My husband loves pickles. I don’t even eat them. But since we have a pretty great farmer’s market near our house and they had cucumbers for canning 4 for $1.00 this week I bought 8 pounds of them to turn into pickles.
Last year I canned bread and butter pickles which Frank declared were way too sweet. They did have 2 cups of sugar in them so I believe it. My little cousins thoroughly enjoyed them though so they ended up with several pints of them. This time I wanted to make dill pickle spears because that is what I normally buy for him in the market and they have a minimal amount of sugar in them and a lot of vinegar.
This canning project was much easier then many of the others because I didn’t have to do anything to the cumbers except for cut them. The recipe said to halve the cucumbers but I ended up quartering the bigger ones so they fit better in the jar. They went into the boiling water canner looking like cucumbers in a water bath and they came out looking like pickles in the greenish juice they come in.
My husband liked these pickles a lot. He thought they were just a touch sweet and tasted like a good dill pickle should.
Dill Pickle Spears (recipe adapted from Ball’s Blue Book Guide to Preserving)
8 lb. 4-6 inch cucumbers, cut into halves or quarters
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. salt
1 1/2 qt. white vinegar
1 qt. water
4 T. Ball Mixed Pickling Spice
5 T. dry dill
5 garlic clove, minced
5 Bay leaves
Ball Pickle Crisp
2. Wash the cucumbers and drain.
3. In a large pot combine the sugar, salt, vinegar, and water. Tie the pickling spices in a spice bag or cheesecloth and add to the vinegar mixture. Simmer for 15 minutes. (The water will turn a darker yellow/brown color.)
4. Meanwhile, add 1 minced garlic clove and 1 Bay leaf to each hot jar. Pack the cut cucumbers into the jar, filling it until no more cucumbers fit in the jar. Sprinkle the tops of the cucumbers with the dry dill.
5. Remove the spice bag from the vinegar mixture and ladle the hot liquid over the cucumbers in the jar. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Add a teaspoon of Pickle Crisp to each jar.
6. Remove any air bubbles from the jar. Put on the 2 piece lid and screw to finger tip tight. Heat in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes with the lid on. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool for 12 hours then check to make sure the lids have sealed. Store for up to 1 year.
**This recipe makes 5 quarts**