So apparently I've been bragging about my mother's pickle recipe too much, because everyone wants it! As far as I know it's not a family secret, so here it is!
For the jars:
- clean cucumbers (the smaller, the better. If they're bigger than 1" in diameter, slice them lenthwise)
- dill (the heads are great for this)
- garlic (one clove per jar)
- hot peppers (optional)
12 cups of water
3 cups of pickling vinegar
1 cup pickling salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1) Sterilize your jars. There are a few ways to do this.
OPTION 1) Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse, then keep in a hot oven until you're ready to use them.
OPTION 2) Pour boiling water into the jars, about half full. Let it sit until you're ready.
OPTION 3) This is my lazy option for when I'm going to be using a boiling water bath anyway. Just stick the jars in the pot and bring to a boil.
2) Sterilize your lids. Pop them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them.
3) Bring the brine to a boil and keep at a simmer until the jars are ready.
4) Fill your jars with cucumbers, a head of dill, a small hot pepper, and one clove of garlic.
5) Pour hot brine over cucumbers until you are halfway up the neck of the jar.
6) Place jars in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes. It's beneficial to put a pan with a bit of water in the oven, I believe it keeps the jars from cracking.
7) Take jars out of the oven and let them cool completely. Make sure the jars are sealed before storing them. Give them at least a couple weeks to cure, then enjoy!
We buy the big bags of mini-dukes from the farmer's market in August, and 2 bags + one recipe of brine will give us 12 jars. However, my husband is a superstar pickle packer, so you might end up with a couple more jars and needing a bit more brine if you don't get yours packed quite as tight. If you want to add some fun stuff to your jars, we'll often add beans, carrots, and even snap peas to the jars just to make them completely full.