Accidental Kosher Dill Relish & 2 Recipes

Although I am a couple of days late, this post is in honor of National Can-It-Forward Day, which occurred this past Saturday, August 1st.


I do love a good kosher dill.  What makes a pickle “kosher” you ask?  Well, according to wikipedia, a “kosher” dill pickle is not necessarily kosher in the sense that it has been prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary law, it is a pickle made in the traditional manner of Jewish New York City pickle makers, with generous addition of garlic and dill to a natural salt brine.  I also notice that other spices are typically added, such as bay leaf, mustard seeds, and hot pepper.  I have done a bit of experimenting and have found a lovely flavor combination that all starts with the Dill Pickle recipe in the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and using the kosher-style variation.

The flavor of these pickles was everything I had hoped for, although the texture was a bit on the mushy side, but not so much that they could not be salvaged in some way.  I strained the finished product and placed the brine in a saucepan to heat.  While it was heating, I took the pickles (not the spices), and transferred them to the food processor.  A few pulses later I had a lovely, chunky, relish consistency which then got added to the hot brine.  A few minutes was all it took to heat the mixture through, then I filled the jars and processed as normal.  This relish is a great addition to my repertoire, making it particularly enjoyable for those who prefer a relish that is not sweet.

I have since made another batch of kosher dills, this time using Ball Pickle Crisp.  No longer do I want to run the risk of having mushy pickles!

Kosher Dills
Kosher Dills – another week before I can try, but they look delicious!
Yield: About 7 pints
  • 8 pounds 4-6 inch cucumbers, washed, 1/16 inch of blossom end removed, cut lengthwise into halves or wedges
  • 3/4 cup sugar, preferably organic
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt or kosher salt
  • 1 quart white distilled vinegar
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 T. pickling spice (I prefer to make my own (recipe to follow)
  • 1 head green dill per jar or 1/2 tsp. dill seed per jar
  • 1 bay leaf (per jar)
  • 1 clove fresh garlic (per jar)
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (per jar)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed (per jar)

Combine sugar, salt, vinegar, and water in a large saucepot, tie pickling spice into a spice bag using a piece of cheesecloth and bakers twine.  Add the bag to the brine, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, pack cucumbers into hot, prepared pint jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Add 1 head dill or 1/2 tsp dill seed, 1 bay leaf, 1 clove of garlic, 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp mustard seed to each jar.  Ladle hot liquid into jars, remove air bubbles, add more brine as needed to reach 1/2″ headspace.  Add 1/8 tsp Pickle Crisp to each jar.  Adjust 2 piece lids, process jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.

I usually allow 4-6 weeks for these pickles to sit to develop the best flavor.

A delicious array of spices to make your own Pickling Spice
A delicious array of spices to make your own Pickling Spice
  • 3 Tablespoons Black Peppercorns
  • 3 Tablespoons Whole Allspice
  • 3 Tablespoons Coriander Seed
  • 3 Tablespoons Mustard Seed
  • 3 Tablespoons Juniper Berries
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon Dill Seed
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick, broken into pieces (I found that a mortar and pestle did this job wonderfully!)

Pour all spices into a jar, seal, shake to combine.  Use any time a recipe calls for a mixed pickling spice.

A couple of tips:

  • For these pickles, use a pickling cucumber.  They have less water that a traditional cucumber.  Here in Hawaii the closest thing I have found is a Thai cucumber, which works beautifully.
  • Only use kosher or pickling salt.  Table salt has added iodine, which will cause your pickles to discolor and give them an “off” taste.



Entrepreneur, Part Time Crafter, Chef, and Artist

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