Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Garlic Dill Pickles
People have all sorts of expectations from a dill pickle. There are the crisp and sour pickles, the pickles that sidle up to a corned beef on rye at the deli. For so many of you, that is the one and only true dill: the sour, or half-sour, dill. This is not a sour dill. It is a vinegar dill: the pickle that belongs on a hamburger, in spears next to a tuna melt, or fried, on a stick, at a county fair. These are lip-puckering, eye-scrunching pickles, and they should be served ice cold. Because these pickles want to float in the brine, opt for regular, not wide-mouth, jars; the shoulders help hold the pickles down in the brine. To make the most of the jar space, purchase small Kirby cucumbers; if there are only larger pickles at the market, consider cutting them into spears, chunks or chips. Reprinted from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving by Cathy Barrow. Copyright © 2014 by Cathy Barrow. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
- ¾ cup kosher or pickling salt
- 14 cups unchlorinated water
- 8 cups ice cubes
- 4 pounds small (Kirby) cucumbers, well washed
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and root end trimmed
- 4 ounces fresh dill with seed heads or ¼ cup dill seeds
- 4 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
- Combine half the salt and 8 cups of the water in a 5-quart nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Add the ice. When the brine is completely cool, add the cucumbers and place a plate on top to keep them submerged. Brine in a cool spot for 12 hours.
- Drain and rinse the cucumbers. Cut a small slice from each cucumber end; or cut into 1-inch chunks or quarter lengthwise. Pack the cucumbers into the jars, fitting them in like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, as tightly as possible. Tuck one-quarter of the fresh dill (or dill seeds) and mustard seeds into each jar.
- In a 5-quart nonreactive pot bring the remaining salt, the white vinegar, the remaining 6 cups water and the garlic cloves to a boil. Cover the cucumbers with the hot brine, adding 1 garlic clove to each jar, and leaving ½-inch headspace. Clean the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place the lids and rings on the jars and finger-tighten the rings. Process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes.
- Let the pickles cure for 1 month, then chill thoroughly before serving. The pickles are shelf stable for 1 year.