Quick Cucumber Dill Pickles

Gary Hancq


After Note: I have revised the recipe slightly from the original regarding the use of "Alum", and further info is provided in the comments section of this recipe.

Safety and Health Wise, Above All Else.

The gardens are starting to provide their bounty here in the Midwest. Cukes and zucchini are in abundance. I've made two batches of Zucchini Bread, and just did two pints of dill pickles three day ago.

The pickles have been a hit. Most might call them Refrigerator Pickles because I just boil the brine, add to the jars and keep refrigerated until they are gone.
These were ready to be enjoyed in two or three days.

They will keep three months in the fridge if they are not gobbled up and they last that long.

It is difficult to come up with a brine and flavoring that challenges and compares to that of many store bought pickles. I have made a number of attempts and many without too much success.

This batch was a success and the starting point of yet better things to come.

Add your own touch, and document your ingredients. if you come up with a winner, you want to be able to duplicate it.

These spears would be the perfect compliment to your next Bloody Mary.

The recipe is an original with a little research into the use of Alum.

pinch tips: How to Clean Stainless Steel Sinks



2 pints


15 Min


20 Min





3 to 4
cucumbers cut into spears
2 c
1 c
white vinegar
1 Tbsp
garlic powder
1 Tbsp
onion powder
2 tsp
dill seed or sprig or two of dill if fresh
3 Tbsp
salt (i used pickling salt but regular salt will work)
1/4 tsp
alum found in spice section of store (optional, and note caution),
see recipe comments on the use of pickle crisp in lieu of the alum. a suggestion provided by shirley makekau, which i am indebted.

Directions Step-By-Step

Wash and cut un-peeled cucumbers into dill spears. (I used a cucumber length that would just fit the pint jars.) Pack spears in the two pint jars fairly tight.
Note: If using Alum soak spears in three cups cold water to which 1/4 teaspoon of alum has been added for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain and rinse well before adding brine. Do not add more Alum. (See the comments section to see Shirley Makekau's better suggestion regarding the "Pickle Crisp" product in lieu of Alum).
In a medium sized microwave safe bowl add all other ingredients except the Alum. Nuke on high 8 to 10 minutes to a low boil.
Pour liquid into spear packed jars and seal and give a quick shake to distribute.
When jars have cooled considerably place in fridge. I normally place jars on a paper towel and invert and turn jars upside down every 4 hours or so for the first day, to distribute contents.
Pickle should be pleasant to eat in two days, and improve with age. Should keep safely in fridge for 2 to 3 months, if you can keep out of the jars.
Need more, just increase the quantities in two pint stages.
I googled "Alum" to check it's makeup and safety. It is, a cousin to aluminum and should be used sparingly and modestly. It has been used in the making of pickles for many years to provide the crispiness and snap of many pickles. It is, found in the spice section of the store. I provide this caution only to warn of a possible over usage. Additional note added 6/7/12: Pickling Lime could also be used. And requires rinsing. I have experimented with pickling lime. There is also a "Pickling Crisp" product on the market from Ball the canning jar company, which I have not tried.

Other sources say soaking the spears in ice water at the start will also provide some crispness. though I don't think it will equal the use of a small amount of Alum. The Alum provided a definite crispness and slightly tough texture to the pickle rind, things I find desirable in a pickle.
Note: You could slice pickles into round chips, or you could leave whole, and prick a few times with a fork or ice pick to absorb the brine. Left whole they will require more refrigerator time to absorb the brine.
I'm a low salt practitioner, but some things just naturally require salt. If after two or three days the outcome is questionable, add a little more salt. It just might make the Big Difference.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Other Side Dishes
Main Ingredient: Vegetable
Regional Style: American