Pick them when they are small and before they are overripe (turning yellow and smooth).
If you want to make pickles for long-term storage you will need to process them in a water bath canner. This recipe is simple and delicious.
Miss Lady Bug’s Kosher Dill Pickles
Yields approximately seven quarts
50 small to medium size pickling cucumbers (3-4 inches)
7 heads fresh dill
21 garlic cloves, whole or chopped
2 quarts water
1 quart vinegar (5% acidity)
1 1/2 cups canning and pickling salt
7 tablespoons mustard seed
7 tablespoons peppercorns
Pickle Crisp Granules
Scrub cucumbers and cut the blossom end off each cucumber and discard. This end contains microbes that can cause the pickles to become bitter and soft. In a glass container, layer cucumbers with ice. Dissolve 1/2 cup of pickling salt into four cups of water and pour over the cucumbers. Add enough cold water to cover the cucumbers and top with an inverted plate (weighed down). Soak cucumbers in the salty brine for twelve hours.
Evenly distribute dill, garlic, mustard seed, and peppercorns into seven sterilized quart jars.
Combine water, vinegar, and remaining salt (1 cup). Bring just to a boil. Lower heat and stir until salt dissolves.
Rinse the cucumbers and drain thoroughly. Pack cucumbers into sterilized jars leaving ½ inch headspace. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Pickle Crisp to each quart jar. Evenly distribute hot brine into packed jars leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims and add lids as each jar is filled. Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes or cool and refrigerate.
Rule of thumb: My processing times are for altitudes of 1,000 or under. If you live in a higher altitude you will need to adjust the processing time accordingly. For processing times of 20 minutes or under, add one additional minute per each additional 1,000 feet of altitude. For processing times over 20 minutes add two additional minutes per each additional 1,000 feet of altitude.
Note: For more in depth instructions on water bath canning see my post on “Canning for Beginners” dated 12/12/11.