September 18 Canning Bee: Dill Pickles, Brining Liquid and a Whole Lotta Fun

Johwanna was our fearless leader into the realm of canning pickles today at St. Josaphat’s hall and beautiful community kitchen.

We dilled cucumbers, carrots, and garlic cloves all in the same brine.

Fascinating to see how the fresh cucumbers were affected by the brine before and after processing.

Here are the “worker bees” having so much fun; we all did!

Johwanna treated all to a snack of crackers and some of her special homemade preserves: below, rosé jelly,

Tomato jelly…

and Balsamic Apple Bites. Each was so unique and YUMMY!

The working bee ended with a lovely traditional homemade Ukrainian dinner made by the ladies of the church auxiliary. What a wonderful, productive, relationship building and gratifying learning day!

Brining Herb Recipe

Fills 2 one litre jars, or 4 one pint jars


  • 3 pounds small cucumbers
  • 1 head fresh dill
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 2 tbsp classic pickling spice blend, tied in a cheesecloth bag (recipe follows)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 8 allspice berries (Jowhanna used 3 pink peppercorns per jar, instead)


  1. Scrub and drain cucumbers, ensuring the ends are 1/2 inch shorter than the height of the jar you are using; quarter each lengthwise so you have four spears from each length of cucumber
  2. Snip the stems of each dill floret, leaving a bit of the stem length for a handle; you will need 4 florets per  jar, 16 total
  3. Heat 4 one pint jars in boiling water and sterilize (scald) the lids, tongs and funnel
  4. Start to heat the water bath for processing the pickles
  5. Combine the next 6 ingredient (#3 to 8) in a large pot over high heat, stirring constantly until sugar and salt is dissolved; reduce and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes
  6. Pack cucumber spears into hot jars: add dill, one garlic clove and 2 allspice berries per jar
  7. Ladle hot brine into jar to cover cucumber spears leaving 1/2 inch headspace
  8. Run a non-metallic utensil around the inside edge of the jar, allowing any trapped air to escape; add more brine if necessary
  9. Wipe rims, top with flat lids, and screw on metal rings
  10. Place jars in hot water bath, topping up with hot water, if necessary
  11. Bring to a full rolling boil, and process for 15 minutes
  12. Remove canner lid and wait 5 miutes before removing jars from the canner
  13. Check seals, label and store in a cool, dry place for up to one year

Note: If you want to do 4 litres of pickles, you do not double the recipe; increase the liquid amounts by roughly 2 1/4 times the measures below, using large cucumbers cut into eighths