Favorite Kosher Dills

by Lana Stuart on July 9, 2010 · 62 comments

Favorite Kosher Dills

I’ve been “puttin’ up” again, y’all! This time it was our favorite kosher dill pickles. And when I say favorite, I really mean these are a favorite. My daughter and grandson almost beg for these pickles every year. As a matter of fact, my recipe notes say that the summer before A was born, I put up 30 quarts of these dills.  By the time he was born in September over half of them were gone.

Before I get started with the recipe, I want to take a minute to mention the importance of using proper canning procedures. If you haven’t canned before, or if it’s been a while since your last canning session, please review the process and get all your equipment ready before you start.

One of the best resources for new and seasoned canners alike is the Ball Blue Book. It’s published by the people who make the Ball canning jars. It’s available in lots of locations and on the web at amazon.com.

Some other good online resources are:

The National Center for Home Food Preservation even offers a free online course in food preservation. It’s well worth the time for the amount of information you get!

Now, let’s get started making pickles!

Prepare the garlic and dill and set aside.

Prepare the cucumbers by removing 1/16 inch from the blossom end of each. You need to remove that tiny little sliver because there is an enzyme that remains in the blossom end of cucumbers which will cause your pickles to become soft while in storage. Cut into halves or quarters as you wish.

Wash your jars, lids and bands in good, hot soapy water. Rinse them well making sure all traces of soap are removed.

Set the bands aside. Place the lids in barely simmering water and leave them there until they are needed later in the process. Fill the canner with water and and bring it to the boil. I like to put my jars in the canner and let them heat up along with the water. Some people hold them in a 200 degree oven. This just works best for me. You always want to fill hot jars. Putting hot food in a cold jar can cause breakage. Likewise, putting a cold jar of food into boiling water is just asking for all your hard work to end up in the bottom of the canner.

Remember you’re working with lots of boiling water when canning. Always use a jar lifter for removing jars from the hot water to prevent scalding.

The recipe for my favorite kosher dills is simple. Cucumbers, salt, peppercorns, dill, garlic, vinegar and water. Adjust the amounts according to the number of quarts you’re making. I always make these pickles in quart jars so that I can keep the cucumber halves intact. If using pints, you’d need to cut the halves across and use only half the amounts I give for each jar.

Cucumbers, pickling type
Pickling salt
Vinegar, 5% acidity
Water
Dill seed or fresh dill heads
Black peppercorns
Garlic

For each quart of pickles, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar to the boil.

Meanwhile, in each jar place 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pickling salt, 1 tablespoon dill seed (or 3 heads fresh dill), 6 black peppercorns and 2 halved garlic cloves. Note that each dill head counts as a teaspoon of dill seed. I only had a few heads this time so I used one head of dill and 2 teaspoons of seeds in each jar.

Pack the halved or quartered cucumbers into the hot jars. Using a canning funnel, pour the boiling vinegar and water solution over the jar contents leaving 1/2 inch of headspace (the space between the top of the liquid and the top of the jar).

I realized right before I was about to put the lids and rings on that I had not included the garlic in the jars. Yikes! Just goes to show you that with this recipe it’s never too late to add an ingredient. You could even sneak a hot red pepper in there if you wanted to!

Wipe the top rim of each jar carefully with a dampened paper towel. This is to make sure that there is nothing on there which would prevent the lid from forming a complete seal. Place the lids on top of the jars and screw on the rings until just finger tight. Don’t force the rings or tighten too much. The jars have to be able to expel air during the canning process in order to create the seal.

Place the jars in the canner rack and lower them into the simmering hot water. Place the cover on the pot. Process in simmering hot water (180-185 degrees) for 15 minutes (low temp pasteurization method).

Notes about processing times: Normally, you begin timing at the point that the water has returned to the boil. However, for these pickles I use what is called the low temperature pasteurization method. This method can only be used for high acid recipes and must be monitored carefully to make sure the water remains above 180 degrees for the entire processing time.

Processing time must also be adjusted for altitude. For this recipe, the processing time is 15 minutes for altitudes from sea level to 1,000 feet, 20 minutes for altitudes from 1,001 to 6,000 feet and 25 minutes for altitudes over 6,000 feet.

Remove jars from canner, place on a clean dish towel and allow them to cool completely (24 hours recommended). After jars are completely cooled, you may remove the bands. Be sure to test for a complete seal. Any jars that failed to seal are not shelf stable but may be placed in the refrigerator. You will notice when you remove the jars from the canner that the cucumbers have become a more olive color and there is undissolved salt in the bottom of the jar. That is normal. By the time the jars have cooled overnight all the salt will have dissolved.

Store the jars in a dark, cool place. I recommend six weeks of standing time for the flavors to fully develop.

Enjoy!

Favorite Kosher Dills
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Kosher dill pickles with lots of fresh dill and garlic.
Ingredients
  • Cucumbers, pickling type Pickling salt
  • Vinegar, 5% acidity
  • Water
  • Dill seed or fresh dill heads
  • Black peppercorns
  • Garlic
Instructions
  1. Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's directions.
  2. For each quart of pickles, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar to the boil.
  3. Meanwhile, in each jar place 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pickling salt, 1 tablespoon dill seed (or 3 heads fresh dill), 6 black peppercorns and 2 halved garlic cloves.
  4. Pack halved or quartered cucumbers into jars. Pour boiling vinegar and water over cucumbers in jars. Affix the lids and rings.
  5. Process in simmering hot water (180-185 degrees) for 20 minutes (low temp pasteurization method).
  6. Remove jars from canner and allow to cool completely (24 hours recommended). Remove bands and test for complete seal. Store in a dark, cool place. Recommend six weeks of standing time for flavors to fully develop.
Notes
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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cajun Chef Ryan July 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Just in time, my friend has been canning tomatoes all week, and these dills look like they are ready to eat now!
We have cukes and tomatoes coming out of our ears from the garden and now I have to get some canning tools to complement my jars I’ve bought several months ago in getting ready.
You have pushed me to finish the project….pronto!

Bon appetit!
=:~)

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2 Lana July 9, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I’m so glad I could be your inspiration! Especially when it comes to canning. It’s just one of those skills that is now almost a lost art. I’m glad to see it making a bit of a come back!

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3 jenn (Bread + Butter) July 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm

One of these days I’ll need to learn how to pickle and can stuff. I’ve been wanting to try it out for such a long time.

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4 Lana July 9, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Give it a shot, Jenn. Get yourself a Ball Blue Book and read all the directions thoroughly before you start. You’ll enjoy it!

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5 Cristina July 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Very much enjoyed your post! Canning is an art. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing some canning, but realize now I have a lot of research and reading to do before embarking. Thank you!

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6 Lana July 9, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Just start with something easy – strawberry jam is always good for beginners. Also, Ball has a new canning “discovery” kit out now that gives you the tools and instructions you need to do your first small batch of canning. http://www.freshpreserving.com/pages/new_products/258.php

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7 Amy July 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Man I wish we lived closer to each other. I’d love to have a canning party. These are beautiful!

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8 Tracey July 9, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I am going to attempt to make these pickles, but I have what may seem like a silly question. I plan to quarter the cukes, but I have no idea how many will fit into the jar. I don’t want to buy too many, but I certainly don’t want to buy too few cukes to make a decent batch! It doesn’t have to be an exact number, since cukes may vary in size. However, it would be nice to know if 4 or 5 cukes fit in each jar. Make sense?

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9 Lana July 10, 2010 at 8:28 am

Hi Tracey! That’s a great question. When I do the pickles in halves I can fit about 6 halves into a jar. Sometimes 7 if the cukes are more slender. So I count on about 3 1/2 cukes per quart. If I have a few left over they go into the next day’s salad!

I’ve also done quarters and, if I remember correctly, they pack in better and you can get about 12-14 quartered cukes into each jar. So, still about 3 1/2 cucumbers per quart.

These are just approximations of course and depend on how slender or fat your cukes are!!

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10 Jackie August 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Not a silly question at all. It’s good to know what the yield will be so you can plan accordingly. I like to make at least a canner full (7 qt. jars) so I roughly figure that it takes 1 to 1 and 1/4 lbs of cucumbers to fill a qt jar. I like to keep canning notes from year to year and include how many lbs I started with and what the yield was. Also, how tightly the cucumbers are packed will affect how much brine is used (tightly packed = less brine)
This is almost the exact same recipe I’ve used for years. I love the tip Lana included about cutting off the blossom end. I had a soft batch last year and didn’t know why until now! I use half the salt amount as I prefer less salty and more tangy.
Good luck!

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11 Amanda July 9, 2010 at 10:36 pm

I LOVE you for posting this! I’ve just canned for the first time, as you know, with my cherry pie filling. :) I have always wanted to make pickles, and my daughter is obsessed with these jars of Dilly Beans (green beans) at the grocery store. I refuse to buy them because they are almost $8 a jar! :-O So I’ve been wanting to make both.

I do have a question, as I noticed this with the cherry pie filling recipe too. I noticed that your instructions say to remove the bands after they’ve cooled overnight. Why do the bands need to be removed?

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12 Lana July 10, 2010 at 8:32 am

Hi Amanda! You don’t *have* to remove the bands but it’s recommended by most canners for two reasons. If you leave the bands on you can’t see as easily if a jar has lost its seal during storage. And, second, if you live in a humid climate the bands have a tendency to rust. If you leave them on and they rust it’s difficult to open your jar later on. If you remove them, dry them well and store them, they can be reused over and over for years!

Honestly, a lot of times I don’t remove the bands. I think the jars look “naked” without them :-)

BTW – I have a great USDA-approved canning recipe for Dilly Beans if you want it. Just email me.

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13 Pam July 10, 2010 at 1:02 am

These look delicious! I’m still eating last year’s cukes and just starting to pick this year’s. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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14 Trish July 10, 2010 at 9:04 am

this recipe sounds a lot like one that a friend gave me – she got it from a friend 40 years ago. One difference is that my recipe calls for a dried chile in each jar. It adds a wonderful subtle smoky heat to the pickles.

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15 Lana July 10, 2010 at 10:18 am

Trish – You can add a chili to the jar if you like. You’re right – it adds a nice little smoky heat to the pickles.

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16 Pam aka Bored Cook July 10, 2010 at 9:58 am

Once after hubby and I first married (17 years ago) I got into my head I wanted to make rasberry jam. I bought everything and read up on it, and made that jam. It was definitely a project, but I really enjoyed doing it. I’ve never canned anything since then. Why?

Back then, the directions I had for the jam had me use the wax on the tops. I don’t see that much anymore. Is it something only used for certain foods, or just a process only some people choose to use.

BTW, I have a ton of Ball canning jars that I use for storage, mixing marinades and dressings, etc. I love canning jars.

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17 Lana July 10, 2010 at 10:20 am

Hi Pam – The wax seal, like the inversion method, is an old technique that is not recommended any longer. The wax seals just didn’t hold well. The wax tended to shrink away from the sides of the jars letting bacteria and who knows what into the product. All jams and jellies should be processed using modern lids and rings.

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18 Pam aka Bored Cook July 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

That explains why I haven’t seen anyone using it. Like I said it was 17 years ago…and now I feel old. LOL

I may have to try my hand at canning again. Now I wish I grew some pickling cucumbers.

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19 Spruce Hill July 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

Mmm they look so good! Reminds me of the pickles I used to make for the 4-H fair when I was a little girl!

http://sprucehill.typepad.com/

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20 Sues July 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Mmmm! I have another type of jarred pickles bookmarked right now, but these might be even better. They’re so beautiful-looking too! Great gift idea :)

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21 Lana July 11, 2010 at 11:34 am

They do make great gifts if you can manage to keep from eating them all first!

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22 clive July 11, 2010 at 11:11 am

for clarification…..regular cucumbers or the ‘kirby’ type? many thanks…this post has my mouth watering! btw, if I do make them i have no idea how im going to keep my paws off for 6 weeks. isnt that considered cruel and unusual punishment??

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23 Lana July 11, 2010 at 11:36 am

clive – These are the kirby-type cucumbers. They usually labeled “pickling cucumbers” in the market. They’re the best for making pickles.

My daughter agrees with you that it’s cruel to have to wait six weeks. But, for good flavor, you do need to wait. I usually make them and don’t tell her I did them until weeks later :-)

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24 Drick July 11, 2010 at 11:27 am

these look and sound just perfect, I can see why they are a favorite… I cannot find good cucumbers for pickling around these parts, gonna have to find a source further away I guess as I am itching to put up all kinds of pickles – do the squash, okra and green beans along with relishes, but no cukes….

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25 Lana July 11, 2010 at 11:37 am

Hi Drick. I got my cucumbers at the farmers market. They actually came from North Carolina but there are lots to be found around here. Hope you come up with some soon! I haven’t done my okra pickles yet. I’m waiting for an order of dill seeds from Penzey’s. Used up all I had stored from last year’s dill harvest. That’s one thing that I can’t find around here!

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26 sippitysup July 13, 2010 at 12:04 pm

The great pics and thorough explanations almost make me feel brave enough to try canning myself. GREG

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27 Lana July 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Greg, If I can do it anyone can! Although I have been canning for a long time (about 35 years) it is not so intimidating as you might think. Start with something very simple, like strawberry jam, to get an understanding of the basics. Purchase a Ball Blue Book and follow its instructions carefully and you’ll be canning in no time!

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28 Tien July 14, 2010 at 5:53 am

I am watching my cucumbers to turn into pickles. Thank you for sharing this recipe. -Tien

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29 Candice Buchanan July 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I am going to learn to can just so I can make these! I am so excited – I have several people to teach me! THese look so delicious – thanks for sharing your secrets!

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30 Jessica J July 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I just made these a few days ago. First of all, your recipe and pictures are so helpful! This was my first time canning alone and it was easy. These pickles are so gorgeous my husband couldn’t wait the 6 weeks to try them. He has stated that we are never buying store bought pickles again! Thank you for a fabulous recipe—I look forward to trying more!

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31 Happier Than A Pig in Mud August 4, 2010 at 5:43 am

Hi! I stopped over from One Perfect Bite, you have a beautiful tutorial here! I do some canning, and will copy your recipe for next time. We’ve had an unusually dry, hot summer here in Philly and my cukes did not do so well-but there’s always next year:@)

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32 foodlvr August 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Thanks for the lesson in canning pickles. I only like half sour pickles and pickled asparagus and green beans. I’ve tried pickling watermelon rind unsuccessfully – no one liked it. I’ve also made quick pickled onions with some success. I am going to ACE next weekend and buying the 2 gadgets I need to do canning. Thanks alot.

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33 Lana August 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm

You’re welcome! If you’re new to canning, the best thing you can purchase is a copy of the Ball Blue Book. It gives step-by-step instructions and has lots of recipes, too.

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34 Kris July 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I was just wondering if you would know whether fresh dill could be substituted for the dill seed or dill heads? Thanks!

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35 Lana July 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Sure. I can’t give you an exact amount, though. You’ll have to use your own judgment.

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36 Trish July 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm

if you don’t have seed heads, dill seed works best. I got it online in bulk.

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37 Lana July 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Yes, I purchase dill seed online from Penzey’s. They have great service and wonderful products.

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38 Jackie August 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Thanks for mentioning cutting off the blossom end of the cucumber. I didn’t realize it contained an enzyme that could make the pickles soften. I’ve never had any problems getting crisp pickles until last year. I didn’t actually cut off the ends, but “scrubbed” them off while washing. Last year, I had family members “helping” and I didn’t specifically mention cutting or scrubbing the ends . . . soft pickles for the first time!
I have been in the habit of using distilled water as we used to have well water and I was warned that water, whether private well or chlorinated tap water, can effect the final product. I’m not sure this is true, I just never wanted to take a chance!

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39 Ryan September 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Thank you for these very easy to follow instructions. I made my first batch of pickles tonight and followed your recipe. Thank you so much! It was so easy.

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40 RecipeNewZ (@RecipeNewZ) June 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Oh my, these look perfect!

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41 Bonibelle July 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Wondering if you have to boil the jars for the refrigerator pickles….and can you use Kosher coarse salt? Thanks, Bonibelle

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42 Lana July 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Bonibelle – For refrigerator storage, you don’t have to boil to the jars but I think it’s a good idea if you’re going to be storing them for more than a couple of days. And, yes, you can use Kosher salt in these.

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43 janb August 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I just made these and they are great but my palate is sensitive to salt, can I adjust the salt in the recipe?

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44 Lana August 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Yes, of course! Feel free to adjust the salt to suit your tastes. It doesn’t act as a preservative in this recipe, only for flavoring.

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45 janb August 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I will add just a tablespoon of salt to each jar in the recipe. I did add a small sprig of dill to each jar as well. They really are delicious! Thanks!

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46 Scott June 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I am a novice to pickling so I wanted to begin with refrigerated pickles. Can the kisher pickle recipe be used for refrigeration?

What are the differences between canned and refrigerated, except for shelf life?

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47 Lana Stuart June 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Scott, you can use this recipe to make refrigerator pickles if you want to. You just don’t do the canning steps and the pickles must be stored in the refrigerator. The canning process seals the jars and makes the product shelf stable without refrigeration. You refrigerator pickles will actually be crisper because they won’t have been heated for as long.

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48 Kim July 13, 2013 at 7:57 am

I have read where you need to soak cucumbers in cold water for 4-5 hours before canning them to keep them crisp…is this true? If so do you soak them whole and then cut them afterwards? Thank you…looking forward to trying these this week!

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49 Lana Stuart July 13, 2013 at 9:33 am

Kim, some recipes do call for letting the cucumbers stand covered by ice before processing. The recipe I recently posted for Bread and Butter pickles does. I’ve never seen that it made much of a difference myself.

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50 amy July 28, 2013 at 6:14 pm

this is the 2nd year in a row that I’m using this recipe for the cucumbers I grew, and as I was checking it to start a batch today, I thought I should take a moment to thank you for sharing it. they’re delicious & so simple to make- we’re never buying pickles again! :)

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51 Lana Stuart July 28, 2013 at 9:08 pm

You’re welcome, Amy! It really pleases me to know that your family enjoys these as much as mine does.

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52 Erik August 12, 2013 at 12:43 am

Just a curiosity…. What makes these pickles KOSHER? Is there a difference between dill pickles and Kosher dill Pickles? Perhaps the process? the ingredients? the flavor???? I would appreciate any education you can give me.

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53 Lana Stuart August 12, 2013 at 7:16 am

Erik – Kosher just means that garlic is added to the pickling mixture. It has nothing to do with Jewish dietary law and shouldn’t be confused with food prepared in the kosher manner.

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54 Deb August 30, 2013 at 8:37 am

Hi Lana,
I read through this recipe and thought it sounded great. I’ve canned my own pickles before but not for a couple of years now and couldn’t find my recipe. I loved the ease of yours but have to say that the pickles came out extremely SOUR. I followed directions to a “T” and used good quality Heinz vinegar with the proper acidity. I don’t understand why they came out so terribly sour. The cukes were small to med, fresh and of good quality. After opening the first jar I now need to put a teaspoon of sugar into the opened jar and let them set in the fridge for a day or so before we can eat them. That seems to help cut the sourness. Any idea of what happened?

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55 Lana Stuart August 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Deb – I’m really sorry the pickles didn’t turn out like you expected. This is our family’s favorite kosher dill recipe that I’ve been making for at least 15 years. It’s really hard to say what happened without having been there. But I do know that different varieties of cucumber will give you a different taste and texture in the finished pickles.

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56 Holly R July 26, 2014 at 9:16 am

These look beautiful! Do you use white vinegar or apple cider-or does it matter?

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57 tabatha August 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm

hi, im so happy i found your sight! this is our first year doing a garden, and im starting to harvest some of our veggies now…we have alot of pickling cucumber and english cuc’s that we planted…my daughter and i have just finished our official first batch of pickles! can hardly wait to see how they taste! i so love the “sour” type of pickles and im hopefull this recipe will do it…thanks so much

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