Check out our family’s favorite dill pickles! Packed with garlic and fresh dill, these crisp dill pickles will add a boost of flavor to any meal. This Czech recipe has been passed down through our family for generations.
As the summer heats up, cucumber plants produce loads of cucumbers, so making dill pickles becomes a frequent activity in our family for several weeks out of the summer.
Some of my favorite memories of visiting my Grandma every summer were the sights and smells of garden vegetables being canned in her kitchen. My grandpa would grow a huge garden throughout the year, and there were always things to be done to preserve the harvest. One of the largest crops were cucumbers! So, many summer days were spent packing jars with cucumbers for pickles.
These pickles are packed with garlic and fresh dill! The brine in these pickles is more mellow because the vinegar to water ratio is lower. We prefer less sour pickles so that’s one of the reasons we like it so much.
Use small pickling cucumbers for these dill pickles. Pickling cucumbers are small and firm, and have very small seeds. As a result, this type of cucumber stands up well to pickling and stays crisp. Try Boston Pickling Cucumbers or Chicago Pickling Cucumbers.
Did you know that grape leaves help keep dill pickles crunchy?
We usually pick grape leaves off of local vines that grow wild in our area. Grapes leaves are important for making pickles because they release tannins which keep the pickles crisp. You can find fresh grape leaves on Etsy as well as other online grocers.
Garlic is one of the shining stars in this recipe. Make sure to use firm fresh cloves of garlic. We usually cut the garlic cloves in half which releases more garlic flavor into the pickles.
If you like dill pickles a little spicy, add ¼ to ½ of a fresh jalapeno to each jar. This is optional in the recipe.
You should also try my Pickled Okra! They’re crunchy and taste like pickles…without the sliminess!
- 9 cups water
- 2 cups white vinegar
- ½ cup pickling salt
- 6+ pounds of pickling cucumbers, enough to fill jars
- 9 quart jars for canning
- 18 grape leaves
- 18 cloves garlic, peeled
- 18 dill sprigs or 9 large dill heads that have gone to seed
- 9 fresh jalapenos, halved, optional
- Wash cucumbers with cold water and place on paper towels to drain. Trim a tiny sliver off of each end of the cucumbers.
- Prepare 9 quart jars for canning. Tightly pack rinsed cucumbers into clean jars.
- Add 1 halved fresh peppers to each jar, with 2 cloves of garlic, 2 grape leaves and 1 to 2 large sprigs of dill per jar.
- Bring water, vinegar, and salt to a boil. Pour over cucumbers, filling to within ¼ inch of the jar top. Run a butter knife down between the cucumbers and jar to remove any air bubbles and to make sure the liquid is covering everything completely.
- Wipe off rims of filled jars with a clean damp kitchen towel, then firmly screw on lids with screw bands.
- Place sealed jars in canner or pot and add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered. Boil, covered for 10 minutes, then transfer jars with jar tongs to a towel-lined surface to cool. Jars will seal (you will hear pings, which indicate that the jars are sealed. You will notice that the lid is concave).
- After jars have cooled, for 24 hours, press center of each lid to check if it’s concave. If it goes back and forth, then the lid did not seal and the contents need to be refrigerated and eaten within a week.
- Let dill pickles stand in jars at least 4 weeks before eating.