What’s The Big Dill? How To Make Perfect Pickles

If you’re not familiar with the pickling game, it can be easy to forget that dill pickles don’t just “exist” as-is. In truth, learning the simple process can be an eye-opening moment because the world of pickling extends far beyond the classic dill. That being said, dill pickles are still the perfect introductory course; they’re familiar, tasty, and versatile beyond first glance. Test out a new culinary skill or refresh latent pickling techniques with these helpful tips and tricks.

  • Although you can theoretically use any type of cucumber for pickling, it’s best to stay with a type known as “picklers.” You can identify these by their shorter, fatter shapes and bumpy unwaxed skin.
    • Looking for a specific variety? Kirby, Persian, and Liberty are all excellent options.
  • Proper preparation is key when pickling. Also wash your cucumbers by hand and chop off the blossoming end before pickling. 
  • Once your pickles are prepped, the next step is the brine. Always use equal parts apple cider vinegar and water before adding the salt. If you decide to need more brine, feel free to create some during the boiling process, but keep your ratios the same. 
    • Did you know? The actual “dill” part of dill pickles comes from dill seed rather than the herb. Be sure to use ample amounts of the seed for best results. 
  • A balanced flavor profile is the secret to a great pickle. Try using unique seasonings like red pepper flakes, garlic, or other herbs to help balance the salt and vinegar.
  • After adding the brine into your pickle jars, make sure to remove all air bubbles inside the container before storing.
  • Prefer soft pickles over crisp ones? Process your pickle jars in boiling water after adding them to the brine! As a bonus, this process tremendously extends the shelf-life of your pickles; expect them to last around a year. 
    • If you decide to forgo the hot water bath, your pickles should last a few weeks in the fridge before spoiling.