I put all my jars into the dishwasher and ran them through a cycle while I washed and prepared my cukes, pickling liquid and water canning system. I left the smallest cucumbers whole, halved the next bigger sizes and quartered the largest of them. I mixed together water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a large pot and then added a sachet of pickling spices.
I have found that using a coffee filter for the sachet is easier than using cheesecloth.
Just put your pickling spices inside and tie it up with kitchen twine.
It works perfectly.
Bring the pickling liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. While the pickling liquid is simmering, pack the pickles into the prepared jars. Fill the jars with the pickling liquid leaving 1/4" head space and process in a water canning system for 15 minutes.
During the processing of my first batch of pickles, 2 of my jars broke for some reason. I am not sure if they were just old, if they had defects or if I allowed them to cool too much before the water canning process.
This, of course, put me in quite the pickle, because now I had to wait for the water to cool so I could remove the broken jars, ruined pickles and pieces of glass. I had to wait until the following day to finish up my dill pickling project. Luckily when I got back to them the entire process ran smoothly. I was able to finish off the dill pickles and make a couple of quarts of refrigerator pickles as well.
adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving
8 lbs pickling cucumbers, washed and drained
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. canning salt
4 c. water
4 c. white vinegar
3 T. pickling spices
Place pickling spices into a coffee filter and tie shut with kitchen twine. Place sugar, salt, water, vinegar and pickling spice sachet into a large pot and bring to a boil, stir to dissolve sugar and salt, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
While pickling liquid is simmering pack pickles into prepared quart jars. You can leave the cucumbers whole or cut them according to size. When you think you have all the pickles in that you can fit, shake the jar and put in a few more, leaving 1/4" headspace. Place a head or two of dill into each jar and then ladle in the hot liquid to cover, leaving 1/4" headspace.
Process using the water canning system for 15 minutes. This recipe makes approx. 5 qts of pickles.
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