For some reason canning, pickling and making jam or pie filling seem to be really intimidating to a lot of people but if you have the right tools it's really not that difficult to do. And who doesn't love dill pickles? Just like cookies, I find that homemade are never the same as store-bought either - they're always better.
This recipe comes from Aunty Cathy in Saskatchewan and it's great! Give yourself an hour with some spare cucumbers and your pantry will be full through the winter.
Aunty Cathy's Dill Pickles - yield: 6-7 quart jars
3 quarts (12 cups) water
1 quart (4 cups) vinegar
1 cup coarse or pickling salt
Fresh dill sprigs
30-35 small to medium size cucumbers
25-30 cloves garlic, peeled
Beans and carrots, cleaned (optional)
Boil all the jars and sealer lids in a canner to sterilize. Bring water, vinegar and salt to a boil in a separate pot.
Make sure all onions and garlic are peeled and cleaned, quarter the onions. Stuff each jar with 3-5 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste), 1/2 an onion, fresh dill including the bloom with seeds, and 4-5 cucumbers each (I like to slice my cucumbers lengthwise to make spears). You can also fill the spaces with beans and carrots if you'd like.
Ladel the hot brine over the jars until just about full. Make sure the rim on the jar is dry and the sealer is dry and screw on. Place jars in water canner for 10 minutes. My mom has never used a canner and her pickles usually seal fine as long as the jars are hot but I don't like working with hot jars when I'm making pickles because it takes me some time to stuff them so I just take my time and can them afterwards.