or dry them with paper towels, so you don't transfer any bacteria from your kitchen towels into the jars.
2Clean the pickles REALLY well - use soap if you feel comfortable with that, and scrub them to remove all dirt, bacteria, and prickly parts (if any). If you have any major bruises on them, carefully cut these out and throw them away. You will also need to cut away the "blossom end" of the pickle - this contains enzymes that will soak into the brine and disrupt the pickling process. If you don't know, or can't tell, which end is the blossom end, just cut away a thin slice from each end of your pickles.
3If you plan on making whole pickles, skip this step. If you want to make slices or spears, cut them up now and set them aside on paper towels to soak up excess moisture. Also slice your onions if using any.
4Add the spices to the bottom of the jars - if you want stronger flavor, use more garlic and dill seed. I used about 10 whole peppercorns, two cloves of garlic, and 2 teaspoons of dill seed per jar. If you are using a prepared pickling spice, use about 1 tablespoon per jar to start with and adjust to your taste preference.
5Pack the pickles into the jars. Regardless of whether they are whole, sliced, or speared, you want to pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing them. I alternated between putting pickles and onions in the jar so they would be evenly spaced throughout. If any of the cucumbers stand more than 1/2" below the top of the jar, trim the ends (don't toss though, just toss them into another jar to make bite size pickle pieces!).
6Prepare the brine by mixing the vinegar, water, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
7Once boiling, carefully pour the brine into the jars and fill to within 1/2" of the top. You may not use all of the brine depending on the size of your jars. Gently tap the sides of the jars to release any air bubbles that may be trapped between the pickles then top off with a little more brine if needed.
8Tightly screw on the caps to each jar and set aside, these will need to cool to room temperature before they can go in the fridge. If you know how to "can" jars and would like to do that to extend the longevity of your pickles, go ahead and do that process now.
9Once cooled to room temperature, store in your fridge and let sit for at least 5 days. If you sliced or speared your pickles, they will be ready sooner than whole pickles - taste after 4-5 days and let mellow to your taste. Unopened, they will last several weeks, up to about 2 months; once opened, they will last a few weeks.
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