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When I was a little girl growing up, I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with my grandparents. Especially Grandma and Grandpa Johnson. Being the eldest of the grandkids I feel I reaped the rewards and benefits of having their undivided attention.
As I got older, I would get to spend weekends with them at their home on the canal. Part of the joy and fun for me was that I could practically eat whatever I wanted! At that time I loved peanut butter and giant dill pickles – still do. My grandparents had giant gallon-sized jars of each in their home any time I came to visit – all the way into my adulthood. Lord only knows where they purchased jars of that size. It wasn’t like there were a Costco or Sam’s Club back then.
My ever thrifty grandma taught me a trick with the dill pickles. Once we had eaten all of the dill pickles grandma would keep the gallon-sized jars, leaving the remaining brine inside. She would add more garlic, dill, spices and vinegar to the jar. She would then cram as many whole Kirby cucumbers from grandpa’s garden as she could in the jar. She would leave the jar out on the kitchen counter to cure for a couple days before refrigerating. Her pickles were always crispy, garlicky and delicious.
I was reminded of her method as I was looking through my own recipes. This is my best recollection and recreation of My grandmother Bessie’s Pickles. I decided to quarter and slice my pickles so that more would fit into the jars.
I contacted the Natural Center for Home Food Preservation. I just wanted to be sure that this method of pickling was safe and sanitary. I was told that this was an excellent way to pickle
- 20 Kirby cucumbers - sliced or quartered into spears
- Large bunch of fresh dill
- 2 heads of garlic
- 2 cups White vinegar - divided
- Pickling spices
In each clean Mason jar:
Add a heaping teaspoonful of pickling spices.
Add 6 - 8 cloves of unpeeled garlic (I used 10) that have been sliced up but not cut through
Pack your cucumbers into the jar - I was able to fit 5 after they were cut
Add the fresh dill - 1/4 of the bunch or more to your taste
Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar
In a measuring cup add 1 cup of very hot tap water and dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt. Pour the salt water over your pickles. Keep doing this until your Mason jars are filled and the cucumbers are completely covered.
Cover with lids.
Leave on the kitchen counter for two days. Then refrigerate.
Added garlic – you can see how I cut through the cloves.
Quartering the cucumbers into spears. You can see the sliced cucumbers in the background.
All bottled up 🙂
Thanks for indulging my nostalgic food journey…a happy trip down memory lane.
Can’t wait to eat them. These pickles are safe to eat for months to come – trust me, that won’t last that long.
I’ve been looking for a good dill pickle recipe, and these look easy. One question: what size jars are you using? Quart? Sorry if you said and I missed it.
Hey Cat – I apologize for the jar size omission…yes, the recipe makes enough pickles for 4 quart-sized Mason jars. I hope you try my grandmothers recipe and let us know how the dill pickles turned out. Enjoy!
Vicki and Jennifer