I love my aunt’s old-fashioned homemade refrigerator dill pickles. While I was in Oklahoma, she made a few jars so I could share our family’s secret recipe with you.
This recipe for dill pickles has been in my family for many years. Aunt Tricia said that over time, she and my Uncle have added their own touches and ingredients. I swear, they are the best pickles I have ever eaten!
Selecting Cucumbers for Pickling
Select very firm cucumbers. Do not buy commercially waxed cucumbers, they will not pickle properly. I recommend shopping at an organic grocery store or your local farmer’s market.
My aunt’s cucumbers are “National Pickling” cucumbers, they are irregular shaped and bumpy. She recommends using whole cucumbers for crisper pickles. They pick their cucumbers small just for pickling. Pickling cucumbers are often sold as “Kirby” or “Liberty” cucumbers.
- 2 quarts Water
- 1 quart White Vinegar
- 1 Cup Pickling Salt (*makes enough liquid for six 1 quart jars)
- 4-6 Cloves of Garlic Chopped (about 2 cloves per jar)
- 1 Onion Chopped (a small handful per jar)
- Fresh Dill
- Peppercorns (4 per jar)
- Ball Pickle Crisp (1/8 tsp per jar)
- Grapevine Leaf – one per jar (optional – it’s supposed to make the pickles crisp.)
*Note: Old-fashioned pickle recipes often call for Alum. Alum is a salt compound with varied uses from shrinking tissues, acting as a preservative, and helping to firm and crisp pickles. Alum contains aluminum which is linked to toxic effects if it is consumed in a large amount over time. However, most people do not eat large amounts of pickles. An updated alternative to Alum for making pickles crisp is Calcium Chloride. Ball has a product called Pickle Crisp, made with Calcium Chloride, that is supposed to work great.
If you want to omit this part of the recipe, I have read where soaking cucumbers in ice water for four to five hours before pickling is another way of making pickles crisp.
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Directions for Making Homemade Dill Pickles
Wash the cucumbers before canning by rinsing in water.
Sanitize your jars and lids. Clean jars with hot water and soap. My aunt placed her lids in boiling water and took them out gently with tongs.
Combine water, vinegar and salt to a pan and heat to nearly boiling. This makes the brine. The recipe says “Heat mixture just hot enough to put finger in.”
Add garlic, onions, Alum or Pickle Crisp (which ever one you prefer), fresh dill, 4 peppercorns and one grapevine leaf (optional) into a jar.
The recipe has no exact measurements for these items. You can see the amount my Aunt used in the jars here.
Pack cucumbers into the jars.
Use a funnel to pour the liquid mixture over the cucumbers in the jar.
Seal the lids on the jars and let them cool.
After the jars have cooled, place in the refrigerator for about 2 months to pickle before eating.
If you make these pickles, let me know!
Find more recipe ideas on my Free Meal Plans section.
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