Since I finally had a good crop of pickling cucumbers, I decided to make a variation of my family’s homemade garlic dill pickles recipe. These flavorful pickles are the perfect side to any potluck, family gathering, or burgers. This recipe includes instructions for canning, because pickles are easy to can at home for a year’s supply of deliciousness.
Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles (A Canning Recipe)
Growing up, I loved homemade pickles. Specifically, I loved my family’s garlic dill pickles recipe. Every time we gathered at a family party, there was always a tray of homemade dill pickles and they always were completely devoured by the end of the party.
Usually, either my aunt or my beloved grandma made the pickles, but sometimes my mom made them, too. When you are spoiled with delicious, crunchy, garlicky homemade pickles for your whole life, it’s really hard to enjoy eating store-bought pickles.
My Pickling Cucumber Struggles
For many years, my husband and I moved a lot for school and work, and our garden plots were just easy veggies in small gardens. I didn’t have room for vine plants like pickles or cucumbers (read more about growing cucumbers/pickles here).
Finally, though, about 5 years ago, we moved to our current home with over 2 acres. I have a HUGE garden and plenty of space to grow pickles. Tragically, warmer climates like South Carolina can have more garden pests and I lost my first two years of pickle crops to pickle worms (gross….you can read more about them in this post).
After two years of pickle failures, I found a better pickle variety for the area (I still have pickle worm issues but not as bad), but then for the next two years, I had odd lumpy pickles that were not idea for pickles. After much research, I learned that cucumbers need steady watering or they won’t grow correctly. Where I was planting them was at the end of my drip irrigation lines, and they weren’t getting enough water pressure for consistent watering.
So this year, FINALLY, I put the good pickling cucumber variety in a better spot in my garden and…I’ve had a fantastic harvesting year for pickles! Huzzah! Moral of the story: NEVER give up on gardening! Experiment with new plants/varieties, do more research, and keep trying until you get it right.
My Family’s Homemade Dill Pickles Recipe
Now that I finally had a fantastic pickle crop, I had to get my hands on my grandma’s pickle recipe. Very sadly, my beautiful grandma passed away a few years ago. However, my aunt had the pickle recipe on hand and sent it my way.
I tweaked the recipe a little bit to satisfy my obsession with uniqueness, but for the most part, this is my family’s favorite pickle recipe.
I learned a lot about canning vegetables recently and I just want to pass on some important info about changing canning recipes: make sure you keep the correct ratios for proper and safe acidification. This is especially true if you use a water bath canner. Your recipe needs to have the right acidification or you increase your risks for spoiled food or even botulism.
For this homemade garlic dill pickle recipe, you can fiddle with the spices and the additions of dill, onions, garlic, etc. However, you NEED to make sure your pickling brine keeps a ratio of at least 3 parts vinegar to 4 parts water. Cucumbers contain very limited acidity and typically have a pH of 5.12 to 5.78. Read more about canning safety for pickles in this article.
So if you follow a family homemade pickles recipe, make sure the ratio of vinegar to water is correct. If you want to follow very safe recipes for canning, you can always use the recipes in a trusted Ball book. This is my favorite Ball book for canning and preserving food.
What I really love about this homemade garlic dill pickles recipe is that the pickles are almost always crunchy. I’ve had plenty of mushy homemade pickles in my life, but this recipe turns out really well. Check out this awesome article for some tips on how to get crispy pickles. Basically, you want to can the pickles on the day you pick them for the best chance at crispy pickles.
I also love the garlic and dill taste to these pickles. It’s a very bold pickle taste that makes me super happy. I hope you love them as much as my family does!
By the way, if you have only a small harvest of pickles coming in, try my Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickle Slices recipe. You can use large pickles and/or small harvests to make some quick pickles that you store in the fridge. They are fantastic!
Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe
Makes approx. 12 pint jars or 6 quarts of pickles
- 5 pounds pickling cucumbers
- 2 dill flower heads per jar
- 1 slice of vidalia sweet onion per jar
- 1 garlic clove, slightly smashed, per jar
- 5 cups water
- 4 cups white distilled vinegar
- 2.5 tbsp. sugar
- 5 tbsp. pickling salt
- 1 tbsp. pickling spices
- Clean the pickling cucumbers. Cut off the flowering end, scrub off the prickly parts. If you want them sliced as pickling spears, do this now (or if you want them sliced for hamburgers). Set aside to dry.
- Prep your area for water bath canning. I like to start getting the water in the canner pot boiling, and I put the jars in there right away to get hot and sterilized.
- In a large pot, bring the brine ingredients to a boil: 5 cups water, 4 cups white distilled vinegar, 2.5 tbsp. sugar, 5 tbsp. pickling salt, 1 tbsp. pickling spices.
- Put your hot and sterilized mason jars on a thick towel or hot pads. While the brine is coming to a boil, prep the jars with dill, onions, and garlic. Push them to the bottom of the jars.
- Next, add the cleaned pickles to the mason jars. Make sure the jars are full, but don’t smash pickle spears in the jars to the point where they are overflowing or ruining the shape of the other pickles. Leave ½ inch headspace.
- After the brine comes to a boil, remove from heat. Carefully ladle the hot brine into the mason jars of pickles. I like to use this canning funnel to prevent spilling (and burning) my hands. Leave ½ inch headspace.
- Inspect the jars carefully. Make sure the pickles aren’t too tall for your jars. Wipe the rims before placing the lids and rings onto the jars.
- Put the jars into the water bath canner. When the water is boiling again, water bath can the pickles for 15 minutes.
- Remove the jars and place on a rack covered with a thick towel. Let them cool off overnight.
- Before storing, check that each jar properly sealed. If they did not seal, either water bath can them again, or put in the fridge and eat them first.
Need Some More Preserving Recipes? Check These Out:
- 52 Fermented Food Recipes (No Whey Required!)
- Ways to Use Up a HUGE Jalapeno Harvest
- Crockpot Peach Butter with Honey (A Canning Recipe)
- Garden Fresh Pizza Sauce Recipe
- Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickle Slices Recipe