In a pickle

OKT Collaborative Partner, Jeff Smith, facilitated the “How to Can Pickles” workshop.

Last Friday and Saturday were busy days for the Our Kitchen Table staff. At the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market, OKT market manager, Yvonne Woodard led “Make Your Own Soap” workshops both Friday and Saturday. Later on Saturday, Stelle Slootmaker, OKT’s communication person, and Jeff Smith, an OKT collaborative partner, facilitated a dill pickle canning workshop.

It’s really easy to can your own pickles. You’ll save money and avoid the chemical preservatives added to most store-bought pickles. Do you have extra cucumbers? Do you love dill pickles? Jeff shared his grandmother Robena Dove’s  tried and truly delicious garlic dill pickles recipe along with some simple canning hints.

Robena Dove’s  Garlic Dill Pickles


  • Cucumbers, small whole or sliced to fit jars.
    1 peck of pickle cucumbers will yield approximately 20 quarts or 40 pints of pickles. However, you can do just a few jars if that works better for you.
  • Sea salt
  • Peppercorns
  • White vinegar
  • Raw garlic cloves
  • Dill weed


  • Large kettle for brine
  • Canning kettle with rack for jars
  • Canning jars, lids and rings
  • Hot Pad, tongs
  • Dish towels
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Large ladle
  • Canning funnel


  1. Wash pickles and dill thoroughly. Peel garlic cloves. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse well. Check jar rims to make sure they are not chipped (this will prevent sealing).
  1. Brine. Mix water, vinegar and salt in large kettle and bring to boil. Lower heat to keep simmering.
  1. Begin heating water in canning kettle. Use enough water to barely submerge jars, or a little less.
  1. Place some dill, peppercorns and a 2 0r 3 cloves of garlic in each jar. Stuff pickles into jars tightly. Slice some if needed to fill jars up to (but not higher than) the bottom of the jar rim. Pour hot brine into jars up to rim bottom (1/2 inch from top of jar).
  1. Wipe the top of the jar rims off with a clean cloth. Dry jar lids and place on jars. Secure with a screw on rings.
  1. When canning kettle water is boiling, place jars in rack and lower into kettle. Cover. Watch heat so that the kettle is barely boiling, but not too vigorously. Process for 20 minutes.
  1. Turn off heat. Remove cover. Using canning tongs or a hot pad, gently remove the jars of pickles and place on dish cloths on counter a few inches apart. Do not disturb! Watch to see if the jars make a “pop” sound indicating that they have sealed. In four or five hours, check cooled jars to see if they have sealed by pressing gently on the center of the lid. If the lid goes down and pops back up under pressure, it is not sealed. Keep unsealed jars in the fridge. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for a year or more.

Whenever opening a jar for consumption, make sure the seal is good (you will hear a “pop” when you open it). If the contents have discolored, look foamy or have a bad odor, throw away.

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