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Wanted: TRIED AND TRUE recipe for dill pickles

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

I'm cold packing these when time comes, so I just need the vinegar,salt/water recipe to go ontop of the pickles

I'm using mustard seed, dill seed and dill weed , garlic and food grade calcium in each jar.

will have to add more garlic this year, they weren't garlicy enough for me. and I really want to try out another liquid recipe to go on top of the cukes.


This message was edited Jun 19, 2010 8:36 AM

Sparta , TN(Zone 7a)

12 cups water

3 cups vinegar

3/4 cup pickling salt (do not substitute regular salt! You'll get dark cloudy pickles!) or 1/2 c. salt

2 cups sugar or 3/4 c. sugar

dill - several clumps of flowers and leaves

garlic cloves (optional)

sliced onions and peppers (optional)

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Sugar for dill pickles?

Sparta , TN(Zone 7a)

It's an almish recipe and i muct say it id very DILLy and good i put a full size Garlic , 2 Lg Shalots Sliced and pepper seeds in mine ...took best at the fair last year. LOL

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

They didn't taste it at the fair did they? usually they judge on looks at the fair. just wondering.

I'm not sure I want to put sugar in my dill pickle recipe though

I am growing dill, hope it's ready in time so I can use fresh dill, that might help alittle. with the taste. I used dill seed and dill weed last year. because I didn't have enough fresh to use.

peppers? jalopeno or green bell .

I've canned with jalopeno peppers in the dill recipe

Sparta , TN(Zone 7a)

Yes our judges look at apperances, taste, crispness, and over all flaver.

jalopeno not much a little to give it a bite . member there is a lot od dill,vinigar and other bitter in this recipe the suger is just a buffer to cut the edge.


Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

WEll, I might try it then, thanks Sarge.

Sparta , TN(Zone 7a)

your welcome

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

KA... have you tried making lacto-fermented dill pickles? Y'know... the old kind with salt that you leave in the crock all winter like kraut?

Sparta , TN(Zone 7a)

OOOO Granny made them ..Dont have a recipe for them ?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I have several, try to get one to you tomorrow... Right now I have grape leaves fermenting (for Greek Dolmades), plus a trial jar of sugar snaps.

Sparta , TN(Zone 7a)

MMMM think i'l come stay with you for a fe days lol
i do need a vacation he he he ... and it has been raining for days here .

were all going crazy !

The Sarge

Thumbnail by Ret_Sgt_Yates
Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

I really don't want to make that kind, i'd rather cold pack them. it's easier for me, my mom use to make them like that. I don't have any crocks to soak th epickles in either.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Yeah, most folks won't do it that way anymore. They give up all the extra nutrition from the lactic acid and extra vitamins from the fermentation in trade for ease of pickling in vinegar. Done that myself. Just not anymore.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Okay Sarge... here's a few recipes:

Lactic Acid-Fermented Cucumbers
(Per 1 Quart, recipe may be increased)

3 cups cucumbers (poked with a knitting needle to let juices mingle, if they are large, or slice lengthwise)
1 bay leaf
½ tsp pickling salt or sea salt
½ small onion, sliced in rings
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (I use more)
1 Tbs fresh horseradish root, chopped (substitute several horseradish leaves or grape leaves)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 stem fresh tarragon (French, not Mexican or Russian which taste terrible)
3-5 fresh ground coriander seeds
boiled salt water (1-1/4 Tbs per quart water) to top jar(s)

Pack the cucumbers, onion, garlic, herbs and spices in a jar, packing firmly but filling only 80%. Fill container with boiled salt water, making sure to cover the cukes by at least an inch. Use a weight. (My mother used a dinner plate, and a water-filled jar.) Cover with a cloth. Let ferment 10 days at room temperature, then remove to a cold spot (basement, garage). Check frequently to be sure pickles are still under the brine, otherwise they will spoil.

A white mold may develop on top; it is harmless.

Pickles are ready to eat after 2-3 weeks of cold storage.

Notes: When I make these in my big 3 gallon crock, I layer as if I was doing a quart at a time, just repeating everything including the grape leaves. The horseradish, whether leaves or root, give the pickles a ‘crunch’, as do grape leaves, and I use several because I love the crunch.

I also add a tablespoon (per quart) whey from strained plain yogurt. The whey has live lactobacillus cultures and helps jump-start the fermentation.

Bubbies Pickles:

1 gallon glass jar or ceramic crock
1/2 a gallon of water (tap water is fine) note: most recipes say no chlorine.

A handful of fresh, clean grape leaves, oak leaves, or cherry leaves (optional — they supply tannins to keep the pickles crunchy)

3-4 lbs of cucumbers (small to medium is ideal, but if all you have is large, cut them into spears)

6 Tbsp sea salt
2 – 3 heads of garlic, separated into cloves & peeled
3 Tbsp whole dill seed
2 Tbsp whole coriander seed
1 tsp whole mustard seed (brown or yellow, doesn’t matter)
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


Rinse the cucumbers, making sure the blossoms are removed. Soak them in very cold water for a couple hours (if they aren’t fresh off the vine within the past day or two).

In a separate clean jar (not the one you’ll be using for the pickles), dissolve the salt into the 1/2 gallon of water. (Mine didn’t quite dissolve all the way; that’s okay.) Set aside.

Into the clean, gallon jar/crock you’ll be using for the pickles, drop in the 2-3 heads’ worth of peeled garlic cloves, the dill, coriander, mustard, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. Then, put the cucumbers into the jar. If you’ve sliced large cucumbers into spears, pack the spears vertically into the jar.

Pour the salt water solution over the cucumbers.

Now, place the cleaned grape/oak/cherry leaves into the jar. My jar had a somewhat narrow mouth, so the grape leaves formed a nice “plug” over the mouth of the jar so that the cucumbers (which will rise to the top of the jar after you pack them in) didn’t go above the brine. You want your cucumbers to be completely submerged in the brine at all times. If your jar has a wide mouth, you may need to use a couple of plates to push the cucumbers down so that they’re always submerged. If the brine still doesn’t cover the cucumbers, make more brine solution using: 1 scant Tbsp sea salt to one cup of water. Cover your jar with its lid (loosely), or with a cloth to keep bugs & dust out. If you see mold growing on top, just skim it off; don’t worry if you can’t get it all. There was never any mold growing in mine (though I had the lid on the jar…maybe that helped).

Your pickles will be ready after 1-4 weeks — depending on the temperature in your house. Our pickles were ready after 10 days on the counter in our very warm apartment in late summer. Every couple days, do a taste test of your pickles. They’re ready when they taste done to you! Once they taste done, transfer the jar into the fridge to slow fermentation. Enjoy! They should last at least a month or two in the fridge, possibly longer.

Cucumbers in Jars
From Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning

Container for mixing brine
1-1/4 Tbs sea salt per qt water
2 cups boiling spring water or unchlorinated tap water (for brine)
a few black peppercorns and fennel seeds
1 Tbs mustard seeds
5-6 cloves garlic
a few onion slices
2 lbs. medium cucumbers, medium sized, freshly picked and washed
1 horseradish root, sliced (keeps cucumbers firm)
a few dill flower heads and leaves
1 horseradish leaf (or grape leaf)
1-1/2 qt sterilized jar with rubber seal and fastener (like the old fashioned jars with a rubber gasket, glass lid and metal bail)

Mix the brine in a separate container; let the salt dissolve while you fill the jar with everything else.

Place a few peppercorns, mustard seeds and fennel seeds in the bottom of the jar, along with the garlic and a few onion slices. Pierce the largest cucumbers with a fork or toothpick to help the brine penetrate.

Put the cucumbers in the jar upright and pack them tightly. As you do so, add the remaining mustard seeds, horseradish and dill leaves. Place dill flower heads on top of the cucumbers to keep them from surgacing. Cover everything with a piece of horseradish leaf that you have cut to fit the jar.

Fill the jar with the brine, making sure all ingredients are covered; stop 3/8” to ¾” below the rim to be sure the brine doesn’t overflow during fermentation. Close the jar tightly. The rubber seal should allow the release of gases built-up during fermentation.

Starting the next day, bubbles will appear and a sort of foam will form on the surface, signifying fermentation has begun. Leave the jar in the kitchen a few days, then store it in a cool place such as a cellar when the brine becomes cloudy. Wait aprox. 6 weeks before eating. A perfect way to digest a meal!
~D. Mary, Belgium

(After I open mine, I usually store in the fridge, but keeping the contents submerged and in a cool place works too.)

Ukrainian Fermented Pickles


5 pounds of small cucumbers, unwaxed and unwashed. (fresh & crisp!) (2 to 4 inches long)

1/2 head garlic
3 dried sprigs of dill weed with heads
3 grape leaves or cherry leaves (optional)
1 cup unrefined sea salt
4 quarts water (filtered)
6 peppercorns (optional)
1 gallon glass jar or crock

Soak (but do not scrub) cucumbers in very cold water for 5 minutes. Use hands to loosen any dirt.

Scald a very clean glass jar with boiling water. Place a grape leaf at the bottom and arrange cucumbers vertically in layers, inserting garlic cloves and dill weed here and there. Do not pack tightly.

Add salt to filtered or spring water and stir and dissolve. Pour brine over cucumbers and add peppercorns.

Cover with leaves and a plate and place in a cool, dark place to ferment. (Long cool fermentation creates the best tasting and best keeping dill pickles. Cover with lead-free ceramic plate and river rock on top. Cover the plate and rock with 2 inches of brine (water and sea salt). The cucumbers need to be completely submerged and weighed down, under plate and stone.

After 1 week, the cucumbers will be semi cured; some prefer them that way. However, it is only after 3-4 weeks that they become fully cured pickles (without pale areas, completely translucent green). Once a week scoop the scum (kahm yeast) that forms on top, and discard (unless you are using a Harsch crock pot that has a clever patented airlock water gutter, that prevents the scum from forming).

Pickles may be placed in smaller jars that are more convenient for storage. Scald 3 or 4 quart jars, pour off and strain pickling juice (discarding garlic and dill weed). Transfer pickles, fill quart jars with strained liquid, cover, and refrigerate.

The juice, or kvas, is never thrown out; it is used as a base for soups, borsch, or even salad dressing.

Naturally fermented pickles will keep easily for a whole year (they acquire more taste as they age). In the middle of winter they will light up your tastebuds and provide delicious fixin's for sandwiches, and keep your digestion happy.


Sparta , TN(Zone 7a)

Awesome got them copied

the Ukrainian Fermented Pickles my sis -in-law loves she is Legal by the way LOL 5 years thats where shes from her Momma sorta makes them that way. she got her a copy to cpmpair thr recipes lol


Talihina, OK

Kathy check out the Mrs. Wages display in stores here they be in every store but don't know about Arkansas I swear by her stuff

Stratford, TX(Zone 6b)

I know this is an older post, but when you say grape leaves or cherry or oak leaves, I have a sour cherry tree and some old grapevines that were planted years ago. Do I just use the leaves off of the tree, or are the leaves you refer to something special for canning?

I understand they help the pickles get crunchy, so while I have been reading alum isn't in fashion anymore, will these work as well or better?

Thanks for the awesome information!

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

I use to pick the grape leaves off my neighbors grape vine and wash them and stick one in each jar. not sure about the cherry leaves though.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I use just any grape leaves. I don't use cherry leaves as was suggested by the recipe because my old-timer neighbor says some types of cherry leaves have some cyanide in them.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)


So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Hey... I don't know that for a FACT... and I haven't checked it out since I have alternatives readily available.

St. Helens, OR(Zone 8b)

Fresh leaves of wild and/or cultivated cherries are not toxic, but they do contain a cyanide precursor and can be poisonous if the leaves are damaged. That would include wilting, scarring on downed limbs, frost damage, etc.

Livestock have been known to die from eating cherry leaves, twigs, bark. Horses are susceptible as are ruminants.

Other livestock such as pigs and sheep have died from eating cherry leaves, or parts of related fruits (leaves, pits, for example) such as peaches, apricots, etc. Even apple seeds can be harmful.

My feeling is if it can kill a horse I'm not eating it or using it in food either.

(The fruit is fine.)


Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Well, that's enough for me not to use them LOL thanks Carol!

Stratford, TX(Zone 6b)

I read on the alligator's blog that you can use currant leaves as well...and luckily for me, I have a beautiful black currant bush...are these as safe as grape leaves? I.E. no cyanide precursors?

There is so much information to absorb about head is spinning! I don't remember pharmacy school being this complicated! All the little "exceptions" to the rules...that can kill you! It is almost like pharmacy school, now that you mention it!

This is a fantastic forum, and I have learned so much just clicking and reading...thanks to all for sharing their knowledge!


Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

your lucky to have a blck currant plant. I had to dig mine up because it was getting too close tothe raspberries, and it looks kind of rough right now. hope it lives. I had no idea they sent up so many new shoots either.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Both my black currants look pitiful; the red currants may not live to Fall, and they are only 1-1/2 years in the ground.

Calabasas, CA

Kirby pickles: washed (4 lbs)
Gallon glass jar
¼ of container of pickling spice on the bottom of jar
1 head or chopped garlic on bottom of jar
Dried Crown Dry dill covering bottom of jar 3 finger oz. In plastic sandwich bag – cut 1 inch snips
Boil water (or distilled) – let cool ( not hotter than luke warm)
2 1/2 oz. (weight) kosher salt – add boiling water so as to devolve the salt first
fill jar with pickles
pour salt water in
add ½ clove of garlic to top
¼ of pickling spices to top
completely cover top of pickles with more dill
add water, leaving ½ inch from the top

to make cure faster – leave in sun 1 to 2 days ( take inside at night)

if rusty lid – place wax paper under lid

if not salty enough add 1 tablespoon of salt to juice at a time. mix until dissolved , then back into jar

if not spicy enough, add black pepper corns

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Do you know where he got the crown dill seeds? seems it's goign to be a search for those seeds to grow that kind of dill

thanks for your recipe it sounds great.

Calabasas, CA

crown dill is dill thats flowered. most dill is cut before it flowers. i got crown dill from Mellisa's produce in cali - i bought a case and had to pick it up at their warehouse, they wouldn't ship. check back in a few, i'll get the name of the grower off the box. My dill is dry, and it has lots of seeds. if you cant find any, i send you some seeds. i dont have a lot, but maybe you can plant some and get the seeds off those

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Well, I had no idea, thanks for clearing that one up lol I would have been on the hunt for crown dill seed ha.

now, tell me how you put all that dill up to keep it from ruining? I grew dill and I do pick it before it turns to seed most times cause the smell seems to be stronger then. but I didn't pick all of it and now i'm resorting to useing dill seed and weed in my jars cause i'm out of the "real " thing.

Calabasas, CA

my dad just kept it in plastic bags - once thoroughly dried. i'm thinking about storing it vacuum packed because used had some of is old stock (dry dill), and a batch of pickles turned moldy. i dont know if it was just those stalks, or it was something else.


This message was edited Oct 10, 2010 12:29 PM

Belleville, MI

Easy smeashy.............

Soak pickle cukes for an hour in ice. Cut into spears to fit in a pint jar.

Pickling mix
3 quarts water
1 quart white vinegar
3/4 cup pickling/canning salt.

Into each jar I put 1/4 tsp mustard seed, 1 full teaspoon or 2 full garlic cloves, 2 decent size fresh dill heads, and fill with spears. To keep crispness put 1/8 tsp pickle crisp or 2 grape leaves. add 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes if you like them spicier. Top to 1/2 inch with pickling mix. Hot water bath for 10 minutes. Let sit 2-3 weeks and start eating.

I do at least 50-60 jars of these every year to pack with my hubbys sandwich lunch. Quick, easy, and good. Just did the first 27 jars Friday as the picklers are coming in nicely.

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

JANET'S DILLS: Easy and delicious. I'm not Janet, she graciously shared her recipe.

Wash and soak dills in ice water. I prefer to use whole cukes but if your cukes are large you might slice them into spears. Pick them yourself if possible and go directly home to pickle (or from your own garden). Or be sure the pickles you use were picked that day. Figure about a pound of cukes per quart. A 5 gallon bucket is about 25#.

Run clean jars through dishwasher rinse cycle, leave door shut until ready to use (or fill them with hot water so jars are warm).

Boil 1 qt vinegar, 1 gal water, and 1 C non-iodized salt for brine. Keep hot. This amount will do up about 10-12 quart jars. Adjust up or down depending on how many you plan to do and what size kettle you have.

Put hot water bath on, and place lids in simmering water, so everything is hot and ready to go.

Pack each quart with: One grape leaf, dill head, 1 t pickling spice, 1-2 cloves garlic, 3-4 slices pickled or fresh jalapeno, cukes, another dill head or more on top. You can substitute dill seed but the dill heads are prettier.

Water bath 20 minutes, timing from when the jars hit the boiling water.

The grape leaf is for crispness and makes a nice presentation - it lays on the bottom of the jar and runs up the sides a bit.

I think it is important to water bath dills although many folks don't. Cucumbers are very low acid. If your vinegar:water ratio is not acidic enough, you run the risk of botulism. Not something I'm messing with.

I made fresh picking spice a couple times, which was very good, and easy to get all the ingredients at a co-op or other store with bulk spices. Best to do a week or so ahead of time to allow the mix to mellow together. Lots of recipes on-line. Here's the one I used, from 'Better Than Store-Bought' cookbook:

4 cinnamon sticks, crumbled (wrap in cloth and hit with hammer) - I may have used less, this sounds like a lot to me
1 inch piece dried ginger root, crumbled (same)
2 T mustard seeds
2 t allspice berries
2 T black pepper corns
2 t whole cloves
2 t dill seed - might add more depending on how dilly you are
2 t coriander seed
2 t whole mace, crumbled
8 bay leaves, crumbled
1 dried red papper, crumbled

As I recall (haven't done this for past couple years), I tried to get all the parts and pieces to about the same size by use of my trusty hammer or fingers. It smelled great all mixed together.

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