Making homemade pickles is an easy way to use a lot of cucumbers at one time. I usually plant the cucumber variety called Homemade Pickles, which grow to be about five to six inches long. Word of warning…they will get much bigger if you keep overlooking them when picking the garden as I sometimes do! If they are bigger than about six inches, I just eat those raw rather than pickling as it seems the larger they get, the greater chance of a mushy pickle. And, don’t forget to remove the blossom end of the cucumber. It has an enzyme that will cause the pickles to be soft.
My go to recipe is Classic Dill Pickles from the book Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan. I like this recipe because it has a short processing time and consistently results in a crisp, crunchy pickle.
I usually cut about four pounds of cucumbers into spears and double the pickling liquid called for in the book’s recipe to ensure that I have enough. This quantity will end up making about eight pints of pickles, rather than the four pints yielded in the book’s recipe. Food in Jar’s website has the recipe written to yield 8 pints, so refer to that recipe version if you want to make 8 pints, or cut the recipe in half to make only 4. When I have whole dried chiles, I put one in each jar instead of using red pepper flakes. If you prefer the pickles to not be spicy, it is fine to skip using the peppers. Happy pickling!