1 quart white vinegar
1 quart water
1/2 cup pickling salt
1/4 cup sugar
Bay leaves
fresh hot peppers
mustard seed
fresh cloves of garlic
black peppercorns
fresh heads of dill or dry dill seed

Fresh cucumbers of your choice, washed and prepared. I prefer tiny whole cucumbers, but you can use medium-sized pickling cucumbers, slice them or make spears.

*Note:  You can make a half recipe of brine if more is needed. Increase other ingredients as needed to use all your cucumbers.


Mix vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil.

In the meantime, using clean, scalded jars, place 1 head of dill or 1 tablespoon dry dill seed, 1 clove of fresh garlic, 1 hot pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns and 1 tablespoon of mustard seed per quart jar. Fill jars to within 1/2 inch of the top with cucumbers, packing firmly. Carefully fill jars with boiling brine solution and cover tightly with new lids. Process pints and quarts for 15 minutes in a hot water bath canner. Cool on countertop on rack or dish towel. Let cure for 2 weeks for best flavor.

Most of the time I don't bother to process my pickles. I simply fill jars with hot brine, then immediately turn them upside down on a towel for about 30 minutes, then turn them back right side up. Turning them upside down lets the hot brine kill any bacteria on the inside of the lids and also heats the sealing agent in the lids, ensuring that the lids seal. I've had good luck doing this and even if a few don't seal, pickles very seldom go bad even if not sealed. If a jar doesn't seal and you're leery of eating them if left on the shelf unsealed, just refrigerate them and eat that jar first.