Garlic dill pickles with no added sweeteners was a recipe I had been trying to find. Canning pickles seemed easy enough. Yet, it was the one food I seemed to have difficulty with. My pickles would turn out mushy. We ate them anyway. But I couldn’t stand them! My parents made pickles all the time, crunchy and crisp. I was so jealous! After my mother died in 2002, my father kept canning pickles. I think he did it because it was something they did together. In 2004, he invited me to come up and can pickles with him. I was thrilled! Not just to learn how he did pickles, but that he wanted to do something special with me. Now I have his and my mother’s recipes. He would make a huge amount of pickles from the cucumbers he grew in his garden every year. He gave my brother and me a number of jars every year. Now I have to make my own, since he passed away in 2012. I have his jars, and I carry on like he taught me.
3-4″ cucumbers, remove blossom ends, about 4 quarts.
6 Tbsp. pickling salt
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1 head of dill for each jar
1 clove of garlic for each jar
You don’t have to cut the cucumbers if you don’t want to. I did. I cut them in quarters. Combine the pickling salt, vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Keep your sterilized jars hot, waiting to process the pickles. Put one dill head and one garlic clove in the bottom of each jar. Then put the cucumber, sliced or whole in the jars. Pack them in tightly, but do not let the touch the tops of the jars when you put the lids on.
Ladle the brine over the cucumbers in the jars. Leave one-half inch of headspace, but be sure to cover the cucumber in the jar. Using a wooden spoon, remove the bubbles in the jar by poking it down to the bottom. Wipe rim of jar and put a hot, sterilized lid on the top of the jar. Then fasten the rim on by screwing it down tightly. Process it in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes.
That is the basic recipe. I am not done “tweaking” it. They came out crisp and I like that. But for me, they are a tad too salty. This year, I will cut the pickling canning salt down from 6 Tbsp. to 4 or 5. The main thing I like about this recipe is that it does not use sugar. I made two different types that did not use sugar, and the other one came out mushy. So we won’t talk about that one. I am not positive if I can cut the salt down or if it will affect the pickling process. You know canning is a science, and you can screw up the final product by changing it. So I shall see this coming canning season.
The main thing is that I am trying to find a variety of canning recipes that do not use added sugar or any other type of sweetener. In jams or jellies I can use fruit juices. They will still be high carbs, but can be eaten every now and then. So far, neither of us are diabetic, so we can eat that. I have just eliminated as much as possible of the sugars, except for Stevia. I used apple juice in my peach sauce in place of sugar. But you don’t even have to do that. If you look through your canning book, you will see many recipes that really don’t need sugar at all.
When I am canning, I fill my old pressure cooker, that I don’t use for canning anymore, with hot water. Then I set my clean jars in that water and put more hot water in each jar. That way, they stay hot waiting for me to fill them. I had such a problem with keeping them hot, as I processed each one. I am not that fast! Now I just set that in the sink, and it also eliminates the mess. The other thing I do now, since my original graniteware water bath canners got rusted and sprung leaks, is to use my pressure canners for water bath canning. I just don’t fasten the lids down. Yes, the steam and water will leak out the side, and might get your stove and surrounding area a bit wet. But it cleans up!
I will give you an update on the pickles when I get a chance to experiment with making some more. I hope to get this recipe down so it will be a keeper. This year, I have made the effort to put a jar of pickles on the table with our supper, and have found it to be a good addition to our meals. Kind of like my mother’s meals. A tradition passed on.
Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole