Proud as a Pickle! Making Pickles is Easier than You Think.

I know I’ve talked here about foods I crave that aren’t quite right in my adopted country, and pickles top that list! British gherkins just don’t do it for me- they are too sweet and multi-flavoured.  When I say I crave pickles, I really mean it- I am known in my family for saving the jar and drinking the pickle juice! To me, there is nothing better than a nice, crisp and juicy kosher dill pickle. Actually, one of my favourite childhood ‘trips’ was to go to the supermarket with my dad and pick the pickle from the barrel (but I did not pick a peck of pickled peppers, just to set the record straight).

After reading around, I learned that some pickles are made with vinegar while others are pickled by letting the juice ferment a bit.  Apparently, Polish pickles are fermented.  This explains why they looked similar to what I expected from a pickle based on looks (the standard jar of British pickled cucumbers has many extra spices floating around), but it did not taste the same.

Some of the dill pickle recipes I came across online had ‘pickling seasonings’ in the ingredients.  Unnamed, mixed spices always make me nervous when purchasing them outside of the area in which the writer purchased them- you never know how different each culture or nation’s take on the mixture will be from the intended flavour.  Checking into the ingredients of pickling spices, I decided to skip them for my first attempt because some of the flavours evoke sweetness (like cloves) for me, something I wanted to avoid.

Fresh homemade dill pickle

In the end, I used a modified version of this recipe and it was fantastic! Thanks to Sharon Howard for submitting it! Since the recipe was a canning recipe intended to cure for 8 weeks before consumption, and I don’t have any canning jars, I doubled the spices and used the following modified recipe.

Brined Dill Pickles

Using 4 medium cucumbers, it was exactly 2 Lbs and the jar is 1.5 litres.  I had a bit of vinegar juice left over, but that’s fine.

Before beginning: soak the cut cucumbers in ice water for at least two hours. This increases crispness.

  • 6 C water
  • 2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 C salt (make sure it has not been iodized or had anything added)
  • Start on medium heat, stirring these ingredients together and bring to a rapid boil. This is your brine.
  • Sterilise the jar well.
  • Add four half cloves of garlic (original recipe calls for 2), crushed and then cut in half, to bottom of jar.
  • Add one head of dill to bottom of jar
  • Pack in the pickles, add the brine
  • Add 2 more crushed & chopped half-cloves and another large cluster of dill.
  • Put the lid on and pop them in your fridge.  Resist the urge to eat them for four days!

Homemade dill pickles

When these have been gobbled up, make a batch of ‘refrigerator pickles’.  Reuse this brine by thinly slicing cucumbers and placing them in jar.  Let them sit for 4-5 days and they will have soaked up enough flavour to be ‘lightly flavoured’ pickles!


  1. Looks yummy! Did they turn out with a lil’ crunch like you were hoping? Sorry, I didn’t get a recipe to you yet, are you still thinking about trying another recipe? Or does this one take the cake.

    • Yep, there is a crunch! Not crunchier than the crunchiest brand-name, but I think that is because I did not “can” them. I would be happy to test out other recipes if you send them my way! Especially from rodale (sp?) since that has the one mom remembers using!

    • Weeeeelllll…I’ve decided to learn to make anything I really crave throughout the year. I have a light box now, so there should be nothing left about Scotland to frustrate me once I figure out all the yummies!
      You should join in on this endeavour!

  2. Oh my gosh RiotFlower, I found your site a couple weeks ago (love it by the way) and have made your pickles…it really was a bit if home! I’m from the east coast of the US, Vermont, to be specific, but I fell in love and married a British man and moved to Scotland a few days after the wedding. While some of the food is lovely, there’s sometimes when only American flavours will meet my cravings and as I only get home once a year usually, what I’m able to bring back doesn’t last long! I’m like you when it comes to pickles, the juice is just bliss filled and I love drinking it (my family think its disgusting lol), its even great having a tablespoon or two in some tomato soup!). Your pickles have been brilliant and I can’t thank you enough! Nor can hubby as he doesn’t have to listen to me whine that the pickles here just won’t do ! :). Now, do you have a recipe for cheddar goldfish? Then I really would be a happy lass! Anyway, just had to write and thank you! Thank you!

    • Hello Shelly! Welcome to my blog! I’m so glad you liked the pickles. I haven’t made goldfish shaped crackers yet, but I have made cheese-it shaped ones, with basically the same recipe: If you miss wheat thins as well, I write about them here: I’m always so excited when an American missing delicious food learns how to make it for themselves!

      Without giving away your location too much on the Internet, what area of Scotland are you in now and how long have you been here? I’m in Stirling and am at 7.5 years…

      • Oh my gosh, you’ve made me even happier *doing happy wheelies* (my rendition of the happy dance as I’m in a wheelchair)!!! Bring on the weekend for both those recipes and a HUGE THANK YOU for sharing! I’m not far from you at all, I’m on the outskirts of Perth! I’ve been her 18 years in March, and while I’m so lucky that I get to go home once a year, the rest of the year is very sparse with American foods lol. Youd think after being here so long that id be used to the Scottish food and not crave stuff from home, wouldnt you? I did find, last Christmas an American food shop over here online…they can be a bit pricey, but when you are so homesick and can’t wait til the next trip, it comes in handy. I bought hubby the only soda he ever drinks…real Mountain Dew…for Christmas last year and he was over the moon as he only gets it when we are in the US. It’s if you want to have a peek and drool lol. But it’s one of those places that I can only justify once a year also! Think I’m going to have to make those wheat thins tonight…I try not to let myself think about them lol, so now I’m excited!! Again RiotFlower, thank you!!

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