The Crunchiest Dill Pickles Ever!

016People have been eating pickles ever since the Mesopotamians started making them way back in 2400 B.C. The pickles popularity grew over the years with notable mention from many famous people.  Cleopatra claimed that they were the secret to her beautiful skin.  Christopher Columbus ensured that his shipmates had a pickle each day in order to fend off scurvy and Napoleon believed that a pickle a day helped ensure that his troops remained strong in battle.  And then there’s CITY BOY & his family who all love eating them on burgers, wraps, or just as a plain old snack (especially daughter).

The only problem with homemade dill pickles is that they become mushy over time.  Well…..I’m here to tell you that the days of limp pickles are definitely over for this City Boy.  No more droopy, floppy, or shriveled pickles are ever found on the shelf in this City Boy’s cantina.  My beloved wife now BOASTS about the firmness, crunch and look of her City Boy pickles every time she is caught with her hand in the pickle jar!

The reason that homemade pickles generally become mushy over time is that there is an enzyme on the flowering end of the cucumber that does not get destroyed during the canning process.  As a result, it breaks down the fibers in the cucumber over time and turns it into a soft & mushy pickle within 6 months.  We are still eating Dills from 2 years ago (I went a bit crazy on the canning that year) and they still have a good crunch.  The secret is a product up in Canada called Pickle Crisp by Bernardin (Canada’s answer to USA’s Ball).  Just 1/4 teaspoon in each quart jar will keep your pickles crisp for long past a year!

Ingredients: Yields 6 quart jars

5 lbs. pickling cucumbers

8 cups water

8 cups pickling vinegar

1 cup  pickling salt (Don’t use table salt.  It will cloud your brine and turn your pickles to an unpleasant color.)

Into each jar add:

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

1 large garlic clove (sliced)

1 bunch dill

1/4 teaspoon “pickle crisp”



Weigh, wash and gently scrub cucumbers.  Discard any that appear spoiled.

Fill your canner up with water about 2 inches higher than the height of your jars and bring the water to a boil.  This will take a bit of time.

Sterilize your jars in the oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit  for 10 minutes and continue to keep them warm in the oven until they are needed.004

Place canning seals and rings in a small pot and begin to warm them up.005

In the mean time, begin making your brine solution and bring it to a boil.

Carefully remove sterilized jars from the oven and add dill, garlic, mustard seed and pickle crisp to each jar.002

Firmly pack each jar with as many pickles as you can possibly fit into this space.  Look at it as a challenge because you don’t want those pickles to float up to the top of the jar.003

Once packed, pour the brine into each jar using a canning funnel, making sure to leave a 1/4″ head space in each jar.007

Wipe the lip of each jar with a wet paper towel.  This will ensure that no residue is left on the lip of the jar which will prevent a good seal.

Using tongs, place your seals and rings on each jar.

Using canning tongs, carefully place each sealed jar into the canner and process in boiling water for 15 minutes.025

Using the canning tongs, carefully remove each jar from the boiling water and leave to cool on a rack.

Soon you will hear the successful ping of each jar as it seals.  Now tuck those babies away in the cantina or cold cellar until the colder months when you’ll need a reminder of the summer!  If you can’t wait until then……just give 6 weeks to flavor!009


32 thoughts on “The Crunchiest Dill Pickles Ever!

  1. If you can’t find picklecrisp or just want an alternative, I’ve had awesome luck with a nice big horseradish leaf, or a couple of grapevine leaves! The tannins in the leaves make them super crispy. Nice to have a use for the horseradish and grapevines too, other than the obvious! I have been really impressed that even lacto-fermented dill pickles are crispy using the leaves. Pretty fun – great blog and photos, btw!

  2. Those do look awesome! I’ll have to try this next year when the cucumbers are flourishing in our garden. I did try your bread and butter pickle recipe, it is very good!
    I have a few older recipes that suggest the grape leaves.

    • Hi Jana,
      Prior to your comment, I never knew what alum was. A quick search informed me that it is used in pickling recipes to maintain crunch. I do not see “alum” in the ingredients for pickle crisp.
      Hope you’ll stop by again.

  3. I also read that adding some organic loose black tea leaves to the jar will provide the tannins to keep pickles crisp. I added 1/2 tsp to a 2 quart jar of lacto fermented dill pickles and the pickles stayed quite crisp. Of course, after they were done and refrigerated, we ate them in 1 months time, so I don’t know it they would hold up for your 2 years time.

  4. If you trim the flowering end of the cucumber that removes the problem. Never used anything extra in my garlic dills and have had no problem – except when the pickles get about five years old OR pop out of the brine. But will try the Pickle Crisp if I can find it next year.

  5. Pingback: The Crunchiest Dill Pickles Ever! | Auntie M's Farm

  6. My family is beyond bummed because we did not get any cukes this year! No pickles for us sadly.
    Thanks for sharing on A Humble Bumble’s Healthy Tuesday Blog Hop. I hope you’ll join us again next week!
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

  7. Fascinating information – I would never have known this and how wonderful that someone has created something to remedy this to keep dill pickles crunchy! Terrific,
    I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  8. Every recipe I’ve used always said to cut off blossom end. It doesn’t look like you did according to your pic.

    Also where do you get pickle crisp and what brand did you use.

    I’m so tired of soggy dill pickles.

    • HI Janice,
      If you look carefully at the pics you will see some pickles that have a fresh cut at the end. This is the blossom end. The cut does not need to be severe. Just a trim will do. As I wrote in the post: ” The secret is a product up in Canada called Pickle Crisp by Bernardin (Canada’s answer to USA’s Ball). Just 1/4 teaspoon in each quart jar will keep your pickles crisp for long past a year!”
      I know that the parent company : Ball also carries this in USA.
      Best of success.

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