Crisp and crunchy, these GARLIC DILL PICKLES are perfect with a favourite sandwich, served with a flavourful roasted meat or simply on their own.
This recipe, in particular, has made the rounds amongst friends and loved ones and been the subject of many a conversation. The pickles deliver such memorable flavours while holding their shape and stellar appearance. Prepare to feel really proud of the accomplishment of making something so delicious!
Why is this GARLIC DILL PICKLES recipe so perfect? We think it’s how they walk the proverbial fine line of being crisp yet crunchy, with a uniform texture through the entire pickled cuke - no one’s a fan of mushy-centred pickles. We also love the big finish where the pickles release that perfect balance of vinegary tang that brings out the best flavours of the cucumbers slightly scented with garlic and pepper. The objective: a joy-inducing moment when you take your first bite.
Here’s what to expect and consider when preparing them:
CANNING - The process of canning vegetables is always a rewarding endeavour. We suggest you head HERE to read our post about canning. You can also click HERE to watch the video of us making another fabulous recipe, our BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES.
CUCUMBERS - We’ve said it before - every great pickle recipe begins with great cucumbers. We used #2 Kirby’s for this recipe and they’re perfect. Kirby cucumbers are known for their crunchiness and the number 2 refers to their size, about 2-inches in length. Since this pickle recipe yields whole pickles as opposed to slices or spears, we think this the ideal size.
Look for #2 Kirby’s at a local farmstand or farmer’s market, but you may even find them occasionally in a larger supermarket during the late summer pickling season.
Regarding quantity, we purchased a half-bushel of cucumbers and ended up with 15, 1-quart jars. That represents some serious good eats for a bit of hard work.
SIZING - This was the first time that Carol and I made DILL PICKLES together. She was busy working on preparing the dill weed and garlic while I washed the cucumbers (BTW, it’s essential that your cucumbers are thoroughly washed before you begin the recipe). She was particularly interested in why I took the extra time to organize the cucumbers by size.
Although I’d purchased #2s, the cucumbers still varied a bit in size. Sorting them into tiny, medium and full size helps when you go to stuff them into the sterilized jars. Stuffing the jars is kind of like a pickling puzzle where you need the perfect sized cucumber to fit somewhere. Having them sized in advance helps.
THE BRINE - We always suggest using pickling vinegar instead of white vinegar for canning recipes; the higher percentage of acetic acid is essential for shelf-stable canning. We also used pickling salt for this recipe and I did take my sister Dana’s advice and added just a smidge of sugar - old family secret, apparently! The sugar doesn’t make the brine sweet, but I do think it takes some of the edge off the vinegar.
DILL, GARLIC AND PEPPERCORNS - Using conventionally grown fresh dill found in the herb section of a supermarket won’t cut it. Look for dill weed at the market when you purchase your cucumbers. It’s important to work with the head of the dill plant, and also add in a few bits of the dill stalk for an added flavour boost.
I’ve learned not to be bashful when adding the sliced garlic to the jars, they are garlic dills after all. The peppercorns also add a subtle spiciness to the pickles.
BIRD’S EYE CHILI PEPPERS - On a whim, I decided to add whole bird’s eye chili peppers to some of the jars, and in retrospect, I’m glad I did. It’s always fascinating to experiment and try new things whenever we’re testing a recipe.
I was thinking the added heat of the peppers may create an entirely new taste sensation and was I ever right. The pickles made with the peppers are awesome and I suggest you follow my lead and add a pepper into a few of your jars. Let us know what you think in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
THE WAIT - Here’s the tough part - as all expert home canners will tell you, wait three weeks before you open a jar and try the fruits of your pickling labour. It gives the pickles a chance to mature in their salty brine but also gives you a chance to work on your list of who’ll you’ll be giving a jar of your very own GARLIC DILL PICKLES too.
Enjoy these pickles alongside our PEACHES AND CREAM PANINI, our CLASSIC DAGWOOD SANDWICH or our SIRLOIN ROAST. They’ll be perfect with each and all.
GARLIC DILL PICKLES - it’s crunch time for this beloved condiment!
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