The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

A Little Sweetness in Your Dill Pickles?

August 19th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Posted in garden, Recipes

Dills with a bit of sugar

Dills with a bit of sugar

I’m convinced that the best dill pickles I’ve ever tasted had at least a little sugar in them. The traditional flavor combo–dill seed, mustard seed, peppercorns–just doesn’t do much for me. Yet I’ve had the hardest time finding a dill pickle recipe (I’m talking about vinegar pickles, of course) that gets me closer to the pickle of my dreams, but not too far off the beaten path.

But take a look at this recipe in the book Putting Food By, a great guide to freezing, canning, pickling and other food preservation methods. Called “Quick Dill Pickles,” they call for equal amounts of sugar and salt, along with vinegar and water. I made half this recipe:

Makes 7 pints

30 to 40 medium pickling type cucumbers, 5 inches long

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup pickling salt (or kosher or sea salt)

1 quart vinegar

1 quart water

7 fresh dill heads

(Optional: 7 garlic cloves)

(Optional: 3 tablespoons mixed whole pickling spices)

Note: I put the garlic cloves in quart jars with the cucumbers, and placed the pickling spices in a tea ball to boil with the other brine ingredients. I used cider vinegar for the brine.

Mix together sugar, salt, vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Tie spices in cheesecloth or place in tea ball and boil in vinegar mixture for about 10 minutes, then remove. Meanwhile, scrub cucumbers, removing stem and blossom ends. Cut lengthwise into halves or quarters, not longer than the shoulder height of the jars you are using. Put 1 whole head of fresh dillin each clean, hot jar. Pack jars with cucumbers upright, then tuck in a clove of garlic. Pour in boiling vinegar mixture, leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Adjust lids. Process in 185-degree water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars.

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  • Sylvie in Rappahannock

    do they remain crunchy>

  • Ed Bruske

    Sylvie, I don’t know. Haven’t tried them yet.

  • Katy

    Sylvie- I made that recipe last year & my pickles were still crisp (not as crisp as Klaussen but more crisp than Vlasic, to give commercial comparisons).

    You can always use Ball Pickle Crisp to guarantee crispness.

    Ed- you’re right, these are really good pickles! I made them last year with some lovely pickling cukes from the farmer’s market. I wish I would have made more!

  • Barbara

    When my MIL no longer canned, she would buy dill pickles and drain off some of the juice and replace it with sugar. She would refrigerate it to age a bit. Still a dill pickle, still crisp, but now a little sweet. They were great. Thanks for reminding me of a great lady and an interesting pickle.

  • Ashley

    Does the cider vinegar make a big difference rather than using white vinegar?

  • Ed Bruske

    Yes, the apple cider makes a big difference. It’s a completely different vinegar: more mellow, more depth of flavor.