My amazing mother in law is a talented gardener and also a VERY knowledgeable canner of her vegetables. This is my second year of canning pickles with her and finally feel like I have the system down. We usually get our pickling cukes and dill bushels from country farms off of 99 in edmonds, wa. We got 26 lbs for $20 and it made 23 total full sized-wide mouthed canning jars. That is less then a dollar a jar and minus the unnessary ingredients-like food coloring. I have found that it is the most efficient if you have 2 people in this process. One to work the dry "filling" system and one to work the "hot stove" system. You must be fast in this process or else your jars will break and be a mess (I broke 3 this year but it does happen on occasion to everyone)
Wash them in the sink well. Pick out any debris or tails they sometimes have.
Drain them in a clean place to sit
Here is the filling system:
Bowl of garlic- about 3 garlics per jar (We had a ton of garlic left over so we pickled 3 small jars of just those- Daniel I guess loves them - bleh)
Bowl of extra peppercorns- 1/4 tsp per jar
Bowl of pre trimmed dill- 1 good sized steam bush per jar
Bowl of pickling spices- 1 TB per jar
Here is the canning stove system:
1-Wash your wide mouth jars and rings
2-place about 12 jars upside down on a cookie sheet and damp kitchen towel in the oven at 170 degrees (this makes the transition of hot liquids more successful with out any breakage).
3-Places 8 rings in HOT water (bring to boil then turn it off) on the stove
(8 rings because you should always have a extra and 7 jars fit in the canner)
4-Fill canner with water up the top indented line of your pot. Make sure the strainer is lifted in the up right position so your jars are not cooking as you put them in one at a time.
5-Create a gently boiling brine out of equal parts of these ingredients:
6 c regular vinegar
6 tb salt
(after done with 1 batch of 7 jars refill your brine with equal measurements to fill it back up to the top)
When everything is ready its PICKLING time!
One person fills up the pre heated wide mouth jar with all of the spices from the bowls. Then adds pickles like a jig saw puzzle. 2-3 big pickles first and then fit the other sized ones around them. Quickly hand it to the second person who fills up the jar with brine, tops/screws on the lid then places it in the raised strainer of the canner. Once you have a full rack drop it down for a timed 20 minutes.
Tip- when removing your finished pickles make sure they are placed on the counter AT LEAST 2 inches apart for 2 reasons. One reason is so they cool faster and the other reason is so they don't have a chance of hitting each other and breaking.