Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Growing up on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., I remember a small corner grocery store at the end of my block. Near the front counter, there was a large pickle barrel and I would routinely go there to buy a dill pickle for 5 cents. My mom used to say, "It will dry up your blood," because I ate them, almost every day—or at least when I had a nickel. These pickles are the closest to the taste that I remember. I found locally grown pickling cucumbers all wrapped up in neat little plastic bags at my grocery store. Every southern lady has a pickle fork. I still have my mother's silver pickle fork. No finger dipping into the pickle jars!

4 quart-size wide mouth canning jars
6 cups filter water or spring water
2 cups white vinegar
½ cup pickling salt or canning salt 
24 to 28 pickling cucumbers, (not waxed) 6 to 7, per jar
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
8 fresh bay leaves, thoroughly rinsed (provides tannins for crunchy pickles)
1 T yellow mustard seeds, per jar
1 T dehydrated sliced garlic, per jar
2 t dehydrated minced onions, per jar
1 t coriander seeds, per jar
1 t black peppercorns, per jar
1 t dill seeds, per jar 
½ t red pepper flakes, per jar (optional)

Sterilize the canning jars by immersing them in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Carefully remove from the boiling water and place upside down on a clean dry tea towel.

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the vinegar and salt and mix until the salt is fully dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Rinse cucumbers under cold running water and then put them in a large bowl and cover with cold water and set aside while brining mixture is cooling.

Completely drain pickles in a colander and set aside.

Pack 6 to 7 pickles in each canning jar.
Add 1 clove garlic to each jar.
Add 2 bay leaves per jar and follow with the spices.
Pour the cooled brine evenly over the pickles.
Add the seals and tightly screw the rings on the jars and turn the jars upside down to evenly distribute the seasonings.
Place jars on a baking sheet or pizza pan, upside down, and let sit on the counter for 1 day.
Refrigerate jars, right side up on the 2nd day.
Pickles are ready to eat after the 4th day.

Pickles will keep refrigerated for 3 to 4 months.