In 2021 when I really started my food journey, I had decided I was going to make my own pickles. Here in the United States, our government agencies (USDA and FDA, to name a couple) allow so many ingredients into our food that they classify as ‘safe’, but they are so bad for our health. Pickles are no exception, and since I love them, I knew it would be best to just can my own pickles to have year-round. I started the search for an easy pickle recipe and came across a couple of tips on my way. I cannot wait to share this easy pickle recipe with you so you can also share it with your friends. Remember, once you know better, you can do better, and that is where everyone’s food journey starts.
While searching for a low sugar recipe, I came across several people complaining about losing the crisp texture to the pickles as they did the canning recipes. I continued my search while also stumbling upon a friends post on Instagram about an experiment she was doing with her pickles to see if they would be able to keep the crispy texture. I knew I had to try her method once I found the recipe I wanted to use. Below is a combination of her experiment with an easy pickle recipe to follow.
If you would like to check out her post on Instagram, you can visit it here @heritageacreshomesteadchas
Be sure to use the freshest pickling cucumbers you can. Ideally, you want them picked the same day or the night before. You also don’t want them to get too big because you will lose the crispiness as the cucumbers get bigger. This recipe calls for about 15-20 cucumbers depending on the size, but you can always scale down the ingredients to match the amount you have.
As soon as you get your cucumbers, be sure to give them a good washing in very cold water. Then you are going to want to cut the blossom end off as soon as possible. I just go ahead and slice them while I am at it. Place your slices in a big bowl and fill it with ICE water and a few tablespoons of good salt (Redmonds is my favorite). Leave the cucumbers in the ice bath for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. This seems to be the trick in helping lock in the crispness of the cucumbers (along with another trick).
Once you are ready to can your pickles, remove them from the ice water and rinse them very well. Set them aside as you get your jars ready and your canning bath water started. This recipe normally makes around 5-6 quarts for me, but it’s all going to depend on the size of your cucumbers and the amount you were able to pick. The ingredients below, including the brine, are all super simple, so I hope you enjoy.
– 15-20 pickling cucumbers (not too big)
– 2 bulbs garlic
– 5-6 tsp dill seeds
– 5-6 tsp mustard seeds
– 8 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
– 8 cups water
– 3/4 cup canning salt
In a large pot, bring the brine ingredients to a low simmer until the salt has dissolved. While it is warming up, make sure your jars are clean and go ahead and fill them with your cucumbers. This should give you a good idea of the amount of other ingredients you are going to need. I pack my cucumbers in as tightly as I can, and then I add the other ingredients on top.
With your jars packed, go ahead and add 1 tsp of each dill seeds and mustard seeds to each jar. Depending on how many garlic gloves you got from your bulbs, I try and put 3-5 gloves in each jar. Once you have your jars packed, your brine should be ready. Be sure to give it a good stir and use a ladle and funnel to fill your jars with the brine leaving around 3/4-1 inch headspace. Take a butter knife and gently remove any air bubbles that might have got trapped in the jars. (Do this by gently sliding the knife down each side of the jar to release any bubbles.) After releasing the bubbles, check your brine level, and if need be, top off your jars to that 3/4-1 inch headspace again.
Wipe your rims and place your lids and rings on your jars like normal. Now this is the next trick that goes with this recipe to help your pickles keep that crispiness…only process them for 5-10 minutes. You do not want to ‘cook’ the cucumbers, but you want to process them just long enough to seal your jars. I know some seasoned canners might not think this time is long enough, but sometimes you have to be a rebel to get the results you are looking for. If you feel more comfortable processing them for a longer amount of time and the crispiness is not a big deal for you, then go for it! These are your pickles after all, and I want you to enjoy them.
Like normal, after your processing time is up, gently remove your jars from the water bath and let them cool on a towel or cooling rack on the counter out of any drafts. Once your jars cool, be sure they all sealed, label them appropriately and be sure to store them in a dark, cool spot until you are ready to pop them open for a BBQ or snack. I hope you enjoy this easy pickle recipe as much as I do.