My Grandma’s Pickles

My maternal grandmother made the best pickles. So spicy and garlicky and delicious! “Regular” dill pickles are barely appealing after tasting these vibrant spicy pickles.

Fortunately, she shared the recipe, and my Mom and I have been making pickles together every few years ever since my Grandma died.

Late summer is usually the time to do this, but our weird weather here in the Pacific Northwest has most crops delayed. I was fortunate enough to score some pickling cukes from my favorite farmers (Big B Farms!) at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market so Mom and I settled in for an afternoon of pickling. We didn’t realize how fortunate we were to get those picklers until we visited a few other farms to get more cukes. No luck. “Not yet, try back next week!” So our crocks aren’t quite full, but that’s OK.

My dear Grandma's spicy garlic pickle recipe

Grandma’s Garlic Pickles

1 head of garlic

3 large stems of fresh dill (the woman at the farm store in Canby went outside and picked it for us!)

3/4 cup pickling spice

25 lbs pickling cucumbers

2.5 cups white vinegar

1.75 cups coarse kosher salt (I’m sure there are many reasons for not using iodized salt, but one is that it will make your brine cloudy and cake-y. Eww.)

10 quarts water

Peeling the garlic was a great job for the kiddos. 2 heads of garlic can take quite a while, but this little rubber doohickey makes it a breeze:

Two heads of garlic, peeled in no time.


All of our cucumbers were fairly small, but some were tiny. We separated them as much as possible, so one crock will be ready for canning earlier than the other.

Half the garlic, pickling spice and fresh dill goes in the bottom of the crock.

It's important to load the crock where you want it to rest, as it gets pretty heavy. Eric was thrilled to get to load up the crock, especially after we clarified that we are making pickles in a "crock," not one of his "Croc" shoes. These things can be confusing.

The rest of the pickling spices, garlic and dill go on the top of the cucumbers. A plate to top it all off is to keep the veg below the water line.


Crocks on rails! The shims keep them off the ground, we did this because the crocks tend to sweat as they rest.

Cheesecloth over the top, then a weight to hold it all down. Rest away, little pickles!

After a few days, scum will start to form on the surface of the water. This needs to be scraped off every day, and in 3 weeks or so we’ll have pickles ready for canning!

Happy summer,




Filed under Family, Food

4 responses to “My Grandma’s Pickles

  1. Wonderful post. I learned many interesting things. Thank you)

  2. Seriously – is there ANYTHING that isn’t made better with garlic??? Lots and lots of garlic!?!?

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